How Performance Marketers Use TV Ads for the Ultimate Win
Before joining Simulmedia, I spent the last couple of decades leading in-house digital and performance marketing teams. Despite being the “digital guy,” I’ve always believed that adding TV and video to our marketing repertoire would expand the funnel and raise the tide of all marketing channels. The challenge was convincing my performance-minded management (especially the CFOs) that we can prove TV’s impact on the business.
“You’re the digital guy. Why are you suggesting TV?” Well, I suggested TV because I knew it would add legitimacy for products, provide massive scale, and ultimately lead to measurable outcomes.
Fast forward to today... it’s a heck of a lot easier to justify TV advertising and I wish I had the same tools 15 years ago. But don’t believe me, I’m biased: I work for a company that does this really well. Instead, during a recent Adweek conference, I asked one of our newest clients, Dave Reiseman, the CMO of Echelon Fitness, why he turned to data-driven TV to help grow their business.
Pivoting Towards Performance
Phil Sandler: So why TV and why now?
Dave Reiseman: Ultimately, we’re an experiential brand and needed a better way to share that experience with potential customers. The use of sight sound and motion is key to that and only TV and video can accomplish that. We also needed efficient scale. Competition in the space is fierce with players like Peloton spending a lot on advertising. We needed our spend to punch above its weight. Honestly, we didn’t think TV was an affordable option for us, but it really didn’t take a lot to start testing and we’ve already justified increased budgets for TV based upon early performance. What’s more, the tools, especially those Simulmedia provides, give us accountability we didn’t have. We also love the fact that we can identify interests versus relying on broad demographics to assume what someone in a certain age range and gender might want. Now we can target ads based upon a specific offering (e.g., a treadmill vs. a bike vs. a rower), vs. selling the “whole fleet” at once. This interest-based approach is a game-changer and we expect to take full advantage of it moving forward.
Honestly, we didn’t think TV was an affordable option for us, but it really didn’t take a lot to start testing and we’ve already justified increased budgets for TV based upon early performance.
Phil: Let’s talk about accountability. That’s been something I’ve always had to prove to the naysayers. There are a lot of misconceptions about TV not being measurable, not driving performance, not being transparent, etc., and I think everyone listening knows that’s changed... a lot. Clearly you believe in the power of tv to drive conversions, which is why we’re partnering. How does your team perceive the value of TV in hitting your performance goals?
Dave: Ultimately, the team is looking at improving our CAC/LTV ratio by product. We all ask ourselves how we can reduce acquisition costs/dependence on digital channels and find customers that are likely to want our products and use them to improve their lives. We love that it can now be precisely targeted by interest, provides full funnel accountability and metrics like site visits, branded search queries, and even purchase activity —online or even at retail.
Phil: All good points and honestly why we’re seeing more and more D2C brands turn to TV, reduce dependence on digital channels which are becoming more cluttered and more expensive. It sounds like TV is a great addition to your marketing repertoire. Any additional thoughts there?
Dave: Yes, but more so a question for you... why do we keep hearing linear is dying? It seems very much alive to us? I mean I hope people think it’s dying so we get lower rates.
Phil: TV is not dying, it’s evolving! Sure, ”traditional TV” viewing is declining and eyeballs are moving towards streaming. But older formats like radio didn’t die, they specialized, became more data-driven, and measurable as is TV/video, CTV and other advanced platforms. As a matter of fact, overall TV and video consumption are up, with the average daily viewership close to 6 hours per person in the U.S. What’s more, linear TV still has about 8 times the ad impressions of ad supported and subscription based providers. That’s why we see companies like Roku making big investments in linear, as with their recent acquisition of Nielsen’s advanced TV measurement platform. They realize linear is and will continue to be an important part of the ad ecosystem for years to come. I also find it interesting that 75% of viewers have a second screen in their hands while viewing whatever they’re watching. This ties TV watching directly to action if viewers choose to investigate or even purchase a product or service as they’re sitting on their couches.
Dave: OK, Phil, well given that, what advice do you have for those in or thinking about TV advertising?
Phil: There are three things I would offer...
- Apply a performance DNA. Awareness and intent don’t tie to the bottom line! The same qualities which make a good performance marketer apply to data-driven TV. Measure everything, always be testing and learning, and don’t just look at how TV works in isolation, look cross-channel and see how your other channels are benefiting from increased scale, a broadened funnel, and greater legitimacy.
- As with any other channel, be realistic, vigilant, and (slightly) patient. All too often marketers expect a home run the first time at bat with TV. Sure, it happens. But as with any marketing campaign, there are a lot of variables to consider. The optimal blend of targeting, creative, and offer takes time to perfect. Plan your budgets to allow for testing an optimization. Look for early signs of success to amplify and quickly optimize to get to your target allowable.
- Take advantage of the tools available today! TV now affords marketers surgical targeting, through-the-line and cross-channel measurement, complete transparency, and real-time feedback for optimization. If you can’t do it yourself, find the right partner! After all, you don’t do your own dentistry when you have a cavity. Why do your own TV planning, buying, and activation If you’re not expert in the space and have all the right tools. Hire the experts!
Dave: Good call, and exactly what we did!
Phil: We’re certainly glad you did and we look forward to helping Echelon help as many people as possible achieve their fitness and wellness goals!
Simulmedia leverages TV’s massive reach and the power of data to help brands, networks, and agencies find audiences most likely to tune-in, and transact. Learn more about how we’re helping companies like Experian, Michaels and Harry & David build awareness, drive performance or do both with data-driven TV ads.
Note: This blog is a roundup of the Adweek webinar on March 25 titled “How Performance Marketers Are Using TV for the Ultimate Win” featuring Phil Sandler, SVP of Marketing at Simulmedia, Dave Reiseman, CMO of Echelon Fitness, and Jason Lynch, TV Editor at Adweek.