Satellite Media Tour Insights: Earned Trumps Paid

Satellite Media Tours come in all different shapes and sizes. Do you have a story to tell? Have you connected the dots drawing media interest?

Not all SMT’s need paid media. So why are so many big brands creating tours that possess majority pay to play interviews?

The 4T Filter refines the project to strengthen your next SMT, making earned media placement possible. To delve deeper into the topic, some problems and solutions every production team faces:

  • Topic. Does your topic make you stop and say “Wow”? Will it stand out in the crowded media world? If not, it may not acquire a large amount of earned media coverage. Producers need something relevant and exciting.
    • Solution: Get creative with the topic. I recommend supplementing with a market research survey, adding relevance to the subject. This easily turns your segment into a news story rather than an interview segment.
  • Promoting vs Informing. Nearly as bad as not having an interesting topic, is an overly commercial segment. An important thing to remember when seeking earned media coverage: don’t over-promote. A media alert that too much resembles a commercial is not appealing to a TV or radio producer.
    • Solution: Lead with informative content. The best promoting is done organically during the interview.
  • I-List Talent vs. A-list Talent. Are you using an internal spokesperson or influencer as talent? Talent is a key part of the 4T Filter for a reason. It’s obvious that internal spokespeople don’t book as well as celebrity talent.
    • Solution: The solution is apparent…secure an A-list talent! OK OKI realize that’s not always possible. Best way to overcome subpar talent having a topic that the media can’t pass up. I always ask myself, “Is it talent or topic?” Focus on the strengths in your pitch.

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  • Overexposed Talent. This one can bite if overlooked. Is your talent booked on other media tours? If a producer recently worked with your talent, they are less likely to book them again for another interview.
    • Solution: Know your talent’s media schedule and other commitments. Also, book a variety of talent, especially when implementing multiple tours during the year.
  • Poor Timing. Last but not least, when is your tour planned? Did you schedule the tour around a major news event (ie: Election Day) or a holiday? If your topic is not tied into that specific event, gaining earned media coverage is going to be increasingly tough.
    • Solution: Do your due diligence and plan properly. Refer to the calendar before locking a tour date. If the date cannot be changed, be prepared to manage expectations accordingly.

Did a light bulb just go off? It is possible to make your SMT an earned tour?  Contact us with any questions.

Trackers, Brand Tracking Surveys or Usage & Attitude Surveys are synonymous and intended to measure changes in consumer behavior related to brand, product or service over a period of time. They are also known as waves, as like a wave, they run repeatedly every X months or years, generally using the same questions and metrics. Brand Tracking Research differs from the normal consumer survey as it relies on metric measurement and changes in measurement from wave to wave. Tracking Survey.jpg Before you run a wave or tracker, it is important you have a clear segment and agreed brand positioning in mind; it must be clear why you intend to measure and how it will be measured. The research agency undertaking the fieldwork can help you establish HOW to do this, however it is your task as the client to determine WHY you are running a tracker. Frequency of the tracker is also important. You don’t want to run recurrently as saturation can result. Comparatively, you don’t want to measure too sporadically. Generally, you want to match them with launching, changing or testing new advertisements, products or services. You want to ensure you get data back in time for your company strategy meeting. Global brands will run trackers every month, big brands once a quarter, medium brands twice a year and smaller, yearly. The logic: unless your brand is omnipresent, it will be difficult to find a qualifying sample for monthly or quarterly studies. It is also unlikely that attitudes and usage would change quickly enough. An ubiquitous brand can experience changes in U&A fairly often with additional factors and exposure that can lead to such variations, so they monitor more often. It is advisable that smaller brands run trackers yearly or twice a year at most. With a smaller consumer pool to reach, constructing a decent size fresh sample proves difficult. As such, repeat sample may need to be used. In this case, respondents must be given adequate time before being re-invited to a tracker to ensure objective metric measurement, without previous wave bias. This is called an exclusion period. Now we ask ourselves: do we use fresh sample for each wave or use repeat sample? The answer is never straight forward. Tracker studies must be conducted with a sample that is brand aware, otherwise it would not be possible to measure changes of attitudes (i.e.: if X has never heard of XYZ brand, X won’t be able to measure/rank brand attributes). For well-known brands, it is easy to secure fresh samples, but for smaller ones, it’s often a challenge. This means samples must be re-used. Allowing enough time between trackers ensures answers are not affected by previous waves. Reasons for using fresh samples each tracker include avoiding bias, over-exposure, fatigue and subjectivity in relation to the answers. It also means there cannot be a true correlation in metric variations. A true correlation within a time interval should be measured against equal subjects, minimizing respondent dependent variations (i.e.: asking the same question each year for 10 years to the same person vs asking the same question each year to different people). Surveys.jpg The middle way uses a split sample of 50% fresh and 50% re-used and creates further correlations between U&A changes. However, this is not always an affordable luxury. To measure trackers the correct way, it’s important you are always using rating and ranking scales. For more in-depth insight, card-slot style questions are recommended. To avoid subjectivity and misread questions, the tracker would consist of rated questions with a clearly balanced scale. Rank questions are also used to define stratification and importance of a group. Card slots are hybrid questions where respondents assign a series of attributes to specific products and are more complex than MaxDiff and Conjoint studies. MaxDiff are used to obtain importance (or preference) scores for different items; also known as best-worst scale. Conjoint, similar to MaxDiff, select a group of attributes but don't need to be opposite each other and can be similar. Ultimately, trackers or wave studies, are cost effective quantitative research options to measure usage and attitudes. They provide insightful business analytics, allow consumer trend understanding, rectify mal-intended business solutions and generate lucrative material for marketing, R&D and advertising departments. Wondering if it's time for your brand to conduct a tracking survey?Eight Reasons to Stop Dismissing Radio Media Tours