Retail TV and Your Website: Work Best When They Work Together

September 17, 2009

Picture for Post #24All too often I’m asked the question from retailers on where they should be investing their ad dollars:  TV or the Internet.  Folks this is not zero sum proposition.   If you’re not doing both – then you’re missing the boat.


 The formula for success is relatively simple, in my opinion:

  • Use TV advertising to engage, entice and persuade consumers to get more information about your product or service from your website. 
  • Once on your site, inform, educate and sell them on doing business with your company – either online or in person. 

Of course, if you’re product requires little explanation … then it’s plausible that prospects can and will respond to your TV offer with little need for a website visit.  But, don’t fool yourself, if you’re anything less than a household name (i.e. McDonald’s or Coke), potential customers will most likely want to check you out on the web before walking through your door.  And they better like what they see – within 5 seconds or they’ll exit your website immediately.

Believe it or not, even in the midst of today’s Internet explosion, there are still some retailers that don’t get it. I recently had a furniture store chain client whose only web presence was a simple splash page that included nothing more than store hours and addresses.  The client did not have a website.  And the really sad part – there was no hurry to get one.

The client’s explanation defied logic.  There was concern that people would judge the client by the website and then decide not to shop at the stores. No amount of pleading and prodding could convince the client to look at both the storefronts and website as one in the same.

Your company’s website should be a reflection of the experience customers get when they shop your stores.  It should be intuitive, interactive and INTERESTING. That’s the point my dear furniture retailer did not understand. 

A ton of TV spots won’t help if consumers become disenchanted when they land on your website.  

Despite the naysayers, people are still influenced by what they see on TV, but today they require more than just a 30-second commercial to help close the deal.  Make sure you’re giving it to them with an easy-to-navigate website that is more than an online company brochure. 

Remember:  “No media is an island.”



Retail TV and Online Advertising Work Better Together

August 25, 2009

For the first time, the effectiveness of using TV and online advertising in tandem has been examined in depth.  A pioneering new study conducted by Q Media Research in the UK has shown that using TV and online together is significantly more effective for advertisers than using either in isolation. 

The study concluded that using the two media together does provide a very powerful combination across the whole process … from telling consumers about a brand they never heard of before … to helping them decide on which brands are more relevant to them.

Although it’s not always the case, the relationship does tend to flow from TV to online with TV sparking initial interest, awareness and “talkability” about a brand.   With online providing consumers with the additional information they need to aid in decision making and purchase.

This particular combination is very powerful in raising purchase consideration with retail TV advertising generally starting the process and online completing it.

 Other key findings from the study include:

  •  Using TV advertising and online together results in 47% more positive feelings about a brand than using either in isolation. 
  • The likelihood of buying or using a product increases by more than 50% when TV and online are used together. 
  • 48% of the sample group of 3,000 respondents watched TV while online, most days. Going online was second only to eating for activities that people do while the TV is on. 
  • The findings reinforce the need to ensure creative synergy between TV and online advertising:
    • TV and Online campaigns need to have a consistent theme/message.
    • The strength of each media needs to be maximized (TV for excitement and impact. Online for interaction and personalized engagement).
    • There needs to be a high level of visual synergy between the two mediums.
    • Rather than use online as a reach medium, it should be used to target those who have already seen the TV advertising as a way of extending the campaign message.

Graph for Post #15

Guy Phillipson, CEO of the Internet Advertising Bureau, had this to say:

“This important study delivers clear evidence of just how powerful and effective the TV and online combination is. In all the categories we tested, the results were very positive for both ‘soft’ brand measures and ‘hard’ purchase intent scores.”

Click here to read entire study.



The Gap replaces retail TV budget with Web and Social Media

August 23, 2009

Picture for Post #14After reading about The Gap’s new online advertising campaign, I was left yearning for the days where retail advertising had a more concrete purpose – like maybe selling something.  





I thought agencies were about developing engaging strategies to increase sales and market share.  And I thought those who were responsible for such strategies had some accountability when it came to delivering results.

If the new Gap strategy is any indication – my thinking may have been wrong.  

The new ad campaign from The Gap, titled “Born to Fit,” includes no TV commercials instead, for the first time in the retailer’s history, The TV budget has been replaced with Web and Social Media – more specifically Facebook.  Print, cinema and outdoor ads have been developed to drive consumers to the campaign’s Facebook page.

Always open to new ideas … I eagerly logged onto The Gap’s Facebook page. After a few seconds, I clicked onto the video section, expecting to hear why people like wearing Gap jeans.  Instead I was treated to a short video from seven so-called celebrity “icons” – each one yammering on and on about the complexities of their “intriguing” lives.  

