Putting your eggs in more than one basket

Kitchen specialist, Dream Doors, is reaping the rewards of AJ’s media plan broadening their advertising spend.

Last year we featured our new client, Dream Doors, in Frequency or coverage: which is best, debating the merits of broadening rather than narrowing media spend.

Dream Doors had been disappointed their results were not hitting targets after booking into the Daily Mail exclusively. Our plan expanded their reach to see them test 12 titles. We’ve tested six sizes in different sections and positions, from advertorials to outside back covers, with a range of creative.

Guardian Weekend
Telegraph magazine

We test ‘newspapers’ as a sector, not just one title. This approach enables us to reach a much broader audience and establish the key target groups through low risk testing and learning.  We have already improved attribution by incentivising codes and are beginning to build a picture to roll out further this year. Early results are encouraging with cost per lead, even prior to maturity, 25% lower than when using the Daily Mail alone. And web traffic has increased by 50%, hitting a new record for hits in one day at the end of January.

We are now applying the same principle to television. Previously, Dream Doors had restricted their spend to ITV3 alone. Our plan sees them air on 15 channels, selected for their ABC1 45+ profile. We’ll be reporting back as we see their results mature.

To discover how coverage can out-perform frequency in your media plan, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

 

The Moon on a Stick? We’ll give it a try

High street ladies’ fashion is a competitive market, with many players chasing the same market share. In the second half of last year, Mistral, a lifestyle women’s clothing brand, appointed us to help gain market share from their competitor White Stuff by taking a bold approach.

We started with a low-risk test budget (£7k) to raise awareness of their new range among existing customers as well as attracting new consumers. With stores limited largely to the south and west, the aim was to drive new customers online as well as in store.

Choosing a range of mediums helped us illustrate the benefits of each for their female target market of ABC1, 35+. We tested a full-page ad facing fashion editorial in Stella, an insert in Ocado deliveries and a series of direct mail postcards to a targeted database in geographical areas away from their store locations. Each included an offer – either a bigger discount on a specific outfit or a smaller discount on a range. The latter won hands down.

After three months, we’re seeing some impressive results. Six ads have run in national press. All exceeded target ROI, some by as much as 300%, with Q4 spend enjoying an average ROI of 5:1. New customer generation is huge, representing 65%, while gaining further sales from existing customers. Web traffic rose and is being converted through re-targeting, with footfall in store also increasing. 25% took the voucher in store. All in all, profit exceeded forecast by 200%. 

As a result, AJ is delighted budgets have been signed off for Q1, with Mistral also keen to test off-the-page for their sister brand, Muted Tones. Moon on a stick? We think so.

Like what you see and hear? Talk to us about creating the right campaign for you. Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

 

 

Beat the Boxing Day blues

Never mind the Quality Street and mince pies, we have found the perfect sweet spot for Boxing Day.

This year, we have booked television campaigns running from Boxing Day through to early January for more clients than ever before, building on the successes we achieved in 2016.

The immediate post-Christmas period is a perfect time to be on television. Unlike newspaper circulations, viewing figures increase. Many of us reach the point where we’ve played charades with the in-laws once too often and relaxing in front of the box is a welcome escape.

As well as high viewing figures, advertisers are reaching the working population during daytime at cheaper daytime pricing, with a rock bottom CPT, up to 50% lower than average. Viewers are in ‘shopping mode’, offering the chance to tap into the January sale mindset early.

Take advantage of post-Christmas advertising with a tailored television campaign. Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Countdown to Christmas

How late is too late for direct response advertising?

There’s a shopping conundrum appearing in the run up to Christmas these days. It feels like Christmas shopping starts earlier every year, with Black Friday cementing November firmly in the consumer spend calendar.  Yet it also appears the cut-off for shopping finishes later and later.

Do consumers have less time to shop, relying more on internet shopping, available 24/7? Is next day delivery the expected norm, encouraging us to buy later? And is November’s Black Friday actually for our own shopping, as we discovered in Black Friday sales – trick or treat?, leaving December for buying gifts?

Time to re-think our strategy. We used to advise clients to wind down their advertising at the end of November with responses falling significantly in December; now the reverse is true with results remaining buoyant in the approach to Christmas.  December has become a key month for clients, and often the most cost-effective for those selling off the page.

We can regularly secure particularly competitive rates throughout December, so taking full advantage of the festive bargains this year. By extending both our timings and budgets, knowing the response rates will reward us and our clients, we’re looking to finish the year on a high.

