Some direct marketers spend thousands of dollars creating and placing space advertisements only to find their money ill spent. Can space ads be a successful part of your marketing mix? Possibly, but only if you avoid the pratfalls of failed efforts. This medium is worth testing, but how can you learn their secrets and execute successful space campaigns year after year? By breaking down the anatomy of the space ad and building a smart campaign inside and out.
Strategy: The Bones of the Space Ad
While creative is an important component, a successful space ad must begin with solid bones. Long before the creative team works its magic, you must build a sound strategy by answering these crucial questions:
What is the role of the ad? In most cases, a space ad is designed as a prospect tool. Whether the ad sells a product or generates a request for information, direct marketers have learned that a response creates a “tryer” not a customer. There must be a back-end plan to create a profitable customer. Most importantly, there must be measures in place to dictate how you are going to track response and measure success.
What can I afford to spend? Many successful space ads are not meant to create positive contribution to profits. Remember, if the primary role of your space ad is to prospect, you need to calculate how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer. Most direct marketers want a one-year pay-back; thus, they initially are willing to lose money knowing they will convert a percentage of tryers to profitable customers in the future. So, the success of a space ad should be analyzed over time.
What are my options? The world of available space reaches far and wide. Magazines, Sunday supplements, free-standing inserts, newspapers … all are viable options. At this point, affordability is crucial. Most marketers will translate “what they can afford” to “cost per one thousand possible recipients” (cost of the placement divided by reach, or total readers). Understanding your affordable options along with having a clear picture of your target audience will help you dramatically narrow the field. Other factors to consider include: