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Use the Web, TV to Drive Campaigns

Television has unmistakable strengths as a marketing medium — it reaches into the lives of almost all consumers and, if used correctly, can tell a rich, persuasive story.

However, television does have constraints, such as the difficulty marketers have communicating a deep or complex message to viewers.

Today, an effective Web strategy can pick up where television falls short — offering an unparalleled opportunity for conveying depth of information.

But with consumers facing hundreds of thousands of competing Web destinations, most marketers are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to use the Web to reach a significant chunk of their audiences effectively.

By leveraging the strength of television and the Web, marketers can deliver a message directly to their desired audiences. Consider the potential if there were a way to link the broadcast outlet to the Web site — such as the Web site for a local television news station — and the marketing opportunities are even more outstanding. True “convergence advertising” that combines the reach and power of on-air advertising with the depth of online not only enables marketers to leverage the best of both mediums, but it also creates a continual, powerful cycle of driving users/Web audiences back and forth between the mediums.

The Best of Both Worlds:

There are powerful examples of companies leveraging television and the Web successfully. In marketing its Pacific Bell SMARTpages.com online directory service in Southern California, SBC Communications, San Antonio, used television advertising to create awareness for its service and build its brand image as a comprehensive and convenient resource for Southern Californians.

To complement this brand-building campaign, SBC launched SMARTpages Web partnerships with top local Southern California Web sites, such as Channel2000.com, the Web site of KCBS-TV and one of the most highly trafficked local television Web sites in the world. Running a true convergence campaign, viewers saw SMARTpages spots on KCBS-TV and were urged to use the SMARTpages service the next time they visited Channel2000.com.

By aligning its SMARTpages brand with a well-known Southern California Web destination, SBC advanced the brand-building objectives of its television campaign. In addition, by integrating with Channel2000.com, SBC allowed its Web users to test-drive the SMARTpages service in a well-respected, nonthreatening Web environment.

In this successful campaign for SMARTpages, television created the awareness of the online directory service, but the Web drove viewers from awareness to trial, and from trial to loyalty.

The Virtuous Cycle:

Marketers are going even a step further by using convergence advertising to drive viewers back and forth between the two media in a “virtuous cycle” that serves to simultaneously build the advertiser’s brand.

Carrier, Farmington, CT, an air conditioning and heating manufacturer, used this strategy last year in Cleveland.

Carrier’s dealers in Cleveland had traditionally relied heavily on seasonal spot television advertising in its key markets to build its premium brand image with consumers. In an effort to push beyond mere awareness-building, Carrier leveraged the interactivity of the Web with the reach of television.

Last fall, Carrier sponsored the weather forecasts on the local news program of WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland. Concurrently, Carrier developed a heavy presence on the online weather section of NewsNet5.com, WEWS’ award-winning Web site and one of the top local sites in the area.

On NewsNet5.com, Carrier offered banner ads with copy that changed depending on weather conditions. For example, if the temperature dropped significantly, a banner would read, “It’s 20 degrees colder today than yesterday,” and would remind viewers to check their heating systems. Carrier also linked its banner ads on NewsNet5.com to maps and driving instructions to area dealers, and integrated advertisements into NewsNet5.com’s daily e-mails to Cleveland-area users.

Finally, NewsNet5.com’s Web audiences were continually reminded to tune in to that night’s television newscast, thus improving the chances of seeing Carrier’s television spots again. The result was a base of consumers with an increased awareness of Carrier’s brand, and with a convenient route to move from awareness to trial — and purchase, when the time was right.

For Carrier, the television spots raised awareness of the benefits of upgrading viewers’ heating systems and positioned Carrier as the brand that can deliver the goods.

Since viewers of the WEWS weather report were frequently encouraged to visit NewsNet5.com for more expansive weather coverage, the Web component to Carrier’s marketing campaign built on the awareness created in the television spots.

These examples show how marketers have been able to hone in on the strengths of both television and the Internet to build their brands and drive consumers’ buying power — wherever consumers would be looking.

The success stories of SBC Communications and Carrier show marketers that television and the Web can effectively double the power of each medium. By playing to the strengths of each medium, most marketers can use television and the Web together to build their brands far more effectively than either medium would allow if used alone.

• Jim Singer is senior vice president of marketing at Internet Broadcasting Systems Inc., New York. Reach him at [email protected]

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