Brand Manager Again: What I'd Do With T/V Today Knowing What I Know Now

When I headed up media planning and buying at BBDO Media in the 1990s and early 2000s for clients like Visa, Bayer, DuPont, FedEx and Charles Schwab, most plans were rooted in traditional media vehicles.  In the mid ‘90s, the Internet was still an “emerging” medium, and it was hard to get a grip on whether a banner ad was even seen; audience measurement was rudimentary. In fact, the big shiny object for major advertisers then was “interactive television” backed by large telcos (Bell Atlantic, US West, Bell South) and some cable companies (Time Warner’s Orlando project). 

Now, of course, the Internet has exploded into the greatest inter-connective communication technology the world has ever seen: a disruptive delivery system for video content even as cable and satellite interactive technology has finally arrived, driven by the necessary bandwidth.

If I was ordained brand manager for almost any advertising product or service today, knowing how technology, content delivery and audience behavior have changed in the past five years, here’s how I would use the power of T/V (Television/Video).  I’ll use the basic marketing “funnel” as an organizing principle, always remembering to look at it from the prospect/customer perspective.



Brand Awareness

T/V would be part of a larger mix of vehicles to present a general message to a broad array of individuals, letting them know what my brand and category are, and briefly what it can do for them. At this level, I would seek out some intrusiveness in my T/V strategy, yet avoid full-on interruption, tapping into the basic consumer understanding that advertising subsidizes or pays for content.  Example: cable and online VOD employing video pre-rolls, click-to-play, and view-to-play.

Brand Consideration

Here I would use similar tools, but now begin to bring in programmatic buying (RTB/Media Exchanges) to try and reach T/V viewers who’ve shown a propensity to seek out information in my category, or otherwise identify themselves as members of a key target audience. Using the power of demand-side platforms (DSPs), I would deliver a video message that answers questions about my product, optimizing my buys in real time through addressable cookies, tags etc. I want to ensure I am in the consideration set for these interested consumers.  Using direct marketing principles, I will begin to incorporate proprietary and third party data to build a media platform, and make it as easy as possible for the viewer to make further inquiries about my product or service through links, QR codes, etc.  This leads me to …

Brand Engagement

Once a consumer has let me know he/she is interested and has opted into my database, I would employ every CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) tool in my toolkit to respond to his/her exploration of the buying decision.  My website, e-mail marketing and drill-down interactive T/V options (like dedicated channels on cable systems) or micro-sites within other category information websites) are some of the many tools. Also, features like Facebook Open Graph (thanks, Extole for this white paper) will employ social networks for peer-to-peer connections, helping consumers become more engaged with the offering.

Brand Conversion/Purchase

Increasingly along the funnel, I would make it easier for any consumer to get to the ultimate decision point: an order mechanism.  A link within a message or adjacencies such as display ads leading to order pages can be purchased on the same branded site page as my T/V ads.  Examples would be using button prompts (“press now") on cable VOD to telescope to dedicated advertiser channels.  I would pay higher eCPMs through programmatic or branded buying to reach ready-to-buy consumers on website, mobile or tablet site pages.

Brand Loyalty/Repeat Purchase

Here I would use CRM tools and e-mail to follow-up on the satisfaction of the consumer product experience, and address any issues or problems or make additional offers.  I would also employ retargeting principles on big data programmatic buying platforms within appropriate purchase cycles, to promote and incent repeat purchase.  Finally, social marketing tools including the use of video are great ways to invite brand loyalty and gain new prospects.


I most want to utilize the two groundbreaking opportunities offered by digital T/V today: viewability and interactivity.  The higher up the marketing funnel, the more guarantees I want that the ads I run are actually being viewed, so I favor VOD and online video over linear ads. The further down the marketing funnel, the more interactivity I want.

What a time it is to really tap the power of sight, sound, motion and T/V technology to bring a brand’s offerings to life, and bring that brand into the lives of prospects and customers.

2 comments about "Brand Manager Again: What I'd Do With T/V Today Knowing What I Know Now ".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, December 10, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.

    John this is a thoughtful, smart, pragmatic well written piece. It's refreshing in its candor and usefulness. Thank you. I would add (not diminishing) two elements to your arsenal: The original interactive, targeted medium, Radio. Radio is proven, local by law and real time. WebStars. Online video performers who post a video and earn a predictable, over 1M organic views with every post. They will place products in their videos and endorse them. (not wasteful pop-ups and pre-rolls.) Our clients have enjoyed 6.8 percent click-thru rates from those videos.

  2. John Osborn from TV-TheNextGeneration, December 11, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.

    Thanks Walter. I agree with you that there are many ways to build awareness and branding, including those you mention. I'd like to find a way for guaranteed listening in radio, and with digital delivery this may become more possible. You raise a good point about product placement, and targeting with properties like WebStars. Thanks for the response.

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