Why Experience Counts

Date posted: 8 Aug 2019

Posted by: Smithfield

Post category: Insights

When I used to hear the words ‘In my experience…’ I groaned.  It felt to me like a default expression to mitigate for a lack of ability or knowledge.

The longer I worked in the media industry, the more I realised experience does really make a big difference.

You can read all the ad strategy books, study all the marketing theory, but without having that vital experience, your clients budgets might not work as hard as they would want or expect.

To put that in context consider the following:

  • The Travel Channel may seem like the perfect environment for a TV holiday advertiser – in reality it is cluttered and can be difficult to cut through. Also, the content is highly engaging which can distract from an advertisers message.
  • Daytime TV on ITV1 may deliver the audience profile an advertiser is trying to reach but it can be tricky to achieve an efficient cost per response on this channel due to the relatively higher media costs of buying ads here, and the large audiences it attracts – further pushing up the costs. The ad will need to work harder to generate response versus smaller less expensive TV stations
  • Print is still a trusted and credible environment for advertisers. Whilst newspaper circulations are published weekly, they fluctuate on a daily basis. An ad that may be priced the same on a normal Monday, versus a bank holiday Monday might do half the circulation. This is because many people go away on bank holidays and don’t buy their daily newspaper.
  • Across the plethora of outdoor formats which can often seem highly cost effective based on cost vs audience reach, tube card panels are one of the few outdoor media channels that can actually deliver cost efficient response – due to the low cost per panel and the high dwell time (the average tube journey is 12 mins). Also only 52% of the tube network is actually underground, thus responding to an advert by mobile phone is possible half the time we’re on the tube
  • Radio, is very cost efficient way of building cover quickly but it is also a tricky media channel to generate direct response from as most people listen to it when they’re concentrating on something else – usually driving.
  • Cinema is arguably the best experience an advertiser could hope for: big screens, surround sound, engaged audience, non-skippable ads. In reality it is a very expensive media channel, ad frequency is low (very few people go to the cinema more than once every quarter), response is restricted (we’re told to switch our phones off or face being ejected!), audiences are getting smarter at turning up in time for the movie and avoiding the ads.

At Smithfield, we have a senior leadership team. Between the 6 board members we have 130 years media experience. Whilst, clients don’t always insist that their account is handled by experienced senior staff, it is something we at Smithfield insist on as we understand the importance of it, and the effect it can have on producing a good plan versus producing the best plan.

I’ll leave you with one of my all time favourite quotes by the Irish rugby player Brian O’Driscoll; who once said ‘Wisdom is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; experience is not putting it in a fruit salad’.

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