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Audience Fragmentation, Market Pressure: When to Change Strategies?

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y Adam Warren of The Sentinel Group® Temecula, CA.

It is crucial for attorneys to understand the ever-changing landscape of advertising and to keep a strong base of available TV time to generate lead/case acquisition flow.  Knowing how to identify the effects of special programming such as the Olympics, sweeps, season finales and ongoing pressure on available TV inventory is key to operating an effective and efficient advertising campaign.

There are also patterns in media such as when TV inventory will be more available than others that cycle by quarter and allows for some predictive analysis of what to expect enabling you a plan of action when media changes occur. Here we will address some of the market pressures on your ad inventory and how to work around it.

Media Pressure

As an advertising veteran since 2001 when I sold time on national TV all over the country as well as throughout my performance-driven media career, I’ve seen my share of political impact on media as one of many forms of market pressure and audience fragmentation that takes place.  As an advertiser, it is important that attorneys know what to do about it.  If you do not know, then it is equally important that your agency or buying representative does.

In general, there will always be some kind of pressure on TV inventory caused by under-delivery on rating points, major news events, and the time of the year. Yes, even weather or movement in the stock market has affected inventory and caused viewership fragmentation. All of this can devalue your TV spot or weaken its potential for delivery of leads.

You have to know when your current strategy stops working, and what you need to do to adjust. Do not just accept your losses and continue as is.  Make a move, let the media refresh, and expand your message to new viewers. That being said, if you know you have winning media buys that may be in a temporary slump, do not pull 100% of your schedule.

This is where objectivity and smart navigation comes into play. Leave an advertising position in places that work (this is especially relevant to performance-driven inventory) because advertising works in cycles and good TV times may come back. You want to be ready when it does, so keep some advertising intact while pioneering new ground to inspire growth and lead/case acquisition.

Knowing When To Move

The Cook Political Report estimates that 2016 political ad spending will top $4.4 billion in races for Congress in battleground states, governors, presidential, and so on. They further estimate that $3.3 billion will go to local broadcast and $800 million will go into local cable.  Total ad spends seems to be increasing and according to Nielsen Ad Intel Competitive Media Reporting, this election year will top 2012 by 146%.

As the available TV time gets squeezed in a way not normal to the ad cycle, where do all the displaced advertisers go? There are 34 battleground states in this presidential election from New Hampshire to Virginia. Be ready to pivot your strategies! There is a belief in marketing circles that light is ahead for campaigns that have had to fight tooth and nail to keep their ad positions intact.  

Many believe that the political spending in the primary election will see a greater spend and inventory pressure than the general election. Likely, much of the money will be spent as we get closer to the finish line and this is a signal of when to be ready to pivot again.  As inventory becomes available, be ready to diversify.  This is the time to capture market share and negotiate hard for your schedules or performance media placements.

Leveraging a Multimedia Strategy

Sophisticated media managers and the systems they use should understand when diversifying or riding out the storm  is a must.  Most campaigns today should have a complimenting strategy that moves seamlessly between TV (local, national, regional), radio, digital (utilizing various lead capture methods from landing pages to programmatic) and print as it makes sense. (Side note: print is a quality component of a marketing strategy, however, it is a long-haul tactic and takes patience to ramp up.)

Using cash buys and performance-driven media as hybrid and/or interchangeable strategies is another form of a pivot key to staying on track with your campaign goals.  The audience is always fragmented and diversified and a savvy marketer will make sure to find the audience wherever they may be.

We have found tried and true strategies can fall short when developing mass media and local media plans for many mass tort campaigns and other single-event cases this year.  Where we have overcome this challenge is having the ability to move quickly and precisely allowing us to pivot to alternative media strategies that are still efficient and cost effective.

If you are unable to transition from one media type to another based on the movement of the market, you will slow your ability to garner the traffic you are looking to attract and will lose precious time and fiscal opportunity working to create a variety of Plan B’s.

Find The Win

Viewer eyeballs are always on the move.  As an example, consider the potential increase in various daypart ratings for NBC and its affiliates running the Olympic coverage.  The increase in viewers for the Olympics by comparison to regular programming, which may show a lesser audience in regular no-event based schedules, is coming from somewhere. NBC has experienced enormous rating boosts from the Olympics. What does that mean for other networks and how as a marketer can you move with the audience spectrum be it on or offline to find continued benefit? It is key to recognize when it's not just a challenge, but an opportunity.  Identifying fragmentation and programming changes per major events can be your next epic media win if you already have your pivot move in place. Make sure your marketing firm maintains a diverse breadth of experience and media portfolio and change will be your friend.


About The Sentinel Group: The Sentinel Group® is the legal marketing division and premium brand of full-service advertising firm OpenJar Concepts®.  TSG has become one of the most widely recognized and successful brands in lead generation for case acquisition. We understand how to walk the line between what media needs in ROI and what law firms need in their packet economics. The OJC/TSG team has over 40 years of combined mass media, performance-driven lead generation experience, using mass media vehicles such as TV, RADIO, PRINT and DIGITAL. The TSG senior management team has successfully been involved in the advertising for nearly every Mass Tort campaign during the last decade plus, dating back to 2001.

The core of TSG merges the perfect balance between deep media and client relationships with in-house proprietary tracking capability, utilizing our system TrafTrack®, for unlimited reporting technologies. We offer one of the most robust license and back end free trademark protected content libraries industry wide (in many cases with complimenting web/landing page components) for our clients to utilize either with or without their own law firm brands to scale in ways previously not possible. TSG couples our media savvy and technology prowess with in-house production allowing us to move fast to market with unique quality content. We enable the possibility of driving leads cost effectively with an aggressive movement towards market share. TSG maintains Tier 1 relationships with the top most endorsed legal focused intake facilities and law firm funding partners all ready to engage and deploy with you. Together, our pieces of the case acquisition puzzle provide endless solutions to enabling a cost effective platform for driving quality calls and leads to our network of participating law firms. Simply, this is…. WHERE THE CASE BEGINS™.

For further information:

Contact Phone: 800.TSG.Tort (800.874.8678)

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