SECRET OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Consumer marketing needs a lot of logical mathematics. Any consumer marketing professional will endorse ‘converting consumers to gain market share’ as the top challenge! Even if you are lucky with a CEO willing to back your aggressive growth plans with big money, results may still not be forthcoming. The interesting part which does not change with economic conditions is beating competition. For this, every successful marketer has answered two golden questions: How many times & How?
1. How many times?
We, as consumers, don’t change easily and this fact gets complicated as, most of us do not listen to others. Remember all this is happening remotely and advertising message is the only thing you have to woo your consumer. Hence you have to repeat your message several times for it to make any impact on consumer minds. This need for reaching an advertising message repeatedly to your consumers is referred to as OTS; opportunity to speak for the advertiser, and opportunity to see for the target audience. Traditionally, experienced marketers work on a thumb rule of five i.e. reach a consumer five times properly for the message to register in a mind.
In reality, advertising is never in isolation. Hence, expect your competitors to be doing exactly the same thing. Here comes the second thumb rule of three i.e. for every one percent gain in market share, outshout your nearest competitor three times. This is a simple mathematical equation; in a two players market with 50:50 market share between brand A and brand B, if brand A needs to increase its market share to 55:45
(5% increase) then it needs to outshout B by 15% or a media visibility share 57.5:42.5 (15% more visibility). This comparison is typically measured as relative share of visibility i.e. number of times your advertising is visible versus your competitor.
The above two thumb rules are constantly complicated by the fact that all of us, as consumers feel advertising usually regard advertising as an intrusion. Little surprise that brand custodians sign on super-celebrities and best producers to create slick advertising content. Their advertising content, unlike regular content for a soap opera or a sports event, needs to be watched repeatedly, sometimes several times a day (refer the two thumb rules as above). Little wonder that marketers are regarded as first amongst equals when comparing different categories content creators.
Execution is the god of success for strategy. This is where meticulous and logical number crunching takes over from competitive strategy. Once you establish how many of your prospective consumers you want to reach, how many times within a larger competitive context, you need to optimize this execution. Here you are dealing with three variables; maximizing reach, maximizing OTS (read above) and minimizing spends. This while trying to map the various options of reaching a consumer surrounded by glut of content. Important to note here is that two of the objectives, reach and OTS, are shared with agency and publishers, but the third objective price is at loggerhead. While as marketer, you may want to minimize spends but publishers (always) and media planners (many times, especially when their fee is as a commission) may want to increase spends.
There are multiple options of reaching your prospective customers, usually referred to as multi-media planning comprising television, digital, print, radio and outdoors. With time, the context and hence relevance of different media changes. Also remember that different mediums differ by the number of ‘five human senses’ they impact in your prospective consumers. Audio-visual mediums impact both sight & sound, a retail activation may impact all five senses while print, radio and hoardings impact only one sense. As times are change, so does the context or relative importance of each medium.
Hence splitting available money between different medium is a decision that changes with time. This is also the least understood question, even at large MNCs and big brands because most industry research are syndicated, offering optimization within one platform say TV or print but multimedia studies are a rarity. This is a decision which, if done intelligently, significantly increases your return (ROI) on marketing monies spent. Hence, choosing an intelligence partner to support your decision on splitting money between media platforms is a competitive advantage.
Business environments are everchanging. In the past few decades, changes have been due to technology upgrades and in recent months, a transformational pandemic. What has not changed is the business need for building competitive advantage and gain market shares. For doing this, marketers are increasingly getting lesser time and fewer money. Only smart alliances with intelligent partners will empower you to make smart media choices for winning consumers over from your competition.