Taxes are not usually a subject people are eager to discuss. However, H&R Block has leveraged a number of savvy advertising tactics to reach their customers during this less-than-fun time of year – even amid the pandemic. In a conversation between Andrew Martinson, Senior Marketing Manager and H&R Block and Jes Santoro, SVP, Advanced TV and Video at Cadent, Andrew shares how years of preparation enabled H&R Block to act flexibly and pivot quickly, as well as how they’re approaching today’s TV landscape.
Catch a video of the full session, and a recap of the conversation, below.
This year’s tax season was unique for a number of reasons, namely, because for the first time in recent history, the deadline shifted back. While this may have been a relief for consumers, it had the potential to wreak havoc on businesses such as H&R Block. Unlike other financial institutions, their messaging has a definitive sell-by date. As Andrew described, “we have such a small window of time to make an impact on people’s lives and our business being accessed.” For H&R Block, at a time when they would typically be using the first quarter of the year to drive consumers to their brick and mortar locations, lockdowns and a new tax deadline meant the need for many changes and quick turnarounds.
Fortunately, H&R Block’s alignment with strategic creative and technology partners allowed for nimble changes in their advertising plan. For instance, limitations on retail meant foot traffic was no longer the primary KPI. Instead, messaging shifted to, “We’re going to talk to you about our DIY component, or virtual offerings. While you can still get served by a tax pro, but in a different way.”
When the conversation transitioned to the subject of fragmentation, Jes asked, as viewers continue to be more diluted across an ever-growing number of distribution platforms to find content, how does that affect the way that you are handling that channel-mix planning?
According to Andrew, he’s found a three-pronged approach to handling fragmentation across the TV landscape:
- Start with your KPI – What is the primary KPI of your business? This goes across channels. It’s not just television. It’s not just programmatic. It’s not just CRM, but it’s a KPI for the business. Whether you want to measure site traffic based off of an ad that’s played, or you want to measure cross-frequency, or you want to measure reach across different platforms, are you doing something on OTT and CTV that you want to measure against what your partners are doing? Understanding just how those measurements work and what they mean to your business is critical.
- Open yourself up to learning – No matter your role within your organization, take the time to understand the different “fragments” that exist. Don’t limit yourself to what you already know. Where are people watching and how are you talking to them? It’s important for advertisers to be aware of all the players out there. You should also be willing to wear more than one hat – marketers should be no strangers to doing more than one job. When it comes to TV advertising, test out a new capability, take a meeting to learn what else is out there.
- Work with partners you trust – You need to know your limitations. Find partners who provide valuable insights and can serve as area experts. However, don’t be afraid to push back. As a brand, it’s still your job to stay involved and ask questions.
At the end of the day, it’s also important to be willing to reevaluate your KPIs. Andrew goes on to explain, “As our programmatic peers did a number of years back, you can pendulum swing that thing a little bit too far. And I think there’s a real risk of saying, ‘Oh wow, I can now look at the measurements that could really help me optimize my television’s bias. I can see programs and networks and types of programs that my customers are engaging with. They engage more, they engage more often and they get better. That’s amazing. That’s something that we haven’t had access to,’ …but the caution there is to not rely so much on that – that it pigeonholes you.”
Over time, TV fragmentation will become less and less of an issue. The means of buying linear and OTT will become more seamless. The question is, will your organization be prepared for cross-channel buying?
Cadent has a solution. Reach out today to speak with Cadent about our linear and OTT offerings.
Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”