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Unskippable: How to Win at TV (again) with Cost-Effective Streaming Ads

Many retailers built their businesses using television ads, but the rise of streaming services has created challenges.

On today’s episode, Eric Grindley, Founder and CEO of Esquire Advertising, co-hosts the FAM Marketing Show alongside Mark and Adrienne. They discuss OTT (a.k.a. known as Over The Top – it’s okay, we didn’t know the acronym either), how television advertising is far from over, and how Esquire is making streaming ads available to businesses of any size.

Plus, get insights into

  • Esquire’s data
  • How Esquire is working to ensure you target the right customer every time
  • Measuring your tv ad spend ROI. 

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Mark Kinsley: It’s one of the last places on the planet where you can’t skip ads. We are democratizing OTT streaming TV ads with Esquire Advertising CEO Eric Grindley The FAM Marketing Show starts right now.

Mark Kinsley: Welcome to the Fan Marketing Show Strategies, tips, and ideas to help retailers and brands grow their furniture, appliances, and mattress business.

We are so excited to have Eric Greenley on the show today. As always, Yo, Adrian, let’s get into trivia right out of the.

Adrienne Woods: Eric, welcome to the show, Mark. Good to see you.

Eric Grundley: To see you

Adrienne Woods: too. Awesome. Okay, so I have a, this is actually a print versus digital marketing question. So Eric, the way we like to do this is I’m gonna give you just the question.

I’ll give you four options, be thinking about it, and then after the show we’ll come back. So, okay. What percentage of 18 to 23 year olds say it’s easier to read print than digital ads? Is it 27%, 54%, 78%, or 92%? So that’s our question for the day. The ease in reading print versus digital from 18 to 23 year olds.

So completely different generation that has always grown up with digital. Interesting

Mark Kinsley: take. It would be fun to also know what percentage actually have ever taken a. Version of a magazine into their home. You guys still still subscribe? I, I still get plenty of

Eric Grundley: magazines. I get lots of direct mail. Um, you know, I get lots of direct mail, a lot of print and stuff like that, and a lot of magazines I don’t wanna read in the mail.

But, uh, but I don’t buy magazines anymore, that’s for sure. I

Adrienne Woods: have a magazine subscription that I get, I think it’s once a month that’s directed to the former owner of my house and I don’t know when they’re gonna like figure out that it’s still coming to us, but we get that magazine every month. ,

Mark Kinsley: I still get Outside Magazine, but Outside Magazine also has Outside Plus, so there’s a big digital component that goes along with that.

They have a, a GPS app and a trail finding app that goes along with that. So they’ve done a pretty good job of like making it an extension of their digital. Which, Nice. It kind of feeds into what we’re talking about today because we’re talking about digital advertising in particular O T T streaming TV ads.

Yeah. Which is a whole new space. So we’re, we’re kind of like taking people on this journey of shifting from the old ways and the old days where things weren’t as trackable and measurable as they used to be into this new world where you’re able to access consumer in such a granular. And Eric, you’re such an expert in this world, Esquire advertising amazing partners with so many people in the furniture and mattress industry space and beyond.

But you’ve pioneered a lot of integration, technology, geolocation, geo framing, uh, all this different stuff that actually gets you connected to the consumer during that moment of truth, during that path to purchase. And we were talking about this idea of OTT streaming TV and how the average furniture and mattress store can actually part.

And serving up those as. So before we start though, what you gotta tell people? What is O

Eric Grundley: t T? Yes. Uh, so ot, So OTT actually stands for over the top, um, no idea why they came up with that as a name or, or whatever. Um, Uh, I think if you’re not in the industry, uh, you know, nobody really uses that word. I actually have to catch myself all the time.

So I’m like, Oh, Ott. And they’re like, What? Um, so, you know, I

Adrienne Woods: trying, Here’s funny, Eric, before you came on, I didn’t know what it was, but I didn’t wanna feel stupid. Like I should know what O TT was, so I was just gonna sit here and nod

Eric Grundley: my head the whole time. You know, It’s like, it’s one of those things where like, I, I, you know, like I get so caught up.

I’m in the, you know, the, I’m in the ad tech business, so. All of my verbiage is ad tech, you know, related. And so like you, we say these things like it’s no big deal. Like everybody should understand it. And then like when I was at market, uh, last week and I was like, Oh, you know, we do all this O T T stuff and people are like, And I could see like the wheels turning.

Like they’re like, Mm, I don’t know what that is. And I was like, Oh, streaming television ads. And they’re like, Oh, yeah, yeah. So, um, yeah, you know, like, um, for those people that don’t know, like obviously like, um, I think we’re, we’re pretty well known in the furniture industry and the mattress industry now.

Um, but um, you know, we work with retailers all over the country. Um, manufacturers all over the country. Um, to basically understand customers better and then serve them individual ads essentially on a one-to-one basis. That is our bread and butter, right? Like we know your customer be better than you know, your customer.

We have more data than we could ever dream to, you know, to deal with. And, um, so that allows us to do a lot of interesting things. And a couple of years ago we wanted to start pushing into the streaming television ad market. And, um, and so we did, you know, we did what everybody else did, you know, Um, you know, we started bringing on, like connecting through all these various different platforms to bring things in.

And, you know, the problem with it is that we were having inventory issues, like where we couldn’t get enough inventory for what we did, um, because we didn’t have the direct connections into the platform. And so it was always like a very small portion of our business. Like if we were serving ads for somebody was like, well, the TV portion that’s out there running is just, you know, You know, a couple thousand impressions here, maybe 10,000 impressions.

There wasn’t, wasn’t what we wanted. And so we started talking to the different platforms and saying, Hey, look, we’d like to build a direct connection into your platform. And when we approached them all, they basically all told us to go pounding. Um, that we were completely nuts. That they don’t let anybody do that.

You can’t bring data into their platform. That the only way that you could do it is basically the way that everybody does it today, which is, you know, you send your data to live ramp. Live ramp basically matches it to cookies. The cookies get matched to ips, um, then it goes to Snowflake, um, and from Snowflake.

Then it ends up on an exchange. Maybe you’re lucky that then you have a seat at one of these places and then they’ll publish it to that seat, and so by the end of it, right, like you have all of these steps and people in. That are all charging you money along the way, and you haven’t even ran an ad yet.

So the cost to do streaming television ads was skyrocketing. You know, um, uh, we have a, we have some clients that have been grandfathered in that started doing streaming television ads. You know, years ago they were like first to the market in furniture, doing it. And so they got, they got grandfathered into some really good pricing.

Um, and uh, even for them, like the companies that they’re working with are like basically saying like, Hey, like, we’re not making any money on this anymore because the cost is too much now. Like with all these hands in the pot and stuff. So the costs are going up and the quality of everything started going down because, um, you’re not really getting what you want.

And so, um, you end up on these like really random apps and things that aren’t really useful. Um, you know, uh, you know, you’re not really targeting the right consumer. And like even if you’re doing like the IP targeted version of O T T where it’s cookie pool to ip and then ip, in best case scenario, you’re maybe hitting, uh, 28 houses to get the one that you want.

Um, and a lot of people don’t understand this, but you know, like when you match address data to a cookie pool, you’re basically saