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How to build a TV marketing strategy for the modern viewer

Oct 24, 2017
How to build a TV marketing strategy for the modern viewer

Still a popular medium for viewers and marketers alike, TV has proved longstanding despite multiple changes to the industry. Although many had questioned whether the age of TV would come to an end with the rise of online streaming, this has not in fact been the case. Marketers continue to pour large sums of money into TV as a key medium in their marketing mix, but have also had to recognise that the industry must prove itself adaptable if it is to compete.

Here are three ways to build a marketing strategy that takes into account these changes and is adapted to the modern TV viewer.

1. Embrace “narrowcast”

A play on the word ‘broadcast’, itself used as an indicator of the wide reach of early mass media, a recent whitepaper by YouGov has suggested that ‘narrowcast’ is the future. 

Distributed by Marketing Week, the paper suggests that although broadcast figures ‘have been steadily declining for 20 years’ more important is that ‘the way in which we watch TV has become increasingly fragmented’ and that ‘people are watching similar content but now in different ways.’ 

Seeing this variation in viewing methods as an opportunity as opposed to a threat, YouGov argues marketers should adopt a policy of ‘dynamic segmentation’ in order to target specific groups depending on their platform of choice. The whitepaper suggests that 80% of people still watch programmes on a traditional TV set, 35% watch on a laptop and 29% on a tablet, but that these figures vary by demographic. 

These variations allow marketers to create accurate viewer profiles. For example, the most likely profile of a ‘free TV user’ is over 55, disengaged with social media, likely to notice posters or digital OOH but often feels bombarded by advertising. On the other hand, a viewer who mixes Freeview TV with ‘video on demand’ services like Netflix is more likely to be in the 18-34 age bracket, engaged with content streaming and online advertising but still receptive to OOH.  

These differentials ultimately impact on how, when, and with what frequency marketers should engage with their target audience. By better understanding when your target audience segment watches TV, which other brands they identify with and who they are influenced by, marketers can better focus their budgets and efforts on those who will be most receptive to their messaging.  

2. Get creative with content

Naturally the very reason for most viewers' engagement with TV is its content. Using the YouGov insights from above as a background, one way to deal with the increasing fragmentation of TV viewing is to craft original content over and above the regular TV offering.

The Drum suggests that although TV is becoming more fragmented, there are more creative opportunities for advertisers which are cheaper than traditional spot advertising campaigns. One example of this which marketers can learn from is Channel 4’s on-demand service All 4, which instead of simply acting as a catch-up platform ‘now includes exclusive content, which is advertised on C4 but solely available on All 4.’

Channel 4 has also recently increased its focus on ‘co-productions to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime and the looming threat of Facebook’ in a bid to explore new content avenues in a world increasingly dominated by streaming. 

3. Learn from others in the industry 

In the same spirit of collaboration, finding ways to future-proof your TV marketing strategy is something that can be done by working with others in the industry.

This is exactly the aim of an upcoming conference called ‘The Future TV Advertising Forum’. Due to be held in central London on 6th and 7th December by Mediatel Events, the conference aims to bring together delegates from across the industry to discuss the state of the TV industry and what strategies can be employed to encourage innovation. With a focus on ‘how to evolve television to be better traded, targeted, data-led and measured,’ the event will tackle some of the challenges highlighted above.  

Boasting speakers from key industry players such as Sky, Finecast and many more, according to Mediatel this year’s Forum ‘is the most ambitious yet, featuring over 100 speakers from major global media owners, advertising agencies, brands and ad-tech firms.’  

Although there may be challenges ahead for TV advertising, there are also opportunities. The best future TV marketing strategies will be those that are able to build on these opportunities and craft a new way to ride the wave of change.


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