Big marketers get personal by going local

Marketing on the local level will be hot as advertisers attempt to get more personal with consumers.

So said Phil Guarascio, a former advertising executive for General Motors, during a speech to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s annual Advertiser Day and semi-annual board of directors meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 13.

Guarascio, who retired as vice president of advertising and corporate marketing from GM in May 2000, said media such as TV and magazines no longer will be on the front burner for media buyers simply because they have large numbers of viewers and readers.

“Media buying has become a commodity practice,” he said, warning that changes were coming.

“It’s not just CPMs (cost per thousand) but how things happen in the marketplace. These deals are about using a medium to help a client meet an objective that is not just about CPM or brand visibility,” he said.

While at GM for 14 years, Guarascio was known for putting together the big deal — such as GM’s relationship with the Olympics — that uses many media and events to promote the partnership. He said marketers will be seeking similar deals.

“The big issue is knowing exactly what to do with that money, strategically,” he said. “How do we position our brands and products? There will be more emphasis on local marketing from the big marketers.

“Most advertisers are looking for ways to take their big national assets, like the Olympics, and drive it down to the local level. This is an opportunity for radio if you can get in there early enough.”

He perceives a big opportunity for fresh ideas at the local level. “Good media buyers understand the personality of a (radio) station within the market and the context of that station and how it connects with an audience. There is an opportunity to leverage that.”

Guarascio, who consults for brands such as P&G Ventures, the National Football League and William Morris, predicted that marketing through entertainment, in which the consumer participates in contests or at events, will be the next big sector.

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