Ad Testing Isn't What it Used to Be
"I've learned that I need to promote more than anything," says Boteler. "I need to promote and find a way for media folks to see there's a better way to do their job out there. Many agencies won't consider newspaper for test marketing. Not many agencies believe and implement test marketing as much anymore. You'd think in these days when budgets are tighter and there's more accountability for spending, they'd want to do this," he says. "The ones that do use it, love it. It's simple, pricing is great and it saves time."
So agrees Mina Agnos, marketing manager at New York's Innovative Travel Marketing. "It's easy to use, easy to get rates and information I'm looking for. I work specifically with hotels and weekend business campaigns. I've used it for quite a few plans, but haven't placed them yet."
Of course, Newspaper Test can't take care of all the work in a media plan.
"It doesn't take long to get the plan together, it takes time to do all the coordination if there are different media in the same plan," says Agnos.
But what newspaper testing can do is stretch the ad dollar. "We use smaller ad sizes and this gives us the opportunity to use larger ads at a fraction of the cost," adds Agnos.
Don Andrews, Media Supervisor, Ziccardi & Partners, has placed four direct response test campaigns already and is working on a fifth for Lowe's Hotels, which has properties in many cities. "In this tight economy, Newspaper Test gets a lot more for the advertising money," says Andrews. "The CPM is so good vs. buying ala carte, we're saving over 65%."
With seven clients on board, what Boteler has found is that sometimes it takes time before a plan gets implemented. "Sometimes agencies will make recommendations but we don't see results (making the buy) for months. And some are very quick."
He's also overcome initial concerns at many papers. "All the papers like the concept, now that we're cutting checks, paying papers and delivering ads. They don't mind discounting so much when they realize it's new business and it's working. At first the papers didn't believe they'd get anything they couldn't get without the test service. So we're educating agencies and newspapers to counter the perception that newspapers are difficult for buying, are expensive and have inconsistent rate cards."
Newspaper Test also worked out an arrangement recently with Afro-American newspapers, as well, to add a minority component, and will eventually add Asian papers and others. To date, nearly 50 publications targeting African-American readers are on board. The Atlanta Voice (133,000), Texas' African-American News & Issues Group (350,000), Ohio's Communicator Group (132,000), Philadelphia New Observer (80,000) and the Michigan Citizen (57,000) are some of the larger minority publications participating in the test network.
The specially targeted publications, including minority papers, are placed at a slightly higher CPM rate ($3 addl. for each size). "Minority and special pubs have tendency to be a little higher priced so deals we've worked out with them are better values," says Boteler.