Does Your Media Strategy Have Legs?
The Crawl, Walk, Run Approach
By Evan Wooton, president and COO, WFofR Media -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/14/2013 9:10:25 AM
When it comes to media planning and buying, it is important to know if your brands' media strategy has legs. So how do you do that? Do you swirl it around and see if it stays there a while? No. But what you can do is implement a Crawl, Walk, Run approach to validate its staying power.
The Crawl, Walk, Run approach can be used for brands that are trying to determine if broad reach methodology can drive sales. It is a way to answer that question while being very respectful of the budget. The key go/no go question can be answered if an in-market advertising test is executed correctly, meaning sufficient weight, geography, and time are allowed for the campaign to build advertising awareness and brand sales.
In a recent Crawl, Walk, Run case study, a brand with limited resources started an advertising campaign-the "Crawl" stage-with just 19% of U.S. television households (USTVHH). Markets were selected using Brand Development Indices, along with the brand's guidance in markets where there is a high propensity to use this product. The primary tracking method was to use Walmart point-of-sale data. The Walmart store list by zip code was cross-tabbed against the Nielsen Designated Market Area (DMA) zip code list in order to isolate stores in each DMA. This provided the brand advertiser with the exact stores in each advertised and non-advertised market.
Results were tracked by comparing sales in the current week to the same week in the previous year in both advertised and non-advertised markets. Every advertised market showed positive growth versus a year ago, with many markets showing double-digit gains.
The sales results were so positive that in the next year, the brand decided to expand the number of advertised markets to 31% of USTVHH's-the "Walk" stage. Overall, the brand is showing growth, with the advertised markets showing double-digit sales increases during the advertised weeks.
The brand is anticipated to move up to the "Run" stage very shorty. There are many reasons to increase the overall advertising penetration, not the least of which is to demonstrate to major retailers that advertising has a very positive impact on store movement.
In summary, a Crawl, Walk, Run approach can be an effective way to progressively roll out an advertising campaign to targeted geography. In fact, using the results from test markets can put management in a more confident position to decide whether to move to the next level or not. Armed with sales results that beat non-advertised markets, the decision is easy to move from Crawl to Walk (expanded geography) and eventually Run (maximum reach and geography).
WFofR Media is a Richmond, Va.-based media buying and planning agency. Wooton joined the agency as president and COO in June 2012 from The Hilb Group, which he cofounded. Prior to that, he was president and co-owner of Premier Pet Products. He has also held marketing and financial positions at Hallmark Cards Inc.
To request a copy of the case study report: "Crawl, Walk Run: How Test Market Strategies Work" e-mail Evan Wooton at email@example.com.
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