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Avoid These 6 FSI Mistakes and Earn Big This Memorial Day

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

When it comes to insider marketing, there is no more effective option than insert media. Think about it: getting your offer inside of an already-trusted and beloved newspaper means customers will automatically see your company and offer in the best possible light.

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, it’s a good idea to step up your FSI game. With this in mind, here are 6 of the most common mistakes advertisers make with their insert campaigns. Avoid these at all costs to earn big this summer.

  1. Not Testing

Many marketers think that testing is not important, or they assume their budget isn’t big enough. But the truth is, you don’t need to distribute millions of pieces to determine if the channel will work for your company.

Test small.

You can minimize your risk by distributing enough to get an accurate gauge. For example, you can test four different programs with 25,000 in each. This is typically a better and more telling way to go than testing a single program with 100,000.

To determine which programs to test, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Demographics of the program
  • The total universe of the program – if the test is successful, you want to know you can roll out effectively.

Be sure to vary your tests in terms of audience and category. It’s never a good idea to test a single category or a single audience. The more you vary your testing, the better your odds of finding success.

And one final note regarding testing (can you tell testing is important) – one successful test does not a successful campaign make. Don’t do a full roll out just because one test proved successful. Take a bit of time to make sure your positive results are in fact positive before committing to a big roll out.

If you start testing now, you should be able to confidently roll out your FSI campaign for Memorial Day Weekend, one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

  1. Not Coding

Do you always code your inserts? If not, how do you gauge if the channel and/or campaign was successful? Each program should have its own unique code, as should each month within a particular program. Coding helps you keep track of your success so you can make every advertising dollar count.

  1. Not Standing Out from the Crowd

You can’t rest on the newspaper’s laurels, you’ve got to stand out on your own. It’s easy for your FSI to get lost in the package, so use the entire space to your advantage. The average maximum dimensions for an insert program are 5-1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Why risk getting lost in the package with a 3 ½” x 5” insert. As they say: Go big or go home.

  1. Not Communicating with Your Media Buyer

You’ve got to share detailed information with your media buyer about the efficacy of your campaigns. And the more details you offer, the better able they will be to return qualified program recommendations. A program may not have worked at $45/M but it may at $30/M. Your buyer won’t be able to adjust on your behalf if all you say is, “It didn’t work.” Be specific and share as much as you can.

  1. Not Optimizing for Mobile

If you are going to include a mobile link in your insert’s offer then you’ll need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsing. This should be a no-brainer at this point but we still see so many companies who have neglected to optimize for mobile.

  1. Not Considering Lead Times

Most insert media campaigns need to be created and handed over weeks in advance of distribution. Understand that collation, production and delivery all take time, so if you want to get your inserts in the Memorial Day weekend paper, better get started… NOW!

There is no denying FSIs are a great way to get your offer in front of the right crowd and boost your revenue. Just be sure to avoid these 6 mistakes so you can taste success this summer season.

Topics: print advertising, frequency of newspapers ads, free standing inserts, preprint

Effective Frequency for Local Media

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 01:32 PM

Advertisers spend millions of dollars every year in an effort to get the right message in front of the right prospects. In an increasingly complicated and fragmented marketing environment, where budgets are tight and competition is stiff, these advertisers are held even more accountable for outcomes.

Enter effective frequency, which Wikipedia defines as “the number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful.”

Effective Frequency is Nothing NewEffective Frequency is Nothing New

Though you may think effective frequency is a modern concept, it’s actually been around since the very beginning of advertising. In his book “Successful Advertising,” written in 1885, Thomas Smith wrote a very tongue-in-cheek checklist of what happens each time a consumer sees an ad.

He started with:

“The 1st time people look at an ad, they don’t see it.
The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.
The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.”

On down the list he continued:

“The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.”

And finally:

“The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.
The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.
The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.”

As I mentioned, his list was on the comedic side, but he wasn’t too far off from the reality of consumer behavior. Though advertising was a completely new endeavor back then, savvy marketers like Smith understood a basic advertising truth: “more frequency = more effective.”

Decades later, advertising genius Herbert Krugman became very interested in consumer behavior. He wanted to know how many times consumers needed to see an ad for it to be effective so he could place efficient TV media buys for his clients. The research he conducted is where his famous Theory of Effective Frequency for advertising was born.

