Three common hurdles buying outdoor advertising

Buying billboards, and other forms of outdoor advertising, can be frustrating and time consuming.  We hear many complaints, but here are three that are fairly common, and a few thoughts to consider.

1. “Why won’t they call me back?”

How many times have you asked yourself this question when trying to compile billboard options for your marketing campaign?  This is one of the most common problems when trying to buy outdoor.  “I spent time searching on the internet, made some calls, and nobody will even call me back!”  It sounds strange, but it happens.  The appropriate person might not even have an office in your targeted area, so it’s possible you didn’t even call the right number.  You can’t give up!  Stay on them!  In this case, the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

2. “Did I contact ALL of the billboard companies?”

There may be 3, 4, 5 or more companies that have billboard advertising options in your targeted area.  As you continue to work on this project, it can be easiest to just work with the one company that graced you with a response.  You must resist this temptation, and stick to it.  Keep in mind that if you only work with one company, they are only offering you what they have, and sometimes the best of what they have is sold, so you don’t even get those options to consider.

3. “How do I know what billboards to pick?”

Just suppose for a minute you did find all of the billboard companies, and they did actually call you back.  How do you know which board or boards to pick?  “I see “that one” has a high traffic count, but is it the traffic I want to reach?”  A billboard on a different road might have a higher “rating” for your target audience, and it also might be less expensive per period.  With that information, your cost-per-thousand (CPM) of “targeted” impressions just dropped significantly.  Other critical elements to consider are:  Is the billboard a right-hand read or left-hand read?  Is the board illuminated?  Are there any obstructions that don’t appear in a picture provided?  Will the “readability” be different in the spring and summer months compared to the fall and winter?

Buying outdoor can be a challenge.  Hopefully these few tips will help you the next time around.

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Rob Smithwick
VP, OOH Media StrategyEMC Outdoor
Rob says, "3 measures of Posters, 1 measure of Bulletins, a twist of Transit, ridden not stirred. Serve with 3 blue cheese stuffed olives"

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