7 things to consider before launching a TV ad campaign

Entrepreneur Michael Phillips reveals how he planned his company’s first foray into TV advertising

The growth of broadbandchoices.co.uk over the last few years made us a significant contender in our field. However, a strategic review of the company highlighted that although we were confident that the company had a strong proposition, the majority of the general public hadn’t heard of us.

A large proportion of our traffic was reaching us via search engines  and our email database rather than people searching for us directly by name, making this a big opportunity in our category when compared to how insurance aggregation is being dominated by big brands.

We knew we needed to raise our profile, strengthen our own brand, and start to make broadbandchoices.co.uk a household name – and a key way to do that, was through TV advertising. Here’s how we did it:

Bring in experience

Our first step was to appoint someone with stellar credentials to run the process. We felt that it would be a false economy and a major error to take a shortcut and use an existing member of staff who didn’t bring the same level of expertise and experience.

Our brand manager had no vested interest in whether we decided to advertise, so, unlike a media buyer who would profit from a decision to proceed, he was able to take an unbiased approach.

Carry out strategic analysis

Our brand manager undertook a quantitative analysis process to establish whether an advertising campaign was justifiable. He initially looked at the number of people who had used our service and tied the results in with Ofcom switching numbers to establish what our share of the market was at present. This enabled us to see whether the market was big enough to warrant the cost of advertising.

Our results showed us that the potential to expand our share of the market would justify the investment in advertising, taking us to the next stage: focus groups.

Talk to your customers

Although they aren’t cheap, focus groups are the best way to understand your customers and get a true idea of your user demographic. We needed to establish how our customers use their broadband, their motives for switching, how they switch and their attitude to our brand. We tested out potential website name changes and advertising concepts to gauge the reaction of our groups.

Test and re-test

At each stage we examined and re-examined the consumer responses and scrutinised the results in order to evaluate and refine our message. We then re-tested for each adjustment we made.

Align your business

While you may be focused on the consumer, don’t lose sight of the importance of internal alignment with your brand. Your staff need to understand your brand and should see your customer as living, breathing people – not numbers in Google Analytics or assume they are replicas of themselves.

You should be prepared to harness the positive effects of advertising, such as through PR, PPC and editorial, well in advance of your campaign getting underway.

Measure, measure, measure

In order to see if your advertising campaign is a success, you need to know your starting point. We have measured all the underlying indicators of success for our business, so although it may take a while for our campaign to show direct returns in terms of visitor numbers, the so-called ‘halo benefits’, such as brand recognition, conversation rates, basket size and commission rates can show quicker improvements.

Take the plunge

So, prep done, broadbandchoices.co.uk launched its first major advertising campaign over the Christmas period. Watch this space to see if it pays off….

Michael Phillips is managing director at broadbandchoices.co.uk and was named a Young Gun by Growing Business in 2010. Follow his tweets here: @gustavlemmy

 

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