If you are a wine connoisseur, you may be familiar with the
phrase "it has legs." For those of you who are not into wine, having legs is a
good thing. Swirl the glass around and take note of the wine sliding down
the side-it is an indication of its alcohol content, yes, and staying power!
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.