“If I had to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Television buying in any given year has its challenges; from pre-emptions, inflated rates, tight inventory and more. Unfortunately, a political year amplifies these roadblocks! Spending time planning and evaluating your television buying parameters will allow you to account for the issues you will face during the buying process.
When evaluating your television buying approach, keep in mind the following strategic points for a political climate:
- Analyze previous election years. Did you purchase television during previous election years? If so, review them to see how stations treated schedules in the face of political advertising.
- Know the market. Research election dates and use this knowledge when selecting on-air weeks.
- Estimate costs. Ensure costs are reflective of the potential political market conditions during the planning phase; this will aid in putting together realistic television buys.
- Explore potential clutter. Speak with the station’s management to find out their philosophy on taking non-candidate dollars, i.e. Political Action Committees as this is where most of the clutter comes from.
- Use dayparts wisely. Investigate times that are not as attractive to political candidates, yet perform well with your target audience (i.e. Daytime, Prime Access, Late Fringe).
- Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Discuss realistic rates with stations during the negotiation process and set your desired clearance level expectations.
- Expand your media mix. Whether that means trying something new, or purchasing a medium that wasn’t previously utilized in years past, keep your message heard and seen in your market as much as possible.
- Buy early! To lock in your desired spots, be sure to buy early. Just be aware; even if you buy early, it doesn’t mean you walk away. Keep a close eye on the buys throughout the duration of your buying cycle.
- Be prepared. There may be an influx of missed commercials during the weeks prior to and following an election. Flexibility in accepting make goods will ensure your spots get back in your on-air weeks quicker.
Political advertising impacts the local media landscape a great deal, and it’s important to have a clear plan on how best to prepare for the obstacles your media schedule will face.
If you need help chopping wood this year, give R&A’s media think tank a call!