Archive for the ‘Industry Insights’ Category

Big Fish….Little Pond…The Truth

December 6, 2011

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By: Barry Jacobs, Vice President, Short Form Direct Response, Mercury Media Santa Monica

In the last two months, two prospective clients have told me that they would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a large pond.  The “small pond” media company has used the same phrase with both the clients. As part of the “large pond” company, I take a huge exception to the comment.

First of all, at Mercury we grow clients.  Our goal is not simply to buy the media; we take the time and energy to optimize every facet of the clients marketing endeavors. Let me draw an example that really dispels the concept. If you buy a tropical fish and place it in a large tank, something wonderful occurs. The fish grows and flourishes as it has space to grow and the opportunity to live a long life. If you take the same fish and place it in a small bowl, the fish stays the same size and does not live as long.


Video Consumption in a Fragmented Marketplace

June 30, 2011

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By: Michael Goodman, Strategic Analyst, Mercury Media

TV, Internet, smartphones, DVRs, on-demand. Today’s consumers have more viewing options than at any other time in history. While different segments of the population might prefer different devices to view on, or exhibit different viewing habits, the overall trend is clear; consumers are watching more video on TV, the Internet and mobile devices than at any other time.

But despite all the alternative viewing options available, plain old television continues to dominate viewing by a wide margin. According to Nielsen’s Q1 2011 Cross-Platform Report, persons 2+ watched an average of 35 hours and 37 minutes of television a week followed by using the internet on a PC (5:43 per week) and watching time shifted TV (2:25 per week) (see Exhibit 1). Segmenting television into quintiles shows the even the lowest quintile of TV viewers still averages an hour of TV viewing per day, while the highest quintile watches nearly ten hours a day. While some variation is seen among different demographic and ethnic groups the overarching theme remains constant – television dominates viewing.


DRTV: The complete player

June 9, 2011

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By: Kristi Tropp, VP, Director of Client Services, Mercury Media Boston

As marketers, we all aspire to hit home runs. We want to be part of “that campaign” that delivers immediate sales, shatters revenue projections, and maybe even wins a few awards. In the DRTV business, we certainly want those campaigns, and we want them regularly. The reality, however, is that few agencies are fortunate to get even one of those on a direct to consumer basis. But we do- because we pride ourselves more on DRTV campaigns that achieve success based on smart planning, sound media buying, real time data and analytics, compelling creative, and, just as importantly, a very strict vetting process! In short, we’re in it for the long term, regardless of whether success is immediate or a bit more hard-earned.

“Hard-earned” and “long-term” are not the sexiest words in the DRTV lexicon, but it struck me in a recent round of client meetings that we need to change that perception. In this business, we’re very good at promising,  measuring and delivering immediacy. Campaign hits on day one, sales hit in week one, increase in week two, and a campaign is optimized for successful responses in week three…… and everyone’s happy. We should aspire to more.  Four concepts are still missing from overall DRTV planning and goals that should be top of mind for every DRTV launch:


May 18, 2011

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By: Olga Ackad, VP, Director of Client Services, Mercury Media Santa Monica

Agency of Record. In the world of advertising, agencies strive for this label. However, for Long Form Direct Response, this has become a rarity. More and more, marketers are working with multiple agencies. While the upfront implications of this may appear positive, ultimately, this can harm not only one marketer’s campaign, but the general state of the industry.

Why are marketers using multiple agencies? There are two core reasons: Long Form media is finite. Any given station will only open so much time for 28:30 programming and many don’t have long form inventory available at all. Marketers seem to believe that they need more than one agency to get a sufficient quantity of media time. The second factor often has to do with creating a competitive atmosphere among their media partners so as to facilitate a “hunger” within each agency.

As with all things, there are pros and cons to this thinking. Every agency has time that’s proprietary to them. But does that third, fourth, fifth, etc. agency have enough unique time that it outweighs the risk? In most cases, the answer is no. So what exactly is at risk?  (more…)

Reaching Consumers Reeling from the Great Recession

April 12, 2011

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By: Michael Goodman, Strategic Analyst, Mercury Media

Over the course of the past three years the American economy has been laboring to get out from under a recession the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression of 1929-33. As a result, Americans’ are lowering their expectations about retirement and their children’s future; are becoming thriftier; and are concerned over how long it will take for their finances to recover.

