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Media Vendor Performance and Measures of Accountability.

We highlight all the planning that goes into media selection in in our Ultimate Guide To Buying Media for Home Repair Pros. But once you plan all that out, how does your business ensure you get what you pay for? What measures are there to make sure your media is performing?

If working directly with TV stations or cable operators, an advertiser might have multiple orders, invoices, and reporting. There are a lot of moving parts from the standpoint of what has been placed and, ultimately, what is delivered.

Every vendor, every order, every month… it can add up quickly.  The next thing you know, you are inundated with invoices and reports, and the only thing you know for certain is that you have to pay the bills to keep your business active in the market.

There’s no question that different TV stations and cable operators each deliver some kind of value. And many do their best to provide the value they’ve promised. But is it the value YOU intended and agreed upon at the time of placement? Are your vendors delivering the right approach for your home service business?

ORDER UP: Is your media delivering?

To answer the question of whether your media is delivering what’s intended, let’s take a step back and think of the transaction in simple terms. Let’s look at this as if you were placing an order at a restaurant.

Imagine yourself at your favorite diner. You look at the menu and see it lists a burger and side of fries. You order it up and anticipate a good lunch. Then, when your order arrives at your table, there are no fries on the plate. Would you ask your server for the fries? Would you demand a discount if it turned out they   couldn’t provide them? Depending on the restaurant, you might even get the meal comped as an apology for your disappointment.

In most transactions, these kinds of solutions – replacement, discount, no charge – are all acceptable norms when you receive something different than what you’ve ordered.

ORDER UP: Media vendor performance.

Now, lets look at this in terms of media.

Whenever any media is placed, the deliverable is an estimate. Whether we are estimating how many impressions we will serve, or clicks we will deliver… it’s all an estimate.

Sometimes, challenges arrive in fulfillment. Vendors and their systems may make decisions on your business’s behalf when it comes to matching what was ordered with what the reality turns out to be. When it comes to a media schedule, they may set it and forget it. Or they might allow alternatives from the agreed upon deliverables without question.

Examples include:

  • TV commercials running in unordered programs because of inventory shortages.
  • Digital impressions serving on sites that are not brand safe.
  • Lack of separation or placement directly next to competitors when it shouldn’t be.

Unfortunately, with media, unlike the sandwich you order at the restaurant, it’s not as noticeable that the fries you ordered aren’t there.

Holding vendors accountable.

Ultimately, it’s on you or your media buyer to be sure your vendors are accountable for what you pay for.

And sometimes it takes more than a spreadsheet to be sure we’re reaching the right homeowners in the most efficient way.

Often, when RCG uses our systems to audit a potential client’s past media buys, we’ll find a fair amount of media placed in low-quality programming. This means it was delivering plenty of cheap “spots” but not a whole lot of audience. We end up asking ourselves, was it done on purpose? Was it a vendor delivery error? Was the potential client even aware that they weren’t reaching very many homeowners?

To keep your business from falling into this trap, RCG Contractor Marketing recommends the following:

  • Create a plan with your vendor in the agreement phase for how you will handle makegoods, or underdelivered inventory.
  • Agree on the KPI’s for how you will assess the campaign.
  • Audit every invoice and keep an eye out to make sure that you are getting what you paid for.
  • Ask questions and hold vendors accountable for providing reasonable answers.
  • Negotiate additional value.

You’re not alone.

The media we use for marketing is a vast and constantly changing tool that can help your business be more findable, more trusted, and ultimately become customers’ top choice for their homes’ needs.

When contractors advertise, it’s paramount that budgets deliver on their job of raising awareness and generating leads.

RCG Contractor Marketing works with vendors all over the country and we make sure they deliver for our clients. We approach each market exclusively to ensure your vendors are working for you. Having an advocate to make sure your marketing budgets are delivering the not only the main dish, but all the sides as ordered.

How much time do you have to make sure your vendors are performing?