Archive for August, 2009

Nielsen Releases 2009-2010 DMA Ranks

Hot off the presses, Nielsen has released the latest 2009-2010 DMA Ranks.  These rankings are based on the number of TV households in a market, and to an extent, help determine advertising rates for each market.     The Nielsen market ranks reflect the troubles the entire state of Florida has had in this economic recession.  Once the state that consistented reported annual growth, the state of Florida is reporting population declines for the first time in decades (See story on

According to the 2009-2010 Nielsen DMA Ranks, all of the Florida markets with the exception of Jacksonville have lost population year to year:






Although the percentage lost in each market is relatively small, the overall decline of Florida population is somewhat symbolic. How do you think this will affect advertising efforts in these DMAs in the year to come?

Click below to download the DMA Comparisons for all 210 Markets. 



August 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM 4 comments

Newspapers Growing Audience: Proven Success

Newspapers Growing Audience: Proven Success
By Dinah Eng/NAA

Dozens of newspapers reported a significant increase in total print / online readership and total audience on the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s March 2009 Audience-FAX, with most holding on to print readers while growing online readership.

The Audience-FAX data from 190 newspapers included past seven-day print readership, past 30-day online readership for the six-month period ending March, 30, 2009 compared with the same period a year earlier. The report also provides Web measurements such as unique users and page impressions.

Newspapers with combined audience growth cite multiple factors for the increase in print/online readership, including targeted print retention and outreach efforts, the addition of electronic editions, expanded features online, and cross-departmental teamwork.

“There’s a lot more audience growth going on than we’re capturing in our current measurements.” Gary Meo, senior vice president of print and digital media services for Scarborough Research in New York, says the new ABC Audience-FAX — a collaborative effort of NAA, Scarborough and ABC — is an important part of telling the story of a newspaper’s value to advertisers.

“We’ve been using circulation as a measurement since the beginning of the last century,” Meo says, “but now that newspapers have multiple products, it’s more important to look at audience reach. Some newspapers are gaining audience in print, online, and audience overall.

“What we’ve seen is that newspaper print audiences are generally declining, but over the years, their online audience has been growing. In recent history, though, that online growth is not as fast, and in some places is flat or declining.”

Meo says online readership is replacing some of the decline in print readership, but in most places, it’s not replacing the loss fast enough to mitigate the decline. In 2006, Scarborough did an analysis of online audience growth in newspapers and found that the most successful newspaper Web sites were more lively, engaging, and made the community a channel for distributing their content.

“Today, you have to have unique content online that’s not available elsewhere,” Meo says. “The Washington Post always shows up near the top in terms of market penetration with their Web site, along with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

“Part of the reason is because of offering unique content that’s not generally available — namely, coverage of politics and government, in the case of The Post, or business and finance in the case of The Journal. Gannett and others have developed Web sites geared toward high school sports, which have been successful because they’re unique to those communities.”

Another necessity for growing audience share online, Meo says, is relentless promotion. He cites marketing efforts by The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV in Phoenix, both owned by Gannett, that continually do cross-promotion.

While newspaper media have branched into multiple products and platforms, the industry’s willingness to invest in audience measurement has not kept pace, Meo adds.

“Most newspapers have multiple channels — like niche products, a commuter free daily, specific audiences online in different places that we’re not capturing in Audience-FAX,” Meo says. “We’ve just started to talk about mobile or e-readers. As we splinter into more targeted media, the audiences are harder to measure. Had we the industry support to measure all these things, we’d find there’s a lot more audience growth going on than we’re capturing in our current measurements.”

Note that according to Scarborough Research the combined net audience for The Tampa Tribune and is the largest in the Tampa Bay area.

Top 25 Audience Gainers

Below is a list of the top 25 newspapers with their total net print and online audience. The percents represents the March 2009 audience gain over the same period of 2008.

