edition 47 march 24, 2006
the media buying dilemma

     On Monday March 20, the AFR reported that the media market was soft and that advertisers were increasingly booking late. In this edition of the P3 e-news, Stephen Wright looks at the issues regarding booking earlier versus buying late. Were you wrong to commit early? Are these late entrants getting a better deal? Is the premium inventory still available? And what happens if the market changes? In this P3 e-news… buying media better – marketing – what works and what doesn’t P3TV workshops with Channel 9 DM spend outstripping media

booking early or booking late? The cost penalties for short-term bookings are well documented yet media reports of softer markets confound, confuse and frustrate the marketer that plays by the rules. While book your TV early to avoid disappointment remains the catch cry of the vast majority of Media agencies wherever you turn there seem to be discounts on offer.

So is this the truth or ‘media fuelled’ fallacy? Well there is no quick answer. Late commitment can work for some marketers but severely penalise others. It depends very much on what you are trying to achieve and against whom.


The savings booking early It is universally accepted that the ‘ideal’ booking window is around thirteen weeks prior to the on air date and that as time shortens, so the premium in cost increases on an almost exponential basis.

Certainly, the pundits agree that a cost premium on CPM of 55-60% is very much the norm in the last week or two prior to activity.

But reports of softer markets invariably imply that the best deals are being done now and that those with money still to spend are reaping the rewards of late commitment.

It depends on your audience The more mass your audience the less defined your parameters of placement the greater potential you have to make the short term work.

But in this age of fragmentation, segmentation and accountability, strategies with this level of flexibility are fewer and farer between. With growing emphasis on ‘quality of engagement’ the importance of being in the right places is key. The more specific a target audience becomes then the smaller the total number of people who will fall into that target. Exacerbating this is that these tightly defined audiences tend to be over-represented in the most popular (highest rating) programs.

Choice of media properties Famously, years ago one industry sales icon was heard to remark: “We’re in the business of selling s**t airtime, the good stuff sells itself!”

It is hard to believe that premium price inventory remains unsold. If the networks still have it, it is by design and destined to meet the inevitable late requests of a small group of favoured clients.

So in a soft market your average client stands perhaps an even chance of the odd premium spot if they give the network in question a decent slug of the money.

The skill of your media agency

If your media agency has bought ahead of time, they should be monitoring the market and pushing harder as it softens for additional value. If you have programming that is under-performing against expectation your buyer should be moving stuff around and compensating for any loss in value. What remains questionable is whether perennially ‘understaffed’ media agencies are consistently doing this for their clients. Some have a habit of putting a campaign to bed and moving on to the next.

The secret of buying better

P3Media Benchmarks has vast experience in this area and can examine and evaluate your current process in the context of industry best practice or assist you in developing a buying process that works for you to provide the best possible value. For more details go to www.p3media.com.au or email stephen@p3.com.au      
marketing – what works and what doesn’t

10 Most Common Mistakes made by Advertisers and How to Avoid Them’ After 6 years advising Australia’s top advertisers, Darren Woolley has seen the best (and worst) of advertising and marketing expenditure and efficiency. His 45 minute presentation is FREE to marketing departments across the country, and is a must for advertisers looking to maximise their budgets. Find out what works and what doesn’t – book through georgia@p3.com.au
P3TV production workshops for advertisers  

Get a better understanding of the TV production process – so you can make more informed decisions and participate more effectively in your own productions.   $450 per participant $395 for AMI/AANA members Sydney – Wed May 10 – 9 am-1 pm Melbourne – Tue May 16 – 9 am-1 pm Sydney – Thursday May 18 – 9am-1pm To secure your spot email georgia@p3.com.au for a booking form  
DM spend outstripping media  
With direct marketing budgets growing every day, it is clear that marketers are continuing to embrace DM to build business and brands. But how effective and efficient is your DM activity?  The P3DMi Health Check involves a thorough appraisal of your current DM plan, activity and spend, and a report card on how your DM activities compare with the industry best practice benchmarks. To find out more contact Les Woolridge at les@p3.com.au or call 03 9682 6800 or 02 9279 4997.  

P3 – helping people achieve commercial purpose through creative process

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