Squeezing Out Success

Aperture: Squeezing Out SuccessWhen life hands us lemons, we make lemonade. While experts predict a grim year for all media categories, including the much-hyped digital arena, we see an abundance of aperture moments for smart marketers. Those moments will be realized through strong negotiations with desirable partners whose media properties offer value in both pricing and consumer connections.

The continued recession has caused both the u.s. and world economies to slow down dramatically. Almost every media marketplace is experiencing less demand, and we've read numerous stories about the decrease in ad spending, the slowdown in marketplace growth, the closing of magazines, and other negative effects of diminished income on the media business. The media seek new ways to improve the value of their offerings and to expand and extend their franchises beyond current platforms.

But this is a slowdown, not a hard stop. Clients are still spending and seeking greater value for their marketing investment. In our view, the glass is half full; a recession in the media marketplace is just the thing to improve advertising value. We've been so worried about the half that's gone due to the poor economy that we've forgotten to look at the opportunities hiding in plain sight.

Start squeezing those lemons.

While television faces real challenges, it still reigns as king when it comes to quickly reaching a mass audience. Although the broadcast marketplaces expect as much as an 8 percent decline in spending this year, tv viewing is at an all-time high, with further growth expected this year. This is a recipe for greater value in pricing, promotions and programming for marketers to connect with consumers.

For starters, the weakened automotive and financial services spending in the sports marketplace: This is a promising aperture moment offering great value and opportunity for marketers looking to reach men, young and old, as well as upscale and educated audiences.

As local radio loses ad dollars from, traditionally, their biggest local advertisers; auto dealers, financial institutions and retailers, other marketers can get more for their ad dollars. Media buyers now have the clout to get creative in seeking value-added opportunities that best fit the advertiser's needs, in the form of announcer mentions, trigger opportunities, sports sponsorships and bonus schedules.

Print media will likely continue to lose readers and advertisers, with newspapers particularly vulnerable. Looking on the bright side for active advertisers, newspapers expect a 10 percent decrease in national advertising, and average circulation continues to decline. The same can be said about magazines. While they continue to lose ad pages and see diminishing circulation, some titles still hold great value for smart marketers now.

The print media aperture moment resides in greater added value elements, such as better positioning in the book, bonus space added to buys, and editorial content that includes links to advertiser Web sites - all in addition to better pricing.

Even digital media can expect to feel the pinch of a slow economy, with slowing revenue growth. There will be more digital advertising opportunities caused by the continued growth in audience, and their ability to quickly create available inventory.

Traditional digital advertising, including behavioral targeting and search marketing, will remain strong because they are extremely targeted, accountable and trackable. There are wonderful apertures within the larger digital platforms that are struggling with the economy and, in turn, selling aggressively. Marketers can quickly see what an ad effort on the Internet will do for their business, giving them comfort to maintain or even expand their digital advertising efforts. And now is a perfect time to experiment with well-backed ventures, creating low-cost test-and-learn scenarios resulting in great value opportunities.

This year will challenge the media as they struggle with a poor global economy. Although most markets are experiencing a true slowdown, remember that nothing has stopped. When you find your aperture moments, identifying real value for smart marketers and leveraging those opportunities to client advantage, you will emerge with a media strategy that has greater value and a lower cost.

Then lift up your glasses and savor the lemonade.

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