Forget First Impressions, Pick the Right Impression

What is the most cost-effective way to reach your consumer in today’s digital world? In the ever-shifting landscape of print and digital marketing, it’s important to know where you get the most bang for your buck. At the same time, price isn’t everything; impressions can be actual or potential, and some have more weight with consumers than others. So, it’s important to consider both price and impression type when designing a marketing program. Below, we compare the cost of impressions between four major marketing strategies used for one of our clients, a large U.S. winery.

Key Definitions
Actual Impressions: The number of people who see the content can be quantitatively measured
Potential Impressions: The number of people who see the content is an educated guess
Impression Weight: The quality and “stickiness” (i.e. likelihood of an impression “sticking” with a consumer) of an impression
Targetability: Ability to reach a precise and definable target audience
CPM: cost per mille (1,000) impressions

Facebook: $8 CPM (the average cost of a Facebook Page Promotion ad being served to a Facebook user. Data pulled from Facebook Billing Reports, Jan 2014- 2015.)
Impression Type: Actual
Impression Weight: Medium
Targetability: High
Key Advantage: Cost-effective way to reach a highly targeted audience

Public Relations: $10 CPM (web and print impressions calculated against agency PR fee using Benson PR project averages)
Impression Type: Potential
Impression Weight: Medium to high (depending on type of story placement)
Targetability: Medium
Key Advantage: PR impressions generate brand credibility

Email: $12 CPM (cost of sending an email to a consumer using Vertical Response’s 2015 pricing structure)
Impression Type: Actual
Impression Weight: Medium to high (increases significantly with a high open rate. 10% is an average open rate for consumer emails)
Targetability: High
Key Advantage: Provides opportunity to share more information and leads to further engagement

Advertising: $15 CPM (average cost of a targeted print and web ad campaign using Benson media buy averages)
Impression Type: Potential
Impression Weight: Low to medium (varies depending on type of ad. E.g. full page print ad in wine magazine vs. small digital ad on news site)

Targetability: Medium
Key Advantage: Creates general brand awareness with broad reach

While Facebook and PR are more cost-effective than email and advertising, the impressions for each strategy carry different weight and can be targeted to different degrees. An email is a “stickier” impression than a mention in a magazine article because it can target a consumer more effectively and can provide more information at one time by using text, images and links. In today’s marketing world, each communication strategy is valuable in a well-rounded marketing campaign.

Facebook ads are one of the most cost-effective ways to reach consumers.
Image Caption: Facebook ads are one of the most cost-effective ways to reach consumers.

How to Plan a Successful Press Trip

Press trips are a fantastic way to introduce journalists to your brand. There is no substitute for an in person, hands-on experience to communicate your story (although press events in other cities are important too, you can see “5 Tips for Planning Great Press Events” here. Recently, the Benson Marketing Group team organized a trip to the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) appellation in Monterey County for writers on behalf of our client, Hahn Family Wines. Here are a few takeaways from that experience that will help make any press trip a success:

Tell a Broader Story: Even though Hahn Family Wines sponsored this press trip, it was important to share the spotlight with other SLH producers. Exposure beyond Hahn Family Wines provided writers depth to the SLH story and created a richer, more fulfilling experience. Though counterintuitive, when clients share the spotlight it works in their favor, not against them. In fact, the first press result from the trip featured Hahn Family Wines prominently within a story about SLH.

Offer Authentic Spokespeople: It’s important that spokespeople are genuine so writers can focus on absorbing information instead of determining if a source is trustworthy. Spokespeople should be able to genuinely convey passion for the subject matter and a love for what they do each day.

Provide Access to Unavailable Experiences: While it’s important to demonstrate what experiences are available to the general public, writers also enjoy “off-the-grid” experiences that they could not have otherwise. For instance, one of the producers we visited has a tasting room outside SLH. Instead of visiting the tasting room, we met in the middle of the producer’s SLH vineyard for a conversation and tasting. On a press trip to the Languedoc region in France, we arranged a tour for writers in cars made by French manufacturer Renault. Also, something as simple as a private dinner with the winemaker and his/her family makes lasting memories.

Free Time Works in Your Favor: Leave approximately 90 minutes of free time prior to the evening’s activities so writers can relax or catch up on other work. Most will need to work on other writing assignments while they’re on the trip. Writers can also use this time to explore the area on their own and reflect on the experiences of the day. One writer, in particular, on the SLH trip used his free time to walk along the Monterey Bay and consider the source of the cool wind—a defining features of the Santa Lucia Highlands terroir—traveling from the Bay through the Salinas Valley.

Small Details Make Big Differences: The small details set a good press trip apart from a great press trip. Have a welcome bag with a hand-written note accompanied by an assortment of snacks and bottled water for them to pick up at check-in. Will you be outdoors all day? Bring sunscreen to share. And carry a phone charger with various cords to offer your writers a power boost in between destinations.

5 Tips for Planning Great Press Events

Whether you’re scheduling a lunch, dinner or one-on-one meeting, a well thought out event is a terrific tactic for meeting and keeping up to date with press. Creating a successful event starts with a few simple principles:

  1. You Must Educate. Today’s writer is likely working for themselves as a freelancer, so their time is money and they are selective about how they choose to spend it. Go beyond your own brand story and think about what you can teach them to make your event worth their while. You’re an expert in so many areas: pick one and expand the topic into event.
  2. Share Real Insights. How often have you read a winery’s vintage report that sounds like it was the most perfect vintage ever in the history of winemaking? This kind of Pollyanna storytelling does not play with journalists. Tell them something REAL. What are your real challenges and how are you meeting them? What keeps you up at night? Nothing frustrates a journalist more than a trained pony.
  3. Think Location. Most press events hosted on the road are going to take place in a restaurant or hotel event space. Think of the restaurant as a partner in your event. Work with the chef, sommelier and marketing/PR departments to create a compelling event that highlights them as well as your brand. Secondly, consider what the location says about you. Select a location that fits your philosophy, makes people think differently about you, or makes a statement.
  4. Keep the Real Goal in Mind. A lunch or dinner with 10-15 writers is an investment and can be a good one at that. However, something smaller can work just as well. It’s not the number of people at the table, but the quality of the conversations you start. The goal is not ‘butts in seats’ but rather ink on pages.
  5. Consider Timing. Keep your day of the week, time of year, and length of event in mind when crafting your event itinerary. Press are pressed for time. Keep lunches to no more than 2 hours. Keep dinners to 3 hours. Avoid Fridays and weekends. Finally, consider the time of year when planning an event. Hosting an event the same week as a larger conference or other industry gathering may seem like a good idea capitalizing on your time in the market, but competition with other brands will be stiff. Similarly, look at the calendar for religious holidays and pop culture events that may conflict with your event.

Happy educating!