Newspaper: Audience: Percent gain over 2008:
Greenwich Time, Conn. 111,824 30.7%
The Birmingham News, Ala. 781,047 11.9%
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans 820,374 11.7%
Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 196,229 10.5%
Staten Island Advance 397,412 9.9%
The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa. 511,463 9.2%
Times Union, Albany, NY 506, 929 8.7%
Charlotte Observer 1,074,856 8.4%
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa. 741,953 7.3%
Star-Telegram, Forth Worth 1,236,205 7.1%
The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa. 496,700 6.5%
Houston Chronicle 2,507,835 6.1%
St. Petersburg Times 1,297,866 6.1%
Austin American-Statesman 861,105 6.0%
Naples Daily News 265,181 6.0%
News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. 583,755 5.9%
Tampa Tribune 1,346,182 5.8%
Daily News, New York 4,985,862 5.5%
Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky. 837,719 5.2%
Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif. 929,819 5.0%
Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ 2,308, 691 5.0%
Times Free Press, Chattanooga 367,276 4.4%
West Palm Beach Post 792,392 4.4%
News & Observer, Raleigh, NC 854,213 4.2%
Sacramento Bee 1,256,551 3.7%

August 28, 2009 at 3:20 PM Leave a comment

Why Didn’t My Advertising Get the Response I Wanted?

This came across my desk today, and I had to share.  I’m not sure who it came from, or I would source it.  Please let me know if you know who originally wrote this piece so I can give credit where it is due! I have added some of my thoughts and observations to the piece.

1. The ad is placed in the wrong media. Before placing your ad in any publication, examine the readership information in its media kit to determine whether it reaches your target audience with a reasonably small amount of waste. For example, if you want to reach a larger audience check the audience numbers carefully to find out who is getting the publication or watching the station.

In addition, you need to make sure the demographics of the audience of your media choices matches closely to the demographics of your station.  I’ve seen many a high-end furniture store or automotive manufacturer essentially waste their advertising dollars on stations whose average audience’s income is too low to actually ever purchase their product.  Many advertisers quickly jump on cheap rates without considering the quality of the advertising medium they are buying.  In advertising, as in life, you often get what you pay for.

2. The ad is run on the wrong day. Search corridor media are those people reach for when they’ve made a decision to buy. You’ve probably noticed how, on any given day, your favorite section of the daily newspaper becomes a search corridor for a particular type of product. All the local banks may run ads on Mondays in the Business section, for example, or all the ads for audio equipment may run on Fridays in the Weekend section.

If you place an ad for audio equipment on Thursday in Main News instead of on Friday in the Weekend section with the other stereo advertisers, you’ve removed your ad from the search corridor. Prospects looking for audio equipment simply will not be looking for your ad in Main News on Thursday.

3. There are barriers to sales. If it’s too hard for prospects to get information or make a purchase, then no ad, no matter how well-produced, can work for you. When people respond to your ad, do they get stuck in voice-mail jail? Can they speak with a real person who is knowledgeable about the offer in the ad? Do they get a busy signal? If so, many prospects will give up and buy from someone else.

Often, an otherwise excellent ad will fail solely because the advertiser didn’t provide a toll-free number or website. If you ask prospects to spend their own money to find out about your product or service, you’re placing a significant barrier to sales in their way.

4. The offer is too weak or just plain wrong. Before placing an offer in your ad, it’s important to determine how it stacks up next to competitors’ offers. To find out, clip their ads regularly. And consider this: It’s not always important to beat the competition on price. Instead, find a way to add value with additional services or products.

Once you’ve hit on what you believe is your best offer, you may have to test it to see if you’re offering something your prospects want to buy. When a good ad with what you think is a top-flight offer fails to pull, strengthen the offer. Once you find an offer that improves your ad-response rates, stick with it until it stops working for you.

5. You aren’t advertising frequently enough. Companies that advertise consistently, such as regional banks, build up “awareness” among their target audiences. So if your local bank offers in its weekly ad a new service, such as one-hour approval on auto loans, it will probably reap a significant response, even though it’s the first time that particular ad has appeared.

If you’re a new advertiser, however, you haven’t yet built up awareness among your target audience, so you’ll have to run your ad with some frequency before it begins to garner responses. The frequency required depends on what you’re marketing, the complexity of your message, and how well your target audience understands your type of product or service.


From your experience, are there other aspects you should be checking to figure out where good ads go wrong?

August 27, 2009 at 3:22 PM Leave a comment

How much should I be spending on advertising?

