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Friday, December 12, 2014

(WIZARD) It Just Gets Weirder.


Maybe I'm just getting old. There's always that possibility. But the marketing news I've been reading lately seems to be getting weirder and weirder.

The first headline that caused me to lift an eyebrow touted, "Radio delivers 6-to-1 ROI!" I shook my head and rubbed my eyes. Did I really just read that? The story went on to say that "research proves radio returns 6 dollars for every dollar invested." After I finished banging my head repeatedly on my desk, I thought about changing careers.

Am I the only person who sees a problem with a statement like that?

AE: "Research proves that for every dollar you invest in radio, you'll get $6 return on investment."
PROSPECT: "So if I give you $50,000, you promise to make me $300,000 in profit?"
AE: "No, uh, we just promise to, uh...."
PROSPECT: "Because if you're telling me that you'll only increase my sales volume by six times more than I invest, well that's a 16 percent ad budget. I can't afford a 16 percent ad budget! My ad budget is only 5 percent of sales."
AE: "Well, uh, radio, uh...."

The real problem, of course, is that an advertiser's return on investment isn't determined by the media that he or she uses to deliver the ad, but by the ad itself. The media doesn't make the ad succeed or fail. The ad makes the media succeed or fail.

As I rubbed the growing knot on my forehead, I tracked down the source of the hype. It was a March 25, 2014 story in Advertising Age quoting a 2013 Nielsen Catalina Study of just 10 brands. You'll notice the study didn't follow "1,000 small businesses" or "600 service businesses across five different categories" or even "400 diverse retailers."

The study in question measured the sales lift of just 10 brands by cross-referencing PPM data: "We can prove they heard the ad," with Catalina data. "We can prove they bought the product."

Few people quoting this study, which purportedly "proves radio delivers a 6-to-1 return on investment," bother to include the summary statement by Leslie Wood, chief research officer of Nielsen Catalina. "It's hard to take our averages and call it a norm," Ms. Wood said, "since the question remains whether marketers would get similar results at higher spending levels or across more brands and categories."

Thank you, Leslie Wood, for restoring my faith in the basic sanity of research people, although I still have some doubts about the myriad of sellers who misquote you.

Leslie Wood's finest insight is revealed in a statement that no one seems to be quoting. When commenting on radio's strong performance, she conjectured that one reason could be people's affinity with their radio stations, something media buyers in New York may have trouble believing. "If you live in New York, you probably don't drive, so you may never listen to the radio," she said. "But the rest of the United States does. And it's shocking how connected people are to their radio."

Do you want to zero in on how to sell more New York agencies? That's it. That's the answer. Use a video montage to open the eyes of New York agency people to the pivotal role that radio plays in the daily lives of those 315 million Americans who don't live in Manhattan and walk to work each day.

That "6-to-1 ROI" thing was weird, but this next bit gets even weirder.

A number of companies are racing to popularize marketing platforms that use GPS targeting to text messages to you when you're close to an advertiser's place of business. Strangely, none of these location-based marketing platforms is called "Stalker." I wonder why?

"Hello. We're watching you. Are you going to come into our store? We'd really like you to come in. We know where you are right now. And we know where you live."

Like I said, it just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

Fortunately, privacy laws prohibit these platforms from accessing your location data unless you give them permission. But, as you would expect, they've gotten very clever in the phrasing of their requests.

If it hasn't already happened, you'll soon see a pop-up on your mobile device that says, "Allow Google to access your location even when you are not using the app?" Below this question will be a YES button and a NO button. Your device will be nonfunctional until you click one button or the other. But the really clever part is what appears below those buttons: "LOCATION SERVICES IS OFF. To use Google Now, you need to turn on Location Services."

So do you want to use Google Now or not? Do you want us to offer you location services or not?

You click YES.

Welcome to Stalker.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail:

(12/8/2014 8:45:05 AM)
You are a very nasty man, Roy.

For a couple of weeks, the grand fromages thought they had "The Story" for which everybody has been pining.

Minions are being thrown into active volcanoes to gain the favor of the gods who will (as the other story goes) be delivering this great, wonderful and industry-redeeming "story".

Too bad, as "The Story" was to replace the responsibility of radio to learn and earn its way to credibility, affect and influence.

But, no. Somebody (not unlike yourself) had to come along, bust the balloon and demonstrate how the sacrifices of lives and talent have been for nought.

Shame. Great big piles of shame & stuff.

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