As they speak, each “icon” (and I use this world loosely) is sitting on a stool against a white background while the camera – occasionally – pans down to the Gap jeans they are wearing.  By the time I watched all of them, I wasn’t sure if The Gap wanted me to buy a pair of jeans or question my place in the universe.

Julie Channing, senior account director with The Gap’s digital agency explains the strategy this way, “We were really looking to reach out to fashionistas and influence audiences to start a conversation about how Gap has built this line of denim from the ground up.”

Really?  So, consumers are going to visit a Facebook page and soon after begin conversing with friends and family about the development of a new brand of blue jeans?

Channing goes on to say, The Gap had set no numerical benchmarks to determine success in the campaign, but rather would look at “how much consumers interact with the brand” to gauge ROI.

So, let me make sure I understand this – The Gap’s ROI objective is to count how many people are talking about jeans, not how many are buying them.

Don’t you just love how some companies are using social media?



Retailers: TV is More Engaging than Internet and Mobile

August 21, 2009

Picture for Post #11Although it makes common sense, it’s still nice to see a study that confirms what a lot of us already knew:  For retailers especially, television presents a more effective commercial environment than the Internet or mobile devices. 

A new report from the research firm NeuroFocus found that TV earns high marks for emotional engagement, message recall and intent to purchase.  While on the other hand, viewers of small-screen media (Internet and mobile) found the ad experience to be less immersive and not nearly as engaging as TV. 

“Emotional response appears to be tied to the way people use different media platforms,” said Clay Collier, Cable & Telecommunications Association’s VP of Research.

He adds, “TV is particulary good at striking an emotional cord and conveying a sense of novelty. If you want to draw someone in and create an immersive environment, TV is a better fit.”

“On the small screen (mobile devices), certain emotional triggers – facial expressions, for example – are somewhat undermined,” said Clay.

(Somewhat undermined? On a three inch cell phone screen, you’d be lucky enough to discern a face, let alone facial expressions.)

The study also found that TV and Mobile ads were particularly effective at prompting a sale.  Not so for Internet ads, which appear to require repeated exposure before eliciting a consumer response.

On the emotional engagement scale, Internet ads came in last by a wide margin. 

“It stands to reason that people who are less emotionally invested in your ad may be less likely to buy your product,” said Tim Brooks, a former Lifetime Network Research Director.

I told you this was common sense … 



Attention Retailers: TV Still Leads Internet

August 14, 2009

A Forrester Research study reported in Mediaweek recently has found the “heady days of steep upticks in Internet use appear to be over.”

After experiencing steady growth from 2004 – 2007, time spent online has plateauted in 2008 at about 12-hours a week, unchanged from the year before.

Television still leads the Internet and every other medium in the study with an average of 13 hours of viewing a week.

Mediaweek also noted that over the 5-year period in which the Internet showed its greatest growth, TV remained unchanged as Internet usage came at the expense of other media.

In that period, time spent with radio declined by 18%, newspaper time fell by 17% and magazines lost 6%.

Graph for Post #7


Retail Television Advertising Still Makes Sense

August 13, 2009

Why do retail advertisers continue to spend 46% of their ad budgets on television advertising? And only 7% on the Internet?

Graph for Post 5

It makes perfect sense to me. TV commands such a lion share of the nation’s media spending because it deserves to. After all is said and done, it comes down to results. No amount of wishful thinking can change the fact that TV advertising produces better “brand building” results than any other media platform, including the Internet.

Don’t know about you, but I could of swore I saw the Geico Gecko and that creepy, but effective Burger king character for the first time on TV.

With that said, the Internet is a powerful complement to traditional mass media when it comes to providing consumers with in-depth information on a product or service. It’s weakness; however, is its inability to transform a brand promise into a brand personality. For that – nothing beats the sight, sound and action of a 30-second television commercial.

TV is not dead and it’s not dying. There’s too much evidence out there for anyone with slightest bit of intellectual honesty to deny.

You don’t have to look any further than online video consumption to realize that television is more than holding its own in the digital age. Are people really abandoning their 50 inch plasmas in favor of viewing downloaded video content onto their laptops and cell phones? Or are they spending all their time on YouTube watching one of the thousands of insipid videos submitted each and every day? Perhaps some are, but it’s far from being a groundswell – even among the young.

According to the latest Nielsen Media Research Study on media usage, 18-24 year-olds are watching just under 5 ½ minutes of online video a day versus 3 ½ hours of TV daily.

As Andy Donchin, the director of national broadcast for Carat, the largest media buying service in the world put it:

“traditional media is still very strong and a great influencer. You need to get immersed in digital, but traditional media is still doing the heavy lifting.”

I couldn’t have said better myself…