Value-added: something different for everyone

Value-added is one of the most over-used terms in the marketing lingo of the 1990s.Everyone wants it, everyone agrees that they do not have enough right now, and yet few can articulate what it means to them, let alone how to...

Value-added is one of the most over-used terms in the marketing lingo of the 1990s.

Everyone wants it, everyone agrees that they do not have enough right now, and yet few can articulate what it means to them, let alone how to get it.

The reason value-added is so hard to define is because it truly does mean something different to everyone.

It is the attempt to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent, to create synergy between elements of the marketing mix, to break through the competitive clutter, to create a memorable impact on the target group and to generate successful results for the campaign.

Television, once the fat cat, now has to work much harder to justify its place in an advertiser’s plans, as every dollar spent comes under closer scrutiny.

Broadcasters have responded to the changing needs of their customers and the increased competition from other methods of advertising and promotion by becoming much more adept at providing added value.

Under the heading TOPS (Total Optimization of Premiums and Specials), the CTV Television Network has developed and executed a wide range of sponsorships and promotions for a broad range of marketers.

We have helped launch new products (General Motors’ Saturn, ibm’s Amiga.)

We have launched new creative strategies and corporate positionings (Xerox’s ‘Towards 2000,’ the cibc’s ‘Success Test.’)

We have even broken every tv rule in the book from time to time (Canadian Airlines’ ‘live’ commercials.)

Every tops situation has been different, but along the way, we have learned a lot, often the hard way, about how to create, nurture and execute a successful tv promotion.

Using 20/20 hindsight, here are the key elements that were common to our really successful promotions.

- Senior decision-makers from the client, the agency and ctv were involved from the start and throughout the development and execution.

- ctv was clearly briefed on the corporate and brand objectives and all relevant elements of the marketing plan.

- The promotion fit with ctv’s objectives, as well as the advertiser’s, ensuring that everyone was pushing extra hard in the same direction.

- The partners invested enough money to ensure that the appropriate effect would be achieved.

- The tv promotion was fully integrated into all other marketing activities wherever possible.

- ctv resisted the impulse to keep it all and brought in other media partners as required to ensure the promotion worked.

Key advice for the advertiser? Get involved.

Key advice for the agency? Make tv sponsorship or promotion a forethought, not an afterthought.

The times are changing, and tv broadcasters are waking to the call for more value. We are learning how to be more open, more flexible, more responsive and more accountable.

Just because it has never been done before, do not assume it cannot be accomplished now.

By adding more value to your tv campaign, we add more value to our medium.

Kathie Shearer is general sales manager for ctv.