Brilliance in Marketing: Zicam Media Buying Innovation

The American Marketing Association New York celebrates brilliance in marketing. That’s why we visited Matrixx Initiatives to interview CEO M’Lou Walker on the innovative approach to media buying of television time–highly targeted, extremely flexible and exactly measurable.

Demand for the Zicam brand is heavily linked to the start and end of the cold season–which is notoriously hard to predict. That is why traditional media buying of television in upfront markets didn’t work for Zicam–unitl this media buying innovation by Simulmedia proved a game-changer.

I like to say that we buy our TV like we buy Internet. And that allows us to get very effective because we’re going exactly to the consumers who would be most responsive to our message.

Media Buying Innovation - An Alternative To The Upfront Market For Television Advertising

0:00 Lisa Merriam: The American Marketing Association celebrates brilliance and marketing

0:04 That’s why we’re at Matrixx Initiatives to talk to the marketing minds behind Zicam the homeopathic remedy that shortens the duration of colds.

0:15 Since its invention in the 1990s the Zicam has been giving people better ways to feel better, but the company always struggled with better ways to reach its consumers.

0:24 M’lou Walker: So we bought media and what I would call the traditional way the way I’ve always been trained to buy it honestly which is in the upfront marketplace over the course of summer in negotiations with the network. You buy shows and you’re on at whatever time that you’ve bought.

0:38 Zicam is a highly seasonal brand so we have to advertise during cold season but what we really don’t know is how intense the season will be when it’s going to come on how many people will be sick so when we buy during the up front in July or August, then we’re stuck with inventory that we may or may not use.

0:56 We’re stuck with certain weeks of TV that it might might line up with a cold season or it might be a total miss for Zicam.

1:03 We are owned by a private equity firm and so there’s even more attention to our financial management and being in really tight financial models, we need to prove out that every dollar we spend in marketing is really worth it and returns to the top line in the form of sales.

1:22 So it’s very important to us that we make sure that we’re very tight with the budget. That we stay flexible so that we can meet the needs of the season and

1:31 that we stay accountable and we’re able to prove out that our spending delivers top-line.

1:36 We partnered with a firm called Simulmedia and Simulmedia uses big data and matched their big data to our intense understanding of the consumer, based on our market research,

1:51 And they were able to go out and identify shows in small bits so that we built up audiences and we advertise to audiences as opposed to placing a bet on a given network show on a time of the
week a day of the week.

2:06 We built up an audience across 54 or so cable channels that so that we were able to precisely target in a very effective way, an efficient way, and also they brought along the component of flexibility.

2:21 James Geoghegan: I mean the key for us is is getting more than we spend. Right? So we’re trying to drive sales everything everything that we do our media planning and you know strategy. How do we increase lift in itself so using some media, bringing their data to basically to this fight, if you will.

2:41 Then you know what we’re able to do get a better business outcomes.

2:44 M’Lou Walker: So I like to say that we buy our TV like we buy Internet. And that allows us to get very effective because we’re going exactly to the consumers who would be most responsive to our message.

2:56 We know that our message works because we’ve tested it so we’re effective. We’re efficient and then at the end of it, we’re able to demonstrate and measure that it pays off for the brand.

3:07 We were able to marry up ad exposure to eventual purchase and demonstrate that we that our advertising returns a $1.50 in and profit for every dollar we spend in advertising.

3:21 Not $1.50 in sales, but $1.50 in profit.

3:26 Lisa Merriam: In the first year of the campaign, the category was down 15%, but Zicam was up 10.

3:32 Now that’s brilliance in marketing.

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