Optimizers In recent years the U.S. market has been introduced to computer programs designed to maximize the reach of the media buy or minimize the cost. These programs, known as optimizers, were developed in the United Kingdom and brought to the United States and linked to Nielsen data. Originally cost-prohibitive, programs

Figure 10-30







Mass coverage High reach

Impact of sight, sound, and motion High prestige Low cost per exposure Attention getting Favorable image



Local coverage Low cost High frequency Flexible

Low production costs Well-segmented audiences

Segmentation potential Quality reproduction High information content Longevity Multiple readers


High coverage Low cost

Short lead time for placing ads Ads can be placed in interest sections Timely (current ads) Reader controls exposure Can be used for coupons


Direct mail

Location specific High repetition Easily noticed

High selectivity Reader controls exposure High information content Opportunities for repeat exposures

User selects product information User attention and involvement Interactive relationship Direct selling potential Flexible message platform

Low selectivity Short message life High absolute cost High production costs Clutter

Audio only Clutter

Low attention getting Fleeting message

Long lead time for ad placement Visual only Lack of flexibility

Short life Clutter

Low attention-getting capabilities Poor reproduction quality Selective reader exposure

Short exposure time requires short ad Poor image Local restrictions

High cost/contact Poor image (junk mail) Clutter

Limited creative capabilities Websnarl (crowded access) Technology limitations Few valid measurement techniques Limited reach

Internet and interactive media such as SuperMidas, Xpert, and Spot-On have now become affordable to most agencies and buyers.

Optimizers use cost, reach, and target points to provide the media buyer with either the highest reach or the lowest cost available on the basis of Nielsen respondent data, not a formula. As shown in Figure 10-29, the buyer specifies whether he or she wants to achieve highest reach or lowest cost. One is specified, the second is optimized, and the result (target points) is a function of the two. As an example, the buyer may dictate a specified budget, and the program will yield the optimal reach. Alternatively, one may start with a defined reach goal, and the budget will be optimized.

Optimizers have met with both great acceptance and criticism in the television industry. Supporters believe that these programs will provide the long-sought solution to optimizing reach and cost trade-offs. They cite the success of optimizers in Britain to support their position. Others are not so sure. Erwin Ephron of Ephron, Papazian & Ephron advertising in New York notes that the programs may be more suited to the controlled markets of the United Kingdom than those of the United States. He cautions that optimization should not be considered a substitute for media planning and that the programs base all decisions on CPMs rather than taking into consideration the value of viewers reached. Given the short time optimizers have been used in the United States, it is difficult to determine their value at this point.14

To this point, we have discussed the elements involved in the Characteristics of Media development of media strategy. One of the most basic elements in this process is the matching of media to markets. In the following chapters, you will see that each medium has its own characteristics that make it better or worse for attaining specific objectives. First, Figure 10-30 provides an overall comparison of media and some of the characteristics by which they are evaluated. This is a very general comparison, and the various media options must be analyzed for each situation. Nevertheless, it is a good starting point and serves as a lead-in to subsequent chapters.

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