Let us help you celebrate a bumper year end too. Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

The Silver Pound – spurn at your peril

Most clients chase the younger market, but the real value for many is found in baby boomers.

A surprising number of AJ clients say their target audience is younger than their customer profile suggests.  They’re embarrassed about their ‘mature’, old or retired customers and look for help to target a younger audience.  AJ has lost accounts over the years in this desire to re-brand to attract the younger, ‘cooler’, urbanite market – seemingly cash rich, time poor.

Look at the figures though, and it just doesn’t add up. As we outlined in New pound coin bang on trend, the value and size of the ‘silver pound’ is increasing rapidly.  Retirees are the fastest-growing sector, estimated to comprise 40% of the population by 2025.  They spend over £43 billion a year, an increase of 53% over the last 10 years, compared to 21% in the non-retired age group.

With more disposable income than any other age group, they’re making the most of it, with spend focused on enjoying themselves.

The retirement market is not ‘old’ and, many would admit, not always mature. As well as adding years to life, today’s retirees are putting plenty of life into those years.  They are often mortgage free, house proud and holiday more than once a year.

If companies look to re-brand, this market responds to a fresh creative approach.  Move away from a ‘traditional’ ad, but don’t be ashamed of this older audience.  Quite the opposite, embrace all it represents. Connect with these consumers; they can transform your business.  They are less price sensitive, valuing customer service and reputation.  Recommendations are important and offer your cheapest and most lucrative sales. Focus on exceeding expectations, and your customer journey could result in better margins and ultimately profit.

Find out more about embracing the value of the silver pound. Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Black Friday sales – trick or treat?

Hot on the heels of the last commercial ‘event’, Halloween, we’re fast approaching Black Friday. But how easily are consumers persuaded to part with their money?

Shoppers used to eagerly await the January sales for the post-Christmas bargains. Then the sales moved forward to Boxing Day, seeing the keenest camping out over Christmas to make sure they were at the head of the queue.

Now we have adopted Black Friday from the US. Starting as a single day flash sale of electrical goods the day after Thanksgiving, it extended quickly across every retail sector. Joined by Cyber Monday in recent years, the last weekend of November has become a pre-Christmas shopping bonanza. Last year spending increased by 6% over this period.

As the sales move earlier and earlier, starting even nearer the beginning of November this year, how does this impact Christmas sales?  Do sales increase overall or simply move forward, leaving consumers shopped out by mid-December?

It would appear not, Boxing Day sales increased last year.

Clear trends are also appearing in pre-Christmas spending. Black Friday (or Black November?) has become a time people buy for themselves, leaving December to remain as the key time for buying gifts.

Can we therefore simply create ‘events’ and expect people to keep spending money?  It seems we can.

Chinese Singles’ Day began in 2009 as a bargain day for young singletons. Held on the 11th November, maximising the single number (11.11), it is now the biggest shopping day of the year for all Chinese shoppers.  Sales rocketed from $9 billion in 2014 to $18 billion just two years later.

So where is this going?  Grey Monday, Pink Wednesday, Divorced Day……….?!  Wherever it goes, consumers are keen to spend.

Find out how we can help you capitalise on that appetite.  Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Success for AJ and its clients

AJ clients featured time and again among the business winners celebrated this week at the inaugural Express Home and Living Awards.

At a sumptuous lunch for 350 in Covent Garden’s elegant De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, AJ found itself on the podium three times collecting awards for clients; more than any other agency attending the awards ceremony.

AJ’s Ann Gardiner and Jack Gillett

Alongside agency giants such as Mediacom and Mediavest, AJ punched well above its weight positioning its clients successfully in a range of categories. AJ’s well-crafted entries ensured its clients’ top-quality products and services were recognised up against well-known brand names such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

AJ’s co-owner and Client Services Director, Ann Gardiner, hosted the agency’s table at the Awards:

“I’m so proud of what AJ and our clients achieved here today. I am pretty sure our table won the most awards, which shows just how well we stack up against larger, London-based agencies.”

David Salisbury triumphed as Best Outdoor Building Supplier.  The judges recognised the company’s unrivalled technical innovation, describing its orangeries and outdoor rooms as ‘top quality, thermally efficient and designed to fit around customers’ lifestyles’.

New AJ client, Dream Doors picked up two awards, taking out the Best Money Saving Product and Best Kitchen Supplier awards.  This is great news for a company looking to improve results, having recently appointed AJ to revive its direct response campaign.  These awards underline its position as a leading supplier of stylish replacement doors, transforming kitchens at an affordable price.