One of the big questions we often hear when talking to new advertisers is the question of how much you should be spending on advertising.   The answer is always, “That depends.”  It depends on your industry, your business size, your annual sales, your average price per sale, your location, your competition and your purpose for advertising. As mind boggling as it can be to juggle all those concepts in your head, an easy way to get a general idea does exist: Ad-to-Sales Ratios.  

Ad-to-Sales Ratios are defined as advertising expense divided by net sales (after discounts and allowances) as a percentage.  In service industries, net sales is revenue or gross income or other measure used by accountants as the “top line” of the income statement.

Ad-to-Sales Ratios vary greatly by industry.  For example, an educational service company has a fairly high ad-to-sales ratio of 12.2.  This could be due to the fairly limited market of potential customers, as the more niche and targeted your audience, the more difficult and expensive it costs to reach each potential customer.  But then again, more general reach stores such as jewelry stores and furniture stores have ad-to-sales ratio in the 6% range.  Broader potential audience, but then again, also a higher product cost.  A broad reaching, low product cost store such as a show store can get away with spending 2.6% of its net sales.

 By seeing how much other people in your industry spend as a percentage of their net sales, you can make sure your advertising plans are on the right track.

Click here to download: Ad Spending Ratios by Category 2009

August 20, 2009 at 2:51 PM Leave a comment

How to Use Market Research to Enhance Marketing Goals and Plans

I came across this blog from 2006, but found the information mentioned here to be even more relevant to businesses today in this weak economy.

Quote from MarketConnectionsBlog:

“Metrics are on the minds of executives everywhere, as many continue to look toward scorecards and other tools to measure their business initiatives. The performance gains delivered by leaders armed with true metrics are undeniable. Yet, surprisingly, many organizations’ commitment to marketing and customer relations metrics often ends up on the cutting room floor during annual budgeting.

Benchmark studies are an effective method to accurately identify best (and worst) practices within marketing and customer satisfaction – but it can be tough to get such studies off the ground. Furthermore, organizations need to conduct them regularly, since each one serves as the benchmark against which the next study is compared. The value of benchmark studies – understanding how to more effectively build awareness, consideration, preference and loyalty – is significant. And, the more studies you do, the easier it gets.”

One of the ways that we as an advertising company try to differentiate ourselves in the market is by offering our extensive research resources to any local advertiser who works with us.  FCG Research has resources that can help you develop and research these marketing metrics. 

Here are a few examples of how our advertisers have used our research services in the past week:

  • One furniture store needed to relook at their advertising mix, to see if they were going in the right direction. By looking at the demographics of that store versus their major competitors, we could identify demographic strengths and weaknesses. Based on the research, we helped them revise their targeted demos from Women 25-54 with household incomes of $75,000 to a broader Adults 35+ with household incomes of $50,000.  This broader demo was more in line with their customers.  In addition, we helped them revise their daypart mix by indexing ratings against income.  For example, we found that both our 6:00am news program and The Tonight Show both reach the same amount of Women 25-54, but the news program reaches nearly twice as many high income ($75,000+) women as The Tonight Show, and is thus a more valuable program for the furniture store.


  • A local cancer center wanted to test overall market awareness against its competitors. We designed a custom telephone survey that interviewed 500 respondents in the center’s core geographic area. We cross-tested their three main competitors.  We will re-run this survey in 6 months to see if there has been a change in overall awareness – a change that can be used as a marketing ROI.


  • For a major automotive brand, we examined market spending for their major competitors across all advertising mediums in the market. This helped the automotive brand ensure that they were appropriating their advertising budget to ensure they had a strong share of voice in the market.

These are just three examples of how marketing research can help develop benchmark metrics.  While this sort of research can be extremely expensive from an outside market research company, by doing business with Florida Communications Group, you have access to these types of research tools as an added benefit.  How can we help you solve your business and marketing challenges today?

August 19, 2009 at 11:10 AM Leave a comment

2010 Plan: Time to Expand Marketing’s Role?

2010 Plan: Time to Expand Marketing’s Role?

MediaPost | MediaDailyNews | August 11, 2009

Pat LaPointe, Aug 11, 2009

2010 holds the promise to be a banner year for marketers. Customers and prospects alike are reevaluating their definition of value and actively seeking new business relationships. What’s different? In a word, just about everything:

1. Competition: Across industries large and small, the competitive landscape is shifting, as once-powerful players fade, leaving survivors to spar with new and unfamiliar entrants.

