The Little Known Media Buying Secret, Auto Dealers and Automotive Advertising Agencies Can Learn from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and the Rest of the Big-Boy Media Buying Giants.
This info is not for those who are faint-of-heart, easily agitated, exceptionally loyal, or willingly trustful. It’s the kind of stuff that can ruin relationships and cast serious doubt upon whom you once thought candid and forthright. It will trigger unpleasant conversations. This is Big-Boy information, devoid of emotion, nothing but cold hard facts, so if you opt to find out Big-Boy information, you’d better be able to handle it in a Big-Boy way.
Let’s suppose you’ve been going to the same deli for years and years. In any other deli you’d order a pound of Virginia ham, but at this deli, they only sell it by the slice and the deli guy says it’s about 16 slices to the pound. You order sixteen slices; you take it home and enjoy it in whichever way you please, omelets, sandwiches whatever. You really don’t pay much attention to it, after all, it’s sliced ham, everybody seems to like it and nobody’s ever complained. Life is good.
Now let’s imagine that after all this time you somehow find out that the so-called 16-slice pound of ham you’ve been buying every week has been coming off a faulty slicer. Some weeks you get slices that vary in width; sometimes they’re consistent, but thin throughout, and they never equal a pound.
How would that make you feel?
Be prepared, because you may be in for a What the hell? kind of moment. You see, if you’ve been buying your media directly, or your agency doesn’t Post your media buy, you’ve been buying by the slice, not the pound.
You’ve been buying by the slice (Spots), not the pound (GRP’s).
What is a spot?
A spot is a single broadcast on radio, TV or cable.
What is a GRP?
GRP stands for Gross Rating Point.
GRP’s are a standard measurement of the big picture— many people believe it indicates impact, but it doesn’t, it measures exposures. Or better yet; it measures assumed exposures, keep that in mind because it is at the very heart of what you are about to learn, assumed exposures.
[message_box title=”Gross Rating Point (GRP) Cheat Sheet” color=red”]
How are GRP’s determined?
Reach x Frequency = GRP
Reach is the percentage of people exposed to your message.
Frequency is the number of times exposed.
Multiply the percent of the target market reached by the number of times exposed. If you advertise to 20% of the target market and give them 8 exposures, you would have 160 GRPs.[/message_box]
So what does this have to do with the Big Boy Media Buying Giants?
Media buying giants do not purchase assumed exposures, they purchase actual exposures and that’s the difference we’re talking about here.
If you or your automotive ad agency are negotiating and buying based upon rates for radio and TV spots, (ham by the slice), and not negotiated rates for GRP’s, (ham by the pound), then you are not getting your full measure. It’s even more of a problem and unfair when you’re paying the rate card.
[message_box title=”Rate Card Cheat Sheet” color=red”]
What is Rate Card?
The published rates charged by any given media. It is the most you’ll ever pay.
Consider it the starting point for negotiation. If you don’t have Arbitron/Nielsen and STRATA, meaningful rate negotiations are practically impossible because the media vendor has all the numbers and all you have at your disposal is intuition and the rates provided to you by the sales rep.
The Media Maven Says: What great rates giveth, poor day parts and worthless rotators taketh away.[/message_box]
Rates are always after the fact. It is all based upon the established history of how many people tuned-in at that time, to that station, in the past. A Rate Card cannot predict the future; it can only reflect the past. When you pay the rate, you are buying an anticipated audience not the actual audience.
Rates are determined by the number of people who are expected to listen in, what happens when expectations are not met and fewer people tune-in? If you are buying by the spot, nothing happens. You paid for the spot, you got the spot. But if you had negotiated for GRP’s, that’s a different story because then you can say Hey, I negotiated for 500 GRP’s and I only got 420 GRP’s, what gives? That’s where we come in , we’re the people who post your buy and get the GRP’s.
Now let’s suppose you are buying GRP’s, how do you know you are getting them? You don’t know, unless you Post the buy.
[message_box title=”Media Posting Cheat Sheet” color=red”]
What is Posting?
Post as in After-the-Fact, is a full accounting of GRP’s negotiated and paid for, and GRP’s that are actually delivered. Available only to Arbitron /Nielsen and STRATA licensed agencies, the posting process is the only way to assure that media vendors deliver the contracted number of GRP’s.[/message_box]
The funny thing is that auto retailers are one of the biggest buyers of local media, and they almost never get the advantage of posting the buy, what is even more amazing, very few automotive ad agencies do not post either.
JKR Advertising Agency took a poll of our media vendors across the country in markets both large and small; what we discovered was a bit shocking.
The following list omits client’s names but we kept the media vendor; this is what we learned.
COMCAST – Individual Zones – No One Asks Them To Post
WDBO-fm -No other agency asks them to post.
CBS radio – JKR & and only one other agency ask them to post.
Florence/ Lexington, Kentucky:
QANTUM RADIO GROUP – 32 years in the radio business…JKR is the first account I have ever had to post.
WTVA/ETQV (ABCMYTV) – No direct clients post. About 50% of their agency business post.
Huntsville, Muscle Shoals, Anniston, Al – Rome, GA
BIG RIVER BROADCASTING (Muscle Shoals) Only Coca Cola North America & JKR requires posting.
Long Island, NY
COX RADIO – Does not post for any local clients
COX RADIO – Does not post for any local clients
CLEAR CHANNEL -No local clients post, about 5% of their national agencies require posting
CUMULUS – Does not post for any local clients
CLEAR CHANNEL – Only post for Coca Cola North America
WMDT/ABC – No local clients post, 25% of their national agencies post
CBS RADIO – No local clients post, 5% of national agencies
TIME WARNER CABLE – 30% of their clients post, all national, nothing local or direct
Apparently, automotive advertising agencies haven’t gotten the word, and that is one of the big differences between JKR and the rest. WE POST! We maximize your media dollar, and this isn’t just rhetoric, it is tangible, quantifiable and goes directly to your bottom line.
So, does your agency post your buy? AT&T does, Burger King Does, Coca Cola does. You want to know why? Because they hate to spend money and not know if they’re getting what they pay for, and so should you.
*Why does this happen? Audiences shift and are not entirely consistent; a breaking news story, sporting events, great weather, a competing program can and will divert your audience.