Advertising Week panel: how to make local ads better

With media companies battling for consumers' attention and money, local advertising often takes a backseat to national promotions. On Thursday at Advertising Week, media and marketing professionals talked about how they are finding ways to connect on a local level with consumers.

With media companies battling for consumers' attention and money, local advertising often takes a backseat to national promotions. On Thursday at Advertising Week, media and marketing professionals talked about how they are finding ways to connect on a local level with consumers.

Andrew Capone, SVP of marketing and business development at NCC Media, moderated the panel. Guests included Lisa Bradner, SVP of local strategy at MediaVest; Fred Bucher, group VP of marketing at Time Warner Cable; and Pat Walsh, EVP and CFO at Emmis Communications. Also on stage were Tom Hagopian, VP of advanced advertising at DirecTV; Steve Lanzano, president and CEO of TVB; and Jason Malamud, GM of Verizon FiOS Advertising.

Malamud said Verizon's FiOS service is “the pipe where [consumers] get their content.” He added that it has a billing relationship with its customers, which allows it to precisely target ads online or on TV in local media.

Emmis Communications, which owns radio stations in the US and Slovakia, leverages local radio personalities as part its engagement strategy, said Walsh. The personalities grow their fan bases by increasing their own mobile and Web presences, and listeners are passionate about them, he explained.

Bradner, who works on local advertising for Walmart at Mediavest, said the local marketing strategy for the retail giant is to take a national message and scale it down to local markets.

However, when it comes to budgets for national versus local marketing, she said, “We arm-wrestle a lot both internally and with the client.”

“Data is king,” she added, but engagement is a difficult metric to quantify. That's why she's working to find out if consumers are reading reviews or looking up products after viewing or hearing an ad.

Time Warner Cable's Bucher said he does not think local cable is getting enough credit for research when it comes to viewership at certain hours of the night. With the ability to put content in front of consumers whenever and wherever they want it, marketers should focus on the right time and place to post their messages, which is why clear data insights are imperative.

TVB, a nonprofit trade association of America's commercial broadcast TV industry, has done well locally in auto, telecommunications, and financial. It has also seen success in healthcare since the Affordable Care Act is state-regulated, explained Lanzano. He said the hope for the industry is that soon organizations will be able to target consumers with ads based on information such as whether they have owned an SUV for five or more years or may be looking for a new car.

DirecTV's engagement with local consumers is unique in that it has “household addressable content” based on all of its data, said Hagopian. The company knows its subscribers, he added, and can target them with ads they are interested in.

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