2. Customer attitudes and behaviors: Economic pressures are redefining customers’ wants and needs, and many of yesterday’s “necessities” now carry a “luxury” association for many consumers. Increasing budget uncertainties and consumer confidence erosion are impacting historical selling/purchasing cycles in complex, non-intuitive ways.

3. Government: Markets are experiencing a resurgence of government interventions, including both new regulatory actions as well as economic stimulus programs.

4. Supply chains: Changes in competitive, customer and government dynamics in turn drive changes throughout the intricate networks of relationships linking marketers to channel partners, distributors, and end users.
What’s more, the pace of all this change seems to be accelerating, driven by the ever-expanding universe of sources offering business news, rumors, speculation, and commentary via traditional channels (television, magazines, newspapers) as well as emerging ones (blogs, social media).

The annual marketing planning ritual offers a great opportunity to redefine the role of marketing in the organization. And in 2010, that role may be more critical than ever, as companies of all types rely on marketers to:

1. Calculate compelling value propositions. Changing customer perceptions and budgets are creating new opportunities to provide value, and to establish and foster engagement.

2. Identify critical market insights. As the business landscape shifts in multiple directions, market research must define a new data collection agenda to answer new questions.

3. Plan effectively for many scenarios. Economic conditions may improve or may possibly stagnate further. New marketing channels (e.g., mobile, social media), for which no historical data exists, present new opportunities and threats. Scenario-based plans need to be developed and listening posts established to offer early indications of which direction things are headed in.
But to realize its potential, marketing needs to improve its skills and enhance its approach in several key areas:

• Identify the key questions for 2010. Think through which uncertainties require the most attention, and why. Work through the potential business impact of reducing the uncertainty. Understand the potential impact/cost tradeoffs, and prioritize accordingly.

• Test brand relevance. Awareness and favorability are necessary but insufficient for success. Learn which specific brand equities are driving profitable customer interactions (by segment) and put your money behind them.

• Challenge the analytics. Market mix models may have performed brilliantly in the past, but a fresh look is in order in 2010. Think about what sort of alternative approaches might be employed as a sanity check for historical data-based analytics.

• Develop more-disciplined decision frameworks. The 2010 planning process will uncover multiple, significant data gaps in the hunt for answers. Consider the many approaches for generating credible estimates/data proxies, such as simulation, experimental design, and calibrated expert opinion.

• Keep the process transparent. Ensure that all participants, especially senior management, understand the nature and basis of all planning assumptions. Clearly identifying the important uncertainties and the approaches used to develop assumptions is a powerful means of establishing the credibility of the plan.
By taking the right steps during this planning season to build and incorporate new customer and market dynamics into the planning process, you’ll maximize marketing’s contribution to your company’s current and future financial performance.

August 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM Leave a comment

8 Prime RTN Audience Survey

As Nielsen Media Research will not be measuring our newest television station, 8 Prime RTN (Click HERE for Website), for anytime in the foreseeable future, the FCG Research Department will be conducting various regular audience surveys to test Tampa Bay awareness and potential viewership of 8 Prime and get audience feedback on programming and website content.

  •  Our second audience survey was conducted July 25-26, 2009.  SurveyUSA contacted 900 respondents, asking them a series of questions provided by WFLA. Of the 900 respondents, only 87 indicated they had ever heard of 8 Prime (10% of total audience compared to 7% in March 2009). Of those 87 respondents, only 44 indicated they have ever watched 8 Prime (50% of total audience compared to 47% in March 2009). This gives us a market cume of 4.9% (44/900).  This is an increase over March’s cume of 3.1% (28/900).

                                                    July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Have heard of 8 Prime

Yes                                         10%             7%

No                                          90%           93%

 Have watched 8 Prime

Yes                                         50%           47%

No                                          50%           53%

 Estimated Market Cume         4.9%          3.1%

  •  Of the 900 respondents, only 87 indicated they are aware of the relationship between 8 Prime and WFLA.  Awareness of the relationship between 8 Prime and WFLA is very strong, with 86% of the audience aware that 8 Prime is the sister station of WFLA (vs. 72% in March 2009).  However, three-quarters of the audience says this relationship makes no difference to their viewing habits, while only 16% says it does (vs. 34% in March 2009).


