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Can a Campaign That Makes No Money Still Be Called a Success?

The internet is all a buzz this week about the return of Mad Men on AMC. From the amount of hype, you would think that it’s one of the hottest shows on the air in terms of ad revenue, but that’s not true. According to an article in Advertising Age, Mad Men pulled in only $1.98 million in ad revenue last year on a show that costs 3 million per episode to produce. Part of the problem is that the show, despite all the critical acclaim, has an audience equal to about one fifth of a network show like CBS’s NCIS. And yet, AMC declares the show a hit and continues to produce it along with partner Lionsgate. Why? Because direct sales isn’t the only way to measure a marketing campaign’s success.

A new study developed by MarketShare Partners, shows how indirect marketing can be as effective as direct marketing, particularly when it includes a mix of online and offline advertising. A person sees a commercial on TV, goes online to learn more about the product and buys it after clicking through on a a display ad. Was it the commercial that facilitated the sale or the display ad? Does it matter?

direct marketing effects

In the case of Mad Men, AMC says that the critical acclaim for the series has allowed them to raise their cable subscriber fees from .22 cents to .24 cents. Before Mad Men, fees were on the decline.

“Mad Men” has “raised the game for our brand,” said Charlie Collier, president-general manager of AMC, which is part of Cablevision Systems’ Rainbow Media Holdings. The program “has absolutely raised our ability to monetize the network.”

From there, it’s DVD sales and tie-in merchandise and the potential for a Broadway show. All of this ads to the bottom line.

Says MarketingMix;

“Today’s business leaders require a clear, causal bridge between marketing spend and economic results – specifically how marketing affects revenue and profits. It is important to know how many people are watching an ad or clicking on it, but the ultimate measure of success is how revenue and profits are affected.”

For online marketers, this means stop the hourly monitoring of traffic and click-throughs and start looking at other ways to leverage your brand. Sponsoring a popular webseries might not result in direct sales, but it may make a consumer think of your product before a competitor’s when it comes time to buy.