Now most advertisers intuitively understand that repetition is the basis of effective messaging. But when you factor in that all of that repetition has a price tag, advertisers need to limit ad frequency to the point where diminishing returns occur.

After his research, Krugman concluded that the optimal number of times a consumer needed to be exposed to an advertisement was three. After three exposures, he concluded, consumers take action.

Many marketers have since debated the subject with some calculating a different magic number of exposures.

What’s the Magic Number for Local Media?

How much exposure do local businesses need to get their desired result? The obvious answer is, there is no magic number. There are simply too many factors at play: the recent complexity of the marketplace, fragmented communication channels, and consumers’ declining attention spans in response to constant advertising bombardment.

Any strategy that approaches frequency without taking all of this into consideration doesn’t stand much of a chance at being effective. What advertisers need to focus on is simply the idea that there must be enough concentration of media in order to influence consumers to buy.

With this in mind, there are a few effective frequency best practices to follow:

Fewer Messages More Often

When we talk about frequency of messages, let’s be clear: stick with a few core brand messages and communicate them more frequently. 100 different messages communicated 25 times is not at all as effective as 1 core message communicated 25 times.

If You're Bored With Your Message - You're Doing it RightIf You’re Bored with Your Message – You’re Doing It Right

Long before your message sinks in with prospects, you will inevitably get bored with it and have the urge to change course. DON’T! Boredom is a good sign - it means you are sticking to your strategy.

Fight the urge to pull the plug on your marketing message prematurely. It can often take years for some messages to connect with consumers, so fight the temptation to create something new and different just for the sake of creating something new and different.

Segment Your Audience

Effective frequency will require you to rethink how you spend your media dollars and begin to segment your audience. What’s more effective: getting your message in front of 50,000 people one time, or 5,000 people five times?

Success comes when you begin to target a portion of your customer base. By doing so you’ll not only be able to use better data and analytics, you’ll also be able to craft the most relevant messaging possible.


Effective frequency is not just a theory, it’s a way to communicate your message optimally while at the same time getting the most bang for your advertising buck.

 Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.

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Topics: frequency of newspapers ads

Frequency of newspaper ads rules the day for Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Posted by Amy Xiong on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 @ 08:41 AM

Mitsubishi was able to successfully launch their new electric car to their Canadian consumers through smart advertising in newspapers with frequency in their ads. The readers who saw their ads more than three times indicated, in research conducted by Totum Research, that they would choose to buy the electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Also, consumers who saw the newspaper advertisements more than three times believed that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV helped them overcome their fears about electric cars. Those who saw the ads three times or more also thought more positively of electric cars than those who were not exposed to the ad or were only exposed a couple times. Do you see a pattern here?

How did Mitsubishi run such a successful newspaper advertising campaign? First, Mitsubishi’s biggest challenge was to overcome the growing concern of electric vehicles: being electrocuted. Luckily they combined forces with their ad agency, John Street, and newspapers to overcome this challenge.

Then instead of going after the expected demographic of the environmentally conscious consumer, they decided to go after a larger target audience. The focus of the ads was on the car’s design as well as its electric power. With a different demographic, the ads needed to highlight different benefits. It wasn’t just about conservation, now it was about safety and style. With such a broad demographic to reach, newspapers would be the best medium to advertise through. Newspapers could provide Mitsubishi the chance to draw in consumers through visual appeal, and there was also an opportunity to reach consumers with the copy message.

Mitsubishi wanted innovative creative to go along with the innovative car they had created. They approached the fear directly, but took a more humorous approach. The ad copy said things like: “Afraid the electric car will turn you into a hemp-weaving, tofu-eating, drum-circling hippie?” Along with this they had a compelling call to action. A URL was inserted which directed readers to the website: electriphobia.com. The website addresses and pokes fun of the fear of electrocution, silence, range anxiety, tailpipe separation anxiety, gas withdrawal anxiety and fear of becoming a hippie through interactive videos and activities. One in particular, range anxiety, allows visitors to insert starting points and destinations to see just how far the i-MiEV can take them. This is cured through the i-MiEV’s ‘Commutalculator.’

Mitsubishi took a risk by targeting a new audience and found creative and interactive methods for reaching them. So far the research shows the risk was worth it.

Check out the full case study released by the Canadian Newspaper Association, “Proving newspapers work: Demonstrating the power of frequency.” Then take a minute and visit the electrophobia website and see just how Mitsubishi’s helping consumers overcome their fears.

Topics: frequency of newspapers ads