                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Awareness of relationship

Yes                                         86%           72%

No                                          14%           27%


Makes a difference in viewing habits

More                                       16%           34%

Less                                          9%           17%

No difference                          75%           49%

  •  Of the 900 respondents in this survey, only 17 indicated they had watched our 7 p.m. newscast on 8 Prime – a 2.2% cume (14/900), an increase from March’s cume of 1.6% (14/900)   When asked what time is most convenient to watch the evening news, well over one-third (38% vs. 42% in March 2009) indicated 6 p.m. is the most convenient time, and 30% (vs. 29% in March 2009) preferred 5 p.m.  Only 14% indicated that 7 p.m. is most convenient, doubling the response of 7% from March’s survey.  Although market cume for 8 Prime and preference for early news at 7 p.m. has increased, our 7 p.m. newscast may not appear to have much staying power in this market.  However, with slightly increasing numbers, testing on this subject will continue in the future.

                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Watched 7 p.m. newscast on 8 Prime

Yes                                         20%           23%

No                                          80%           77%

Most convenient time to watch WFLA news

5 p.m.-6 p.m.                          30%           29%

6 p.m.-7 p.m.                          38%           43%

7 p.m.-8 p.m.                          14%             7%

Another time                            13%           17%

  • Most viewers (84% vs. 74% in March 2009) can correctly identify the type of programming offered by 8 Prime, indicating a success in that front.  Almost half of channel number awareness seems to be going to Over-the-air (48%), with Bright House cable receiving a large amount of the awareness as well (29%) . 

                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Programming type

Classic TV shows                    84%           74%

24 hour news                             4%             8%

Reality TV                                 1%             1%

Home & Garden                        1%             1% 

                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Channel you can find 8 Prime on

8.2 (Over-the-air)                    48%           35%

607 (Bright House)                  29%           32%

460 (Verizon FIOS)                  5%           10%

133 (Knology)                           1%             0% 

  • With a sample size of only 44 respondents, the sample size is too low to extrapolate to universe estimates. Since the demographic breakdowns cannot be verified, we can only use the following demographic breakdown as a guideline only. The 8 Prime viewers are men (79%). They tend to be older (35+), and actually over-index the market highest in the 35-49 age range (158 index to market average).  However, they under-index with minority viewers. Our viewers seem to be frequent viewers.  Over 60% (vs. 52% in March 2009) of the 8 Prime audience says they watch a few times a week or more! 

                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Watch 8 Prime several times a week

Every day                                21%           21%

Few times a week                    39%           31%

Once a week                             2%             7%

Few times a month                   17%           39%

Less often                                20%             − 

  • When asked about their likelihood to visit a potential website to view these classic TV shows online, 40% of respondents (vs. 31% in March 2009) said they would be somewhat or very likely to visit a website with online classic television shows (Standard of error +/- 10.7%). Current estimates say roughly 20% of the U.S. already regularly watches television shows online, so our 40% is well in front of U.S. estimates.  However, overwhelmingly, our audience would not be willing to pay for this content – 99% indicated they would not pay for such content (vs. 98% in March 2009). 

                                                   July          March

                                                  2009          2009

Likelihood to visit website

Very likely                               18%             9%

Somewhat likely                      22%           22%

Not very likely                         24%           37%

Not at all                                 36%           31% 

  • The survey included a section of voice captures where people could give their opinions on the new station in their own words. Responses were split evenly between positive, negative and neutral responses.  Of the positive comments, the most common endorsements centered around:  
  1. It’s fun to watch old classic TV shows
  2. It brings me back in time, back to my childhood
  3. Convenient to watch early news if missed earlier in the day
  4. Provides alternative programming on a network station 
  • Of the negative responses, the most common type of complaints were: 
  1. Want more variety in the programming offered
  2. Often inaccurate or incomplete programming guide
  3. Unsure of how to watch/what channel it is on. 

August 12, 2009 at 2:32 PM 1 comment

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