New study: Net advantages

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Skeptical consumer package-goods marketers take note: Rivals are beginning to reallocate media dollars into digital media and marketing. Such shifts are resulting in substantial increases in brand awareness that can give marketers a competitive advantage, according to the results of a study released today by the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Kleenex SoftPack and Colgate-Palmolive Cos.' Colgate Total Toothpaste brands are the latest marketers to participate in cross-media optimization studies led by the IAB and Marketing Evolution, a research consultancy, and co-funded by the marketers and IAB member publishers. The studies found that online should be about 10% to 15% of the overall media mix in low-involvement categories such as package goods and that the best interactive marketing is an emotion-packed complement to offline media, defined here as TV and magazines. The research also found that rejiggering online and offline media levels offered a better return on investment, along with incremental reach and frequency for offline campaigns.

finding an edge

Shifting even 5% of the media budget can open a competitive edge, according to Rex Briggs, principal, Marketing Evolution. "If a traditional marketer does optimize its [media] mix and a competitor doesn't, they'll get between 5% and 15% better results without spending a dollar more," he said.

In launching its Kleenex SoftPack line extension, Kimberly-Clark wanted to know how online media within the mix could build brand awareness and drive trial. "We were actually impacting and reaching light TV viewers and non-TV viewers," said Brad Santeler, associate director-interactive services, Kimberly-Clark. TV ads only reach about 42% of Kleenex's target audience. The brand was spending 75% of its budget on TV, 23% on print and just 2% online. By boosting its online spending, Kimberly supplemented the light reach of TV and complemented magazine advertising. The combination of print and online advertising helped raise brand awareness among its target audience for SoftPack from 34.7% to 42.7%; brand image by from 35% to 41.8%; purchase intent from 24.2% to 34.0%; and bundled trial intent from 43.9% to 55.7%. "It was surprising how impactful the lift on some of the brand metrics were," Mr. Santeler said.

Colgate's findings revealed that online was the most cost-efficient means of reaching 18-to-49-year-olds for Colgate Total toothpaste. Colgate wanted to increase purchase preference among occasional and non-Total users, but it was only putting 7% of its budget toward online, while 78% went to TV and 15% was earmarked for magazines. The findings showed that TV ought to have been 75% of the mix, magazines 14% and online 11%. TV, while effective, doesn't hit about 40% of the target audience-light TV watchers or non-TV watchers. Upping online media allocation for the campaign helped Colgate gain incremental reach it wouldn't have otherwise had.

"What's significant for Colgate is they were able to generate purchase preference more cost efficiently with online [media] ... on a dollar-for-dollar basis, compared to the other media used," Mr. Briggs said. "If it costs you $1 per new person you make want to buy your products with online advertising, a $1.23 for TV, and $1.84 for magazines, it's something you have to look at."

"The big story is that finally marketers can judge media not on impressions or reach/frequency but on the specific effectiveness in meeting their goal," said Greg Stuart, president-CEO, IAB.

Jim Nail, senior analyst, Forrester Research, said: "Marketers need to stop sitting on the sidelines and begin to test for themselves."

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