Get Value-Added Online Placements From Offline Buys

Both full-service and exclusive online firms constantly use the term “integration.” Typically what’s meant by “integration” is that online is fully integrated with off-. Full-service firms say their online teams are fully integrated with their offline teams, from creative to media buying. Online firms claim they play well in the same sandbox with their client’s offline agencies and that an advertising-like state of nirvana is easily achieved.

The reality is though some agencies manage to pull off fully integrated campaigns, most fall short. When agencies fall short on campaign integration, the impact of the creative and the efficiencies from doing multiplatform media buys (especially from the value-added front) can be seriously decreased. Today, I’ll focus on the efficiencies in media buying an agency can achieve by creating a “conversion crew.”

Online is the common thread that ties all media buys together. For pretty much any medium but outdoor, a property not only has its main offering but also a Web site. These days, most television networks and stations, radio stations, magazines, and newspapers have companion Web properties.

They drive traffic to these properties with their main offline property in varying degrees. For example, most television networks and their local stations have Web sites, and they dedicate a lot of house ads to drive traffic to their sites. News anchors tell you to visit their sites for more information on the story.

However, doing integrated multiplatform buys still isn’t fully embraced unless it’s initiated by the sales rep.

To change this, create a conversion crew for each integrated campaign that has a breakout meeting. Discuss specifically how to take advantage of all the online offerings the offline sales reps have to offer. At the center of this crew is an online buyer who can evaluate the online properties offline buyers may be able to access at a lower cost or for free.

Instead of talking about all the ways multiplatform buys can be orchestrated with media properties, let’s first focus on maximizing value-added placements from offline buys. This is the most immediate value that can be added to a media plan with on- and offline joining forces as a conversion crew. (We can cover multiplatform RFPs in another column.)

The key is to start by asking for value-added online placements with the offline buy. Don’t start off telling them you have online funds; have the offline buyers see what you can get online for free. You’ll be surprised how much value-added online placements you can get that simply grease the wheels of the offline buy. From an online metrics standpoint, we online media people love getting free value-added placements from the offline buys. The added impressions, clicks, and actions lower our top-line averages.

After you get the value-added placements, come in with some online media dollars and get even better placements and more value-added placements.

Here are five steps for your conversion crew to leverage offline buys to get online value-added media:

  1. Have your offline planners (print, radio, television, events, etc.) assemble a list of their companion Web properties.
  2. Have the designated conversion crew leader (an online media planner) review the sites and break them into at least three categories:
    • We want to be there and would pay.
    • We want to be there if we can be there for free as a value-added placement.
    • We don’t even want to be there for free.

  3. When the offline deal is pretty much worked out, ask the offline reps what they can get as value-added placements online.
  4. Have online planners examine and evaluate the value-added proposals. (You may choose to push the envelope and ask for a little more.)
  5. Incorporate the value-added placements into your online media plan, and contact the ones you want to buy more from in addition to what you get for free.

In a nutshell, make sure your offline buyers ask for online value adds. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results!

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