According to results from IntelliQuest Inc.'s Technology Agency Media & Marketing Survey, when agencies were asked how they allotted ad dollars among traditional media for their technology accounts, magazines came out on top with a nearly three-quarters share. TV and newspapers tied at a distant second, with a combined 18%. Radio and interactive media trailed the pack.
At first glance, it might seem unusual to tout high tech through low tech means. But agencies are leading their clients to where the audience is. And the traditional strengths of computer and business-to-business publications serve high tech marketers from several perspectives.
David Yoder, media director at Anderson & Lembke Inc., San Francisco, said it is "extremely appropriate that most of the [high tech] products advertise in print. Audiences [for a particular high tech product] may be only 50,000, 100,000, maybe a quarter of a million. And one or two magazines can reach virtually all those individuals" because of their sharply focused audience.
In addition, Mr. Yoder said, the audiences agencies go after in print buys are more likely to read ads than the general population. "These [technologies specialists] just devour these magazines. They read them with a tremendous amount of intensity .*.*. much more so than general consumer books, which are read much more superficially."
The IntelliQuest study showed 49% of respondents felt computer magazines represent the best return on investment for their high tech clients and 57% consider the books the most effective medium to promote brands.
While some advertisers are able to finely target their buys using computer magazines or business-to-business books, some aren't so sure of who they need to reach.
"A lot of advertisers don't really know who their targets are that specifically, so for smaller products it's hit or miss," said Bob Storch, partner and media director at Poppe Tyson Advertising & Public Relations, New York.
"Most high tech clients-over 90% of them-have budgets of less than $100,000, and that won't even begin to [allow them to] fantasize about broadcast..... For the most part, you have some very, very tiny players out there," said Mr. Yoder, and so magazines give them a better chance with broader audiences.
Mr. Yoder also said clients' nature influences ad buys. "When we talk high tech, we're not really talking Sega or something that's very mass, or cellular phones, something that in itself is very appropriate for broadcast," he said. "We're talking something that's much more hard-core and going to MIS people or software developers."
Within the ranks of high tech marketers, there are distinctions that affect what media an agency buys.
"High tech and business-to-business divide into two types of accounts," said Mr. Storch. "The IBMs, AT&Ts, Microsofts and maybe Intel-they can run anywhere and probably spend more money in TV [than smaller companies with smaller budgets]. The big companies are the ones that really lead the whole parade," he said. "Television sells; it's still true. Giant corporations lead, and hundreds of smaller companies use their budgets in magazines."
The IntelliQuest survey found 9% of respondents feel TV offers the best return on advertisers' dollars, but 18% consider it the most effective medium in promoting brand.
While magazines get the lion's share of media from high tech agencies, money spent in other media still adds up.
"It's not the case that high tech clients aren't in interactive marketing," Mr. Storch said. "There are not many major or even smaller software packages that don't have a [Web] home page. The key is to link your home page to somebody else's, like [Poppe Tyson client] AT&T, with high visibility so you get it seen."
"I use the analogy to cable TV. [Like the Net,] it was a small, highly desirable demographic at first that built slowly," he said. "The Internet, however, came out of nowhere, and really in the last 10 months ..... it just exploded."
Jocelyn Powning, media planner at direct response shop Barry Blau & Partners, Fairfield, Conn., agreed most of her clients, like IBM Corp., have home pages. "But home pages don't always take advantage of the interactive medium's uses," she said. "Anything on the Internet has to offer something of value to the customer. If you don't offer something of value, [your customers] never come back.
"[The Web is] different from a print ad or TV spot that's constantly in their face. Once [a customer finds their way] there, you've got to do something; not necessarily give something away, but provide some information of value."
While only 1% of agencies in the survey find interactive media to be the most effective in promoting a brand, 4% believe they provide the best return on client dollars.
Seventeen percent of respondents to the IntelliQuest survey feel direct mail provides the best return on investment for their clients, while 4% say direct mail is most effective in promoting a client's brand.