According to the University of Michigan’s Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID), median household wealth decreased by an estimated 19% from 2007 to 2009. As a result, consumer lifestyles are changing. According to the Pew Research Center, 62% of U.S. households have cut back on household spending during the recession and 71% of buying less expensive brands. Rather than short-term adaptations to economic circumstances these changes seem to be fundamental changes in consumer buying patterns. Forty-eight percent of U.S. households said they plan to save more and 31% say they are going to spend less once the economy recovers.

This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to marketers. (more…)

Better, Faster, Cheaper

March 31, 2011

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By: Jennifer Sullivan, VP, Group Account Director, Mercury Media Boston

Imagine this. Your business is thriving. Revenue is up, the pipeline is full, and customer satisfaction is the highest it has ever been. Your media plan is solid; you’re gathering great data and are maintaining one of the highest conversion percentages in the company’s history. One day you get an email. Your biggest retailer in your biggest market is instituting a new policy. No longer will that account stock product in your category to provide service and selection to the current and potential customer base. The account is whittling down to one product for your category and it will be based on the lowest price.

It’s not some kind of business Twilight Zone. Versions of it have happened over the years with many Big Box retailers, but recently a severe situation is playing out between Medicare and the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) businesses like power chairs, diabetes supplies, oxygen delivery, catheters, etc.,  which relies heavily on direct response TV. Here’s the very short version: A process called “Competitive Bidding” was implemented on January 1, 2011 by Medicare in nine DMAs (Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh & Riverside) in an effort for the government to control costs and cut down on fraud. The second round of bids is expected to take place within the next year or so, potentially expanding the program in upwards of 70 cities.


Mercury Media’s Cheryl Green Featured in CableFax

September 16, 2010

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Mercury Media SVP/Media Director Cheryl Green weighed in on cable leading the direct response advertising charge in the August 24th addition of CableFax Daily’s “Eye on Advertising.”  To read her complete Q&A and get insider tips and trends, click here.

Is 3D Gaming Ahead of its Time?

June 21, 2010

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By: Michael Goodman, Senior Director of Analytics, Mercury Media Boston

I was recently quoted in an article titled, “Sony Embarks on a New Crusade With 3-D Gaming” by Renay San Miguel in Technology News World.  The article discussed Sony’s plans for releasing PlayStation3 video games in 3-D, some of which will be available by this holiday shopping season.  The question being is 3-D gaming ahead of its time? (more…)

Is Your Company Ready for the Consumer Travel Comeback?

June 2, 2010

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By: Beth Vendice, President, Mercury Media Boston

We’ve seen lots of evidence lately that the travel industry is in recovery. But are destinations and hotel chains prepared for it?

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ updated US lodging forecast expects continued recovery of consumer travel demand, increasing past the point of increased bookings to the point of actual revenue increases. PwC says the ability to increase room rates will return in 2011, after two consecutive years of decline. “The initial months of 2010 suggest that a sustainable recovery of lodging demand has begun,” its recent report says. “As businesses and consumers gain further confidence in the strength of economic recovery, discretionary spending is expected to continue to increase, contributing to progressive increases in lodging demand through the remainder of 2010, though the pace of recovery is expected to moderate.”

Mercury Media CEO Shares DRTV’s Biggest Secrets on Web 2.0 TV

May 19, 2010

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Web 2 .0 TV caught up with Mercury Media’s CEO Ronald C. Pruett,  Jr. at the recent LeadsCon Expo in Las Vegas, NV to discuss the ins-and-outs of DRTV advertising, tips for driving online leads using DRTV, the importance of effective call center management and the difference between short and long form DRTV spots.  Pruett also shares DRTV’s best kept secret:  in-language advertising campaigns targeted toward Hispanic consumers.