Optimizing Media Expenditures

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Infomercial media buying has come a long way in the past 16 years: sophisticated software, extensive databases, savvy media buyers, sound buying strategies. Media agencies specializing in infomercial buying give out sound advice about what's in the best interest of a client's campaign, or do they?

Mother always said never put all your eggs in one basket. That holds true when selecting an agency to buy your infomercial airtime.

Most agencies will tell you they always act in the best interest of their clients. But there's a catch -- one that you as a prospective client need to know. Most agencies insist on exclusivity of your infomercial campaign. While this strategy may have worked in the past, it is not in your best interest in today's highly competitive environment. To many of my colleagues in the industry, this may be heresy. But I believe that in today's competitive market and with rising prices for airtime, it is a win-win situation for everyone to share the wealth.

To achieve the best possible strategy for the success of your infomercial campaign, you definitely should not put all your eggs in one agency's basket. Look around and interview several. Then determine the three or four agencies that best understand your campaign.

Why is using one agency to book media not in your best interest?

* No single agency has the best relationship with 100 percent of broadcast and cable television stations and representatives.

* You are not using the strengths of a few agencies.

* There is no benchmarking by which to gauge the performance of a single agency.

* There is no competition to motivate the agency to work harder for you.

Remember you are the client. It is in your best interest to spread your media dollars around.

Tell prospective agencies you want three or four agencies booking your media and listen to what they say. Do they agree with this strategy or discourage you from doing so? Those who are concerned about having their weaknesses exposed will discourage you from using multiple agencies. Be sure to evaluate the strategies each agency proposes.

As your media campaign rolls out, the benefits of using more than one agency soon will become apparent:

* You will be using the strengths of each of the agencies you have chosen, i.e., the strong relationships each has with various stations and representatives.

* You will have a clear picture of how each agency is performing in relation to its peers.

* The competitive nature will make each agency work harder for you, thereby improving your bottom line profits.

* And most importantly, you will realize greater profits from your campaign than you would using only one media-buying agency. The key is to allocate the markets and stations to each agency based on the strengths of its relationships. This keeps media costs down and profits up and lengthens the life of a campaign.

This multiagency strategy has proved to be in the best interest of the client and to be successful for the infomercial campaign.

Remember, when it comes to media buying and the creation of strategy for an infomercial campaign, what is in your best interest? Ask around. See who walks the walk vs. those who just talk the talk. Extreme accountability is the norm. Accentuate your profitability by harnessing the competitive nature of multiple agencies.

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