New Confirmation that Offline Advertising Drives Online Success

Just about 2 years ago I wrote a post looking at how online success required offline advertising. (Link here.) But there is a lot of hype about the rate of online change – so that opinion must be stale, right? After all, among the “cyber hipsters” (as I saw them described today) everything off-line dimishes and fades. But cyber hipsterism doesn’t often reflect reality.

A new study about TV shows nothing has changed and that “TV Ads Lift Online Sales Conversion” (Link here.) The study clearly showed an increase in both traffic and conversion that resulted from TV advertising. This is no surprise for those of us who work in TV. But it is confirming to find that there’s hard data to back up what we all experience.

Unfortunately, many online companies struggle to leverage TV. In my experience, this struggle starts with the problem of scale. The Web’s beauty is that it offers an inexpensive way to reach a small universe. That makes it extremely low risk to test things. But with low risk comes low revenue. So being unwilling to go beyond this comfortable low risk testing also means you won’t tap into the far greater profit that might be available for you.

The online companies look at the an offline opportunity like TV and begin to see a big potential in a big universe. Even better, they find that TV’s extraordinarily inexpensive per person to reach people. But, then the “get started” costs hit. There’s simply more risk required to get started (as is common with bigger business opportunities).

So an online marketer might be used to spending $500 to create a banner ad then spending $2,000 in media to test it. But to jump to TV, they’ll need to commit somewhere between $75K and $200K to testing (creative, production and media). (BTW… Those are conservative costs. Many ad agencies will charge $300K to $1M for creative and production and demand a $300K media budget to test. I don’t use those numbers because I don’t think those are smart first steps when you’re building your way up from the online budget size.)

Even at my low end of $75K, there’s risk involved that make many online marketers quite uncomfortable. But there are also huge revenue dollars that can’t be generated without offline marketing. And that means taking those risks is required if you’re to reach the opportunity found in your business.

One result worth considering more deeply: A top level review of these new results shows very low conversion of all search generated leads – and that the free search leads converted roughly the same as the paid search.

Now this research doesn’t compare click volumes – so we don’t entirely know what to do with these results. But they do suggest some caution when running paid search along with TV – you might be paying twice for a lead.

My advice to online marketers? Dig in. Look at the risk. Look at the offline media that’s critical to your business while knowing that there’s marketing power beyond what online work can deliver.

Then take the risk – and proceed wisely with partners who know how to deliver results. When it works you’ll rise to a level you had never imagined.

Copyright 2012 – Doug Garnett – All Rights Reserved

About Doug Garnett
Growing retail based businesses through television, DRTV, and all forms of video. Doug is a strategist, executive producer, director, author, & teacher.

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