Media fragmentation helps focus marketing dollars

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Robert Yallen
Robert Yallen

Direct response marketers can either waste time lamenting about how difficult it is get a critical mass audience, or they can take advantage of today's marketplace fragmentation.

According to the National Cable Television Association, the 1984 Cable Act fragmented TV media. Cable networks grew from 28 in 1980 to 79 in 1990. Viewers went from having a few choices (such as the local CBS, NBC and ABC network affiliates, along with some independent broadcast stations) to more than 48 basic cable networks.

Since then, there has been a proliferation of even more niche cable networks, along with hundreds of HD or SD programming sources, such as Blackbelt TV and Wealth TV. Add YouTube, Hulu, social media and mobile media, and you have an endless number of venues all fighting for advertising dollars. This landscape presents real opportunities for savvy marketers.

Exploit the explosion in niche programming by concentrating ad dollars on media focused exclusively on your market. That increases the effectiveness of each dollar spent. However, shop carefully, as many media rates aren't in line with audience value.

Marketers need to take advantage of traditional media willing to negotiate off rate card and eager to throw in value-added components such as special promotions, website ads, and e-mails directly to their audience. Other creative options include advertising on Internet radio, instead of on the more costly terrestrial radio.

Engage the consumer in a way that passive viewership could not. Go beyond the 800 number by incorporating things like social media, digital surveys and contests.

Product marketers and brand builders have more ways to divide and test dollars, strategically buy cable, explore alternative advertising vehicles, interact with target markets, find flexible new options and take advantage of social.

As the media becomes increasingly consumer-centric, it behooves the smart advertiser to keep looking for ways to use it as a marketing advantage.

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