Mixing it up

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Strata’s most recent report on advertising trends in Q1 2011 gave agencies a bit of relief that advertising is headed in a positive direction.  Overall media spend was up over last year, media planners and buyers are getting a better feel for how and where this money is being spent…and if specific clients are bearing out that trend. Much of our advertising services revolve around buying and planning at a regional level, and I’m as relieved as the next manager to note that Strata’s trend is consistent with what we see in the New England market.

Not long ago, the popular refrain was that advertising budget should be going completely digital, mobile or social – something we consider to be an overreaction to the price and reach of online ads.  That said, there are two pieces of the Strata report that reinforce our planning startegies:

First, even the most traditional of our clients are in fact seeing value and opportunity with digital media, but they have never considered running only digital.  They (and we) consider it a valuable support medium that can be used a lot like cable television. We can target plans both geographically and demographically, and there are fantastic ways to track the advertising in great detail. That takes the age old question of “how will we know if it’s working” out of the equation.

Second – and this is no surprise to us – traditional advertising mediums are still relevant for advertisers across the board. For example, where there was much chatter about the death of print, the report actually shows an increase.  What we’ve found on a regional basis is that print has certainly decreased, but it remains an important pillar to the media strategy. We no longer place newspaper ads on a weekly basis, but instead work a little harder to find unique opportunities in newspapers or niche magazines.  The allocation of the ad spend has definitely changed, but the need for print still exists along with television, radio, digital, outdoor etc.

Above all, advertising is on the rise again, but the media developments of the past several years have had a big impact on strategy.   Clients large and small are getting more active, and the challenge ahead is to maximize those budgets by finding the best balance of digital, social, and traditional placements.

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