Wait Marketing: Communicate in the right place at the right time


– Advertising is welcome.

Advertising bothers consumers…unless they wait. A Swiss survey confirms that traditional advertising, expensive and saturated, is rejected by consumers. TV advertising bothers 3 out of 4 consumers. Mailing and Internet advertising bother more than half of consumers, the same is true for radio, even if radio broadcasts 2 to 7 times more advertising than television, for example. Magazine and cinema ads bother only 1 in 4 consumers, and newspaper and outdoor ads that don’t interrupt their activities disturb 1 in 5 consumers. While advertising while consumers wait, such as in post offices, 9 out of 10 consumers welcome it very much. In this context, advertising is considered entertainment.

– For greater impact

Studies published by independent advertising organizations in Europe and the US confirm that consumers are at least twice as receptive while waiting. This is because advertising is desirable in this context. For example, a TV advert is memorized by 17% of consumers when they watch it on their TV screen at home. 27% of consumers remember the same ad when they see it in the doctor’s waiting room.

– For big budget savings

The main benefit of wait marketing is that by targeting consumers in the right place and at the right moment, businesses can increase the impact of their message while drastically reducing their cost per contact and therefore their budget.

Wait marketing can maximize communication budget efficiency by turning consumers’ “wait time” into the perfect communication opportunity for brands.


– Optimal use of advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing

Wait marketing campaigns can take place both at points of sale and at places of life. Wherever a consumer is waiting: in shops, in traffic jams or when downloading a file from the Internet.

Wait Marketing makes the most of advertising, promotions and direct marketing best practices to enable any business to run effective and efficient advertising campaigns.

– A win-win approach

Wait Marketing is beneficial for consumers as well as for companies, start-ups as well as international corporations.

Small businesses and start-up executives who use their communications budget for sales promotions or direct marketing can implement cost-effective advertising solutions. Advertisers in large companies and agencies who regularly invest in traditional media are interested in this innovative and effective way of communicating.

Because the activity of “waiting” is universal, businesses and agencies from the US, Japan, Africa, and Europe can realize significant savings by translating this consumer-friendly advertising approach into successful and affordable campaigns to attract new customers and earn customer loyalty.


– 6 M waiting time marketing

With the 6M method, Kotler’s 5Ms (Mission-Means-Message-Media-Measurement) with the missing M, the right moment, companies and marketing agencies can easily design and implement a successful wait marketing campaign:

1. Mission: What is the goal of the campaign?

2. Means: What is the budget?

3. Message: Which message is adapted to the target consumers?

4. Moment: What is the perfect moment to communicate with the target consumers, when and where they are waiting?

5. Media: What is the most effective medium available while they wait?

6. Measurement: What is the return on investment of the campaign?

6Ms of Wait Marketing helps businesses design a bespoke campaign with a clear goal, a well-defined goal and an appropriate message, delivered in the right place and at the right moment.

– Key factors of success

In two years, TomTom has become the leading provider of GPS navigation in Europe with a 60% market share and is already number 2 in the USA. Alexander Ribbink, TomTom’s Chief Operations Officer and brand management guru, reveals the most important success factors of waiting marketing campaigns using the example of the market launch of the GPS navigation device TomTom GO:

1. Mission: Introducing the new portable GPS navigator TomTom GO

2. Means: The budget was important, but adapted to the launch of a product.

3. Message: Because the product benefits are obvious, the message is easy to remember.

4th moment: When motorists wait to fill up at gas stations.

5. Media: Message was displayed on fillboards. At the same time, other media were also used to increase brand awareness. “Multimedia communication is the key success factor for reaching all consumers,” emphasizes Alexander Ribbink.

6. Measurement: The return on investment was high as penetration of GPS navigation was low (at the time of launch) but the need for navigation is fairly universal, all consumers were potentially on target.

TomTom’s forecourt campaign is the perfect marketing example of wait times: consumers are all on target (they’re drivers) and they’re receptive to the ad (they wait while they fill up their car with fuel).


– Defining the communication strategy

Companies and agencies must answer the following 4 questions before starting a campaign:

Question 1: Extensive or intensive?

The aim of an extensive campaign is to reach as many consumers as possible. The aim of an intensive campaign is to be better remembered by the consumer thanks to repetition.

Question 2: Continuous or One-Shot?

A campaign can be permanent to encourage repeat purchases, or one-off to support a promotion or seasonal product.

Consumables are advertised continuously.

Question 3: Multimedia or Monomedia?

A campaign can be multi-media to achieve all goals, or focus on a single medium if the goal is niche (e.g. for specialty products).

Question 4: Launch or Reinforcement?

Is the goal to make consumers aware of a new product or to remind them of the existence of a product?

Wait marketing increases consumer memory by communicating at the right moment in the right place, allowing businesses to focus only on the number of consumers reached.

– A medium adapted to the context

The 3 main criteria to consider when choosing a medium are:

1. Congruence

The congruence between medium and message: advertising for Heineken on a high table is the perfect example of the highest match between medium (high table) and message (beer!)

2. Affinity

A good affinity between brand and consumer strengthens the integration of the message

3. Context

The context in which consumers find themselves at the moment of communication is crucial: a good mood or waiting times have had a very positive effect on the advertising effect

Jaguar recently provided a perfect example of a customized advertising campaign where congruence between the media and the message can dramatically improve the impact of the communication. Thanks to an in-depth semiotic analysis of the luxury cars category, Euro RSCG New York found that all players used the same codes and conventions. “When you’re such a small player, spending a lot less money than the competition, breaking through and daring to disrupt category conventions is a necessary – but not sufficient – condition for success,” says Francois Grouiller, the company’s US strategic planner. “And to connect with the high-end goal, we had to be very ambitious and rekindle desire for the brand,” adds Andrew Benett, the New York agency’s chief strategy officer. With this in mind, Fuel Jaguar proposed a new and innovative positioning: “New Fashioned Luxury”. The idea for Jaguar is to no longer communicate as an automotive company, but as a modern, exciting luxury brand.


– Communication: cost or investment?

Campaign effectiveness can be measured in terms of its impact on brand awareness and sales. However, due to the lack of appropriate measuring instruments, companies often regard communication as a cost center. Some tools enable companies to measure the impact of their communication strategy across all communication channels and thus optimize their budget allocation. Communication can then be seen as a real investment.

– Return on advertising

Just as companies measure their return on equity, they can measure their return on advertising. The Market ContactAuditTM methodology, proposed for example by Marketing & Communications Integration and already adopted by many top agencies such as Mediaedge:cia, TBWA or Starcom MediaVest Group, assumes that each contact makes a marginal contribution, whether positive or negative can be general consumer experience with the brand. Companies can compare the return on investment of their communication campaigns with a cross-channel tool covering media, advertising, direct marketing and PR activities and optimize their contact portfolio in two simple steps:

Step 1: Ranking

Consists of ranking contact opportunities based on their contribution to the consumer’s overall brand experience

Step 2: Focus

The method invites you to improve the contact portfolio compared to the competition and to concentrate on the most effective contacts

That’s exactly what Procter & Gamble did in Europe for one of its beauty and personal care products, analyzing its communications investments, comparing them to the competition and refocusing communications budgets on the most effective channel: advertising in doctor’s waiting rooms.

Source: DERVAL Diana, Wait Marketing: Communicate at the Right Moment at the Right Place, DervalResearch, Amsterdam, 2007. Book available on Amazon.com and Chapter 5 for free on Wait Marketing official website

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