AJ client finalists:

  • Best Money-Saving Product             Kinetico Water Systems
  • Best Money-Saving Product             Dream Doors
  • Best Outdoor Living Furniture          Out & Out Original
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier        David Salisbury
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier        Eden Verandas
  • Best Retirement Living Solution      Nationwide Mobility
  • Best Kitchen Supplier                        Dream Doors

 

Frequency or coverage: which is best?

Media owners often tell us their readers need to see an ad several times before it’ll gain traction, but we beg to differ.

Media owners claim frequency builds a successful campaign, with readers needing to see an ad at least three times to secure a decent response.  With a limited budget, this suggests you’re better putting all your eggs in the one basket of your best targeted title.  You build your brand with just one readership, believing in return you’ll be rewarded with response.

In reality, we find quite the opposite is true.  The first ad we run in almost any title gives the highest response rate, becoming the target chased by subsequent insertions.

As a result, with limited budget, we take a ‘far and wide’ approach rather than ‘tall and thin’.  We test as many titles as possible showing strong coverage for the identified target audience.

New client, Dream Doors, is the latest to try this change of approach.  Traditionally, they’ve put all their money into the Daily Mail, but with flagging results, they’re keen to try our broader approach.  Our first schedule includes 14 titles so we’re expecting some interesting comparisons.

Full page, Daily Telegraph Magazine
Half page, Sunday Express
Full page, Guardian Weekend

We’re confident we’ll see a lift in their results, and look forward to reporting back when we do.

To discuss replacing your restricted media schedule with one aiming far and wide, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Location, location, location

Location has come to dominate house-buying. Can it be lucrative for advertisers too?

There is a direct correlation between position and response rate, so AJ works hard to secure its clients prime sites.  Despite buying short term and in classified, we often achieve sites under or facing matter without paying extra.

But is it worth paying more for these positions through a campaign or just when trying to build a brand?  The answer probably lies somewhere between the two – the ideal being prime sites bought last minute below market rate.

Cover positions are seen, theoretically, by every reader.  Our results reflect this with ads placed on the outside back cover (OBC) gaining a response four times higher than a site under editorial within the classified weekend section.  As long as we’re not paying 400% more for this site, it’s a winner.

In contrast, ads in display, i.e. nearer the front of the paper, do not generate the necessary high-level response required to justify the increased price.  Time and time again we see prime, solus sites, such as front or back covers, working for direct response.

Not surprisingly, it’s been a hard sell to clients, but we’ve converted scepticism into enthusiasm with good results.  They are now snapping up these sites as fast as we can secure them.

We saw one of best results this year for knitwear specialists, the Cashmere Centre, with a 10 x 8 front page strip in the Telegraph exceeding ROI by 40%.

Daily Telegraph 10 x 8 Front page strip

Also in the Telegraph, quality meat producers, Donald Russell are keen advocates of 25 x 4 ads under food and drink editorial on a Saturday, with a circulation 15% higher than mid-week.  To expand their options, we tested a mid-week OBC.  It hit the target for new customers by the end of Tuesday and is still going.

Daily Telegraph 25 x 4 OBC
Daily Mail 15 x 2

Even a small 15 x 2 OBC in the Daily Mail, which costs more than a half page in classified, generated three times more leads for our new client, Dream Doors.

Encouraged by the success these positions are bringing AJ’s clients, you’ll be seeing us use plenty more of them.

To discuss how the right ‘location’ can bring success to your campaign, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Buy local – does it apply to advertising?

‘Buy local’ is a common catchphrase used by food producers these days.  But does is also apply to advertising?

The short answer is YES.

Kinetico is a leading UK designer and manufacturer of water softeners.  The ability to advertise regionally is an attractive option given their products are tailored to those in harder water areas.  Geographically-targeted advertising protects against the inevitable wastage seen with a more widespread approach.

To address their need for more specific advertising, AJ ran a campaign for Kinetico using the Telegraph’s postcode targeting tool.  Kinetico works through a series of dealers throughout the country.  This targeted tool enabled AJ to tailor each insert to detail the local dealer on each one.  These versions of the insert, all 18 of them, ran against the test copy, with a generic message, giving Kinetico’s contact details.

Local dealer insert
Generic Kinetico insert

The results clearly show it pays to think global, act local, with a 100% higher response rate to the localised version.  Building on this success, AJ is planning a second campaign, adding in the Royal Mail door-to-door service, using specified postcode areas.

Find out about our extensive experience of using inserts as an additional vehicle for lead generation through Look and feel: why inserts work and I is for inserts, and by contacting Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk