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ISM Article

More on Television

20 Sep, 2002 By: Wes Phillips imageSource

More on Television

our firm has infrequently placed emphasis on television in the media mix of our
office technology dealer clients. This course of action is the result of several
factors, including cost (both the cost of the commercial time and the cost of
actual production) and the greater efficiency of certain other media in reaching
specific target demographic groups.

as office technology dealer circumstances continue to change and evolve,
television (in particular cable television) may become more appropriate and more
viable in selected situations.


One of the changes taking place is the expansion of target demographics. For
example, “For the stand-alone digital copiers, the decision-making process is
being more heavily influenced by end-users and mid-level managers. These
individuals are very often not in the traditional ‘male 35-54 years of age’
target demographic.” Also, many office technology dealers, who started their
companies as copier specialists, are now adding systems integration
capabilities. In doing so, they are discovering that there is a whole new target
demographic that needs to be considered - Information Technology personnel, who
are generally “male and 30-45 years of age.” Furthermore, office technology
dealers expand their product lines and service capabilities, discovering that
existing and potential new customers simply do not think of them for products
outside their perceived specialty.

rates are based on the number of people each spot reaches. The cost per spot is
usually high, because each spot that falls in the appropriate programming
typically reaches a broad cross-section of the audience (i.e. large numbers of
people). At the moment, as the size and demographic definition of the target
prospects expands, an efficient cost-per-thousand on television may be

is also an interesting and relevant change, which has occurred within the
television medium. That change is the establishment of cable programming and the
advent of FOX, UPN and the WB. The net result is more specialized programming,
which appeals to narrower audience segments. Narrower audience segments result
in fewer total persons viewing and therefore lower rates. This phenomenon is not
unlike the transition, which occurred in radio during the emergence of


In addition to the expansion of the target prospect demographic groups, another
changing circumstance among many office technology dealers are the issues of
market share growth and industry maturity. The office technology industry
continues to experience growth, which is creating opportunities for strong local
and regional dealers to achieve significantly higher levels of market
penetration, including accounts previously dominated by IKON, DANKA and other
manufacturers. To achieve that position of dominance in the marketplace, the
dealer must place more attention, energy, and budget on awareness and image. The
use of television could be an appropriate part of that effort. As Marshall
McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” Often the mere fact of being on
television can make a positive statement about the size and stature of a
“local” company.

the last few years, several of our clients have allocated the resources to add
cable television to the media mix. In addition, each of these clients had the
correct market and business circumstances. In our post-analysis of the first few
months of cable television, the pervasive theme is summarized by the following
comment, “We had no idea your company was so large.”

almost every situation, the office technology dealer felt the following key
objectives were achieved:

  • New

  • Heightened

  • Improved
    selling efficiency

  • Penetration
    of difficult accounts

the use of television can be seriously considered, the issues of cost, media
efficiency and creative execution must be addressed in specific detail.


In the previous articles we examined media frequency and consistency, the
cornerstones of effective advertising. The essence of that analysis is that it
is better to reach 40 % of your target audience 10 times, than it is to reach
100 % of your target audience 4 times. This is statement is true because of the
nature of the office technology business. Therefore, it is important to reach
the target prospects consistently over an extended period of time. The bottom
line is, whether television is part of a media mix or the exclusive medium used,
sufficient budget must be allocated to achieve frequency and consistency.

to the nature of television programming, it is possible to achieve frequency and
consistency by limiting the schedule to certain appropriate and specific
programs. It is also important to document the size, demographics, and
qualitative appropriateness of each program’s audience.

the words of a New York marketing consultant, “This is a good time to attempt
a better balance between the twin forces of effectiveness and efficiency. With
all the pressure on saving money and improving costs-per-thousand, the focus on
driving a hard bargain, and not looking too closely at what’s bought, seems to
have gotten out of hand. Otherwise, sophisticated and sensitive advertisers and
agencies seemed to have lightened up too much in some basic challenges:

  • Can
    these low-cost spots and spaces stand on their own?

  • Am
    I just getting a cheap price?

  • or

  • Am
    I getting some reasonable value for what I paid?

point seems elementary, but in the single-minded pursuit of buying ‘cheap,’
the point of how good the advertising exposure really is, may get lost in the


Production costs are another serious consideration. For office technology
dealers, production costs are the biggest single problem with television
advertising. In fact, to produce a viable 30-second spot with great production
value and a compelling marketing message, can cost $ 25,000 to $ 100,000.
However, local stations can provide low cost and effective production
facilities, but it is important to have professional guidance in developing the
creative message, the copy, and supervising the execution. Whichever approach
you choose, beware that on the one hand, no amount of production dollars can
replace solid focused ad-marketing creativity. On the other hand, a low budget
TV spot can be counterproductive, because it conveys a small-time image and lack
of professionalism about your company. As a rule of thumb, add a dollar amount
for production equivalent to 10 to 20 percent of the media time expenditure.

of simply using manufacturer commercials with a local dealer tag. A manufacturer
commercial does nothing to build or enhance the awareness and image of your
dealership and the significance of your dealership in the buying process.
However, some enlightened manufacturers (notably Sharp and Kyocera Mita), have
made available to their dealer networks TV commercials, which can be customized
to your dealership’s unique circumstances. If these types of TV commercials
are available to you, then you are in a position to keep production costs low,
have a viable marketing message, and the budget available to run a media
schedule with the potential to generate results. Television (including cable
television) is costly when used properly, with appropriate frequency and
consistency, and with effective professionally produced commercials.

though there are new marketing challenges facing growing dealers, combined with
new opportunities as the result of the changes that have occurred in the
television industry, TV may be an effective and cost-efficient part of your
media plan.

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