Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your cable buy:
1) Like radio, cable is an advantageous medium for high-frequency advertising because a) the ad time is affordable since you’re only paying for a limited area, and b) viewers are loyal to particular shows and even networks. Like radio, you’d like to achieve a 3-time per week frequency with each person who sees your ad. That means about 20 spots per week within a limited daypart (for example, a 4-hour daypart over 5 days per week), per network purchased.
2) Some of the most popular shows on television are now produced by cable networks. Most of these are broad genre networks like USA and FX. These networks may have a broad reach because of the variety of programming, but that can make achieving frequency a challenge unless you choose very tight dayparts. It can be worth the extra investment to advertise on popular shows like BURN NOTICE or JUSTIFIED, and you’ll achieve good frequency with fewer spots.
3) Even more than radio, cable can allow you to target specific demographics that are more apt to shop in your store. If you’re a big bridal store that makes things easy on nervous guys, ESPN could be a great option. If you’re a designer-heavy store catering to self-purchasers, networks like Food Network, HGTV or Lifetime can speak to that 35-54 female viewer. The unique opportunity that cable gives you to speak to particular customers cannot be overstated, so it’s worth taking some time to figure out exactly who you want to speak to.
4) Along those lines, consider running different types of ads on different networks: male-oriented bridal and watch ads on ESPN, indy designer ads on Food Network and HGTV, luxury line ads on FOX News and History Channel. You’ve purchased time on a network to reach a particular customer, so why not go the extra mile and speak their language? You can have a look at 2011’s top cable performers here.