Measuring Print Response 2.0

I picked up a recent issue of Fast Company to find out how advertisers are measuring response and found various forms of digital techniques that make their print interactive. The first ad I found was for Neat desktop scanners. Their fairly traditional print ad has a call to action to visit a customized sub-page on their website neatco.com/FC30Day. This is a different page then their regular corp. website – I assume they’re tracking hits from the print ad. They may have unique pages for ads in different pubs or ads in different media.

What I really liked on the landing page is a short video with sound that automatically plays animation of a paper monster. Then you can click to watch a video product demonstration. Directly below are product photos and prices with bold “BUY NOW” buttons.

The next print ad I found was for a new book on social media marketing called The Dragon Fly Effect. It features a picture of the book and large testimonials. What drew me to their ad was the use of a QR (quick response code). This graphic was in the bottom corner inviting you to watch a video. The ad itself wasn’t very creative but the use of a QR Code is still relatively new and it makes the printed page more interactive.

After scanning it with my smartphone I was immediately taken to a video featuring the author talking about the book and an opt in option requesting my email and name to obtain more information. The top of the page says “Thanks for scanning our ad in Fast Company. Here’s a video just for you.” They have created a unique QR tag and website for each ad to measure response. The video was hosted on Vimeo and featured easy share options including embedding links and the url.

The last ad I found was for Citgo. Gas companies are facing public image challenges and this must be Citgo’s attempt to reach out to their consumers in a friendly way. They emphasize the fact that all Citgo stations are locally owned and contribute to the local economy and how they support local causes and charities. The bottom of the ad invites us to visit a micorsite FuelingGood.com.

The microsite is very people focused and features a map of the U.S. I couldn’t detect ways to track website traffic from the specific ad, but they would get numbers on general hits coming from all communication. They also have a live feed from their Facebook page showing the current number of Likes (2387) with an invitation to sign up to see what your friends like. Clicking to go to the Facebook page would enable them to track how much Facebook traffic is coming from their microsite. The site also has links to their Twitter account and a YouTube channel where they could track the same traffic activity.

The interactive map shows charities/non-profits in your state and area that you can vote to support. Last year Citgo rewarded seven charities with a year’s supply of gasoline. The creative skeptic in me says, “That’s been done.” But the mature marketer and decent person in me says, “Keep it coming!” What do you think? Should more companies follow the Pepsi Refresh model of getting people to submit ideas and vote on causes to receive corporate support?

Creativity Beats Media In TV ROI

If you merely glanced over a recent article in Advertising Age you may have thought it was about media buying. The first sentence of the article tells us Demographics have almost no effect on whether TV ads produce sales, and consumers’ purchase history is the most reliable predictor of success. Okay I say, but how do I buy TV media based on purchase history?

The article goes on to tell us that ads produce a greater sales lift the closer they come to the purchase decision. Again, can I buy TV ad slots based on my target’s purchase decisions? We do learn however that we shouldn’t shy away prime time placement and higher prices because in general prime time’s sales return on media investment trumps other day parts. That is something we can use – keep buying prime time.

But you may have read this entire article except for the last sentence and missed the most important conclusion highlighted by TRA President Bill Harvey at the Advertising Research Foundation 360 Measurement Day Workshop in Chicago. His company has been pairing data from set-top TV boxes with retail loyalty-card purchase data since 2008.

There are limits to what media choices alone can accomplish. The ads themselves matter most. Mr. Harvey said, “Data suggests 65% of TV ROI is attributable to the creative and 35% to the media.” Now that is something I can control. The worst mistake of all is to spend all your time nitpicking media choices and neglecting to invest in choosing great creative.

Why this lopsided emphasis? Maybe because it was a media workshop and not a creative conference.