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Wait Marketing: Communicate at the Right Moment at the Right place



– Advertising is welcome.

Advertising is bothering consumers … except when they are waiting. A swiss survey confirms that traditional advertising, expensive and saturated, is rejected by consumers. TV ads bother 3 consumers out of 4. Mailings and Internet ads bother more than half of the consumers, same for the radio, even if radio broadcasts 2 to 7 times more ads than television for example. Ads in magazines and at the cinema bother 1 consumer out of 4 only, and ads in newspaper and outdoor, which doesn’t interrupt your activities, 1 consumer out of 5. Whereas advertising while consumers are waiting, like for instance in post offices, is very welcomed by 9 consumers out of 10. In this context advertising is considered as an entertainment.

– For a greater impact

Studies published by independent advertising organisations, in Europe and in the US, confirm that consumers are at least 2 times more receptive while they are waiting. This is linked to the fact that advertising is in that particular context welcome. A TV ad, for instance, will be memorised by 17% of the consumers if they watch it on their TV screen at home. The same ad will be remembered by 27% of consumers if they see it while they are in the doctor’s waiting room.

– For major budget savings

The major benefit of wait marketing is that by targeting consumers at the right place and at the right moment, companies can easily increase the impact of their message, while dramatically cutting their cost per contact and, as a consequence, their budget.

Wait marketing can maximize communication budget efficiency by turning consumers’ ‘waiting time’ into the perfect communication opportunity for brands.


– Making the most of advertising, promotion and direct marketing

Wait marketing campaigns can take place at Points of Sales as well as at Places of Life. Wherever a consumer is waiting: in shops, in traffic jams or while downloading a file on the Internet.

Wait marketing makes the most of advertising, point of sale promotion and direct marketing best practices, in order to enable every company to implement effective and efficient advertising campaigns.

– A win-win approach

Wait marketing is beneficial for both consumers and companies, start-ups as well as international groups.

Small companies and start-up executives, who dedicate their communication budget to sales promotion or direct marketing, can implement affordable advertising solutions. Advertisers, in large companies and agencies, regularly investing in traditional media, are interested in this innovative and effective mode of communication.

As the activity of ‘waiting’ is universal, companies and agencies from the US, Japan, Africa and Europe can make substantial savings by using this consumer-friendly advertising approach into successful and affordable campaigns, in order to acquire new customers and to establish customer’s loyalty.


– 6Ms of wait marketing

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

1. Mission: what is the objective of the campaign?

2. Means: what is the size of the budget?

3. Message: which message is adapted to the targeted consumers?

4. Moment: which is the perfect moment to communicate with the targeted consumers when and where are they waiting?

5. Media: which is the most effective media available while they are waiting?

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

6Ms of wait marketing helps companies design a custom-built campaign with a clear objective, a well-defined target and an appropriate message, delivered at the right place and at the right moment.

– Key factors of success

In two years, TomTom has become the leader of GPS navigation in Europe, with 60% market share, and is already #2 in the US. Alexander Ribbink, Chief Operations Officer of TomTom, and brand management guru reveals the key factors of success of wait marketing campaigns through the example of the launch of the GPS Navigation device TomTom GO :

1. Mission: launch the new TomTom GO portable GPS navigation device

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

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

4. Moment: when drivers are waiting while filling-in their car in gas stations.

5. Media: message was displayed on fillboards. Other media where also used at the same time to increase brand awareness «Multimedia communication is the key factor of success for reaching all the consumers», highlights Alexander Ribbink.

6. Measurement: the return on investment was high because as the penetration of GPS Navigation was low (at the moment of the launch) but the need for navigation is quite universal all the consumers were potentially in the target.

TomTom’s campaign in gas station is the perfect wait marketing example: consumers are all in the target (they are drivers) and they are receptive to the ad (they are waiting while filling up their car with fuel).


– Defining the communications strategy

The following 4 questions need to be answered by companies and agencies before starting a campaign:

Question 1: Extensive or intensive?

The objective of an extensive campaign is to reach as many consumers as possible. An intensive campaign’s aim is more to be memorized by consumers, thanks to repetition.

Question 2: Continuous or one-shot?

A campaign can be permanent to encourage re-purchase or one-shot to support a promotion or a seasonal product.

In the case of consumer goods, advertising will be continuous.

Question 3: Multimedia or monomedia?

A campaign can be multimedia in order to reach all the targets or focused on a single media if the target is a niche (for specialized products for example).

Question 4: Launch or reinforcement?

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

Wait marketing by communicating at the right moment at the right place increases consumers memorization so that companies can just focus on the number of consumers being reached.

– A media adapted to the context

The 3 main criteria to be taken into account when selecting a media are:

1. Congruence

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

2. Affinity

A good affinity between brand and consumer will strengthen the integration of the message

3. Context

The context in which consumers are at the moment of the communication is key: being in a good mood or while waiting have revealed very positive on advertising effectiveness

Jaguar recently gave a perfect example of an adapted advertising campaign , where the 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 car category that was conducted, Euro RSCG New York noticed that all players were using the same codes and conventions. “When you are such a small player, spending way less money than the competitors, a necessary – but not sufficient – condition to success is to be breakthrough and dare disrupting the category’s conventions” says Francois Grouiller, the US Strategic Planner on the business. “And to connect to the high-end target, we needed to be highly aspirational and re-create desire for the brand” adds Andrew Benett, Chief Strategy Officer of the New York agency. With that in mind, Fuel proposed to Jaguar a new and innovative positioning: “New Fashioned Luxury”. The idea for Jaguar is not to communicate as an automotive company anymore but as a modern, exciting luxury brand.


– Communications: Cost or Investment?

The effectiveness of a campaign can be measured in terms of impact on brand awareness and on sales. But due to a lack of adapted measurement tools, companies often consider communications as a cost centre. Some tools enable companies to measure the impact of their communication strategy for all communication channels and so optimize their budget allocation. Communications can then be considered as a real investment.

– Return on Advertising

In the same way than companies mesure their return on equity, they can measure their return on advertising. The Market ContactAuditTM method, for example, proposed by Marketing & Communications Integration and already adopted by many top agencies like Mediaedge:cia, TBWA or Starcom MediaVest Group, considers that each contact has a marginal contribution, that may be positive or negative, on the overall consumer experience with the brand. Companies can compare the return on investment of their communication campaigns with a cross-channel tool, embracing media, promotion, direct marketing and public relations activities and optimize their contacts portfolio in 2 easy steps:

Step 1: Ranking

Consists in ranking the opportunities of contact depending on their contribution to the overall consumer brand experience

Step 2: Focusing

The Method invites to improve the contacts portfolio vis-a-vis competitors’ ones and by focusing on the most effective contacts

That’s exactly what Procter & Gamble did in Europe for one of its beauty and care product by analyzing its communications investments, comparing them to competitors’ones and as a result focusing the communication budget 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 the official wait marketing website

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