On This D&AY in History: September 2010

Lady Gaga stunned (and confused) fans when she walked into the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress made of raw meat as an attempt to protest the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The Baltimore Ravens started their regular season with an exhilarating Monday night win, beating the New York Jets 10-9 at MetLife Stadium.

Devaney & Associates took over advertising efforts for the College Savings Plans of Maryland and secured 37% more radio spots and the greatest number of enrollments since 2004—without increasing their media budget by a cent.

Alert the Media: Devaney & Associates is Crushing Client Goals

Any experienced media buyer can tell you that media placement rates are negotiable. Having a good reputation and a long-standing relationship with media outlets can help you get more for your money, from lower rates to added-value bonuses, like sponsorships and free spots.

College Savings Plans of Maryland (CSPM), now Maryland 529, discovered the value of smart media buying when they began working with Devaney & Associates in 2010.

CSPM administers two 529 plans: the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan. In 2010, they tasked us with developing an awareness campaign that would not only cover the entire state with CSPM’s messaging and reach an audience of new parents, but would also help generate 2,000 new Prepaid College Trust accounts and secure a double-digit percent increase in College Investment Plan accounts.

The catch (there’s always a catch): we had to work with a preapproved budget we hadn’t seen, based on the previous agency’s plans.

Is that all? Challenge us, will you?

All kidding aside, meeting goals like these without increasing a media budget is not easy… unless you have Devaney & Associates in your corner. Our seasoned media department’s long-standing reputation with publishers and aggressive approach to media buying is—in the battle of budgets—our clients’ ultimate weapon.

“Longer relationships with the different media and more experience buying media can help you get more for your clients’ money,” says Diane Devaney, founder and president of Devaney & Associates. “A level of trust forms and the agency-media relationship becomes a partnership with everyone wanting the campaign to succeed. Plus, the experience of our media department helps us determine if we’re being overcharged and where we can stretch the budget so a campaign can be more effective.”

That expertise paid off for CSPM when our media department secured a 37 percent increase in total radio spots over the previous year without increasing CSPM’s budget by a cent. In addition to negotiating better rates, we carefully evaluated the Maryland and DC markets to create a strategic mix of stations that would allow us to reach a more targeted customer base, minimize audience duplication, maximize reach through multiple-market penetration, and boost frequency using diverse formats and dayparts.

“We have a ‘no waste’ goal when it comes to media budgets,” says Devaney. “Our media department works very hard to ensure that our clients get the maximum results for the minimum spend. In the case of CSPM, that meant maximizing their airtime and securing value-adds, like bonus spots, sponsorships and endorsements, and online advertising with the stations. It also meant looking beyond traditional outlets to focus on more niche media opportunities, such as parenting blogs.”

With the success of the media department assuring more eyes would be on the client, the creative and PR teams crafted a new campaign to communicate CSPM’s message to parents across the state.

By the end of the 2010-2011 enrollment period, enrollments in the Prepaid College Trust totaled more than 2,500—the largest number since 2004—and enrollments in the College Investment Plan increased 31 percent. Additionally, website traffic jumped 36 percent, digital ad click-throughs increased tenfold, and PR efforts garnered more than five million impressions.

The campaign was a huge success for our client, dramatically exceeding their expectations and fast-forwarding their growth. Before you plan your next campaign, consider the results an agency earns, and also the experience that the employees have. It could make all the difference.

In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are travelling back to an important company milestone each month. Be sure to stay tuned for next month’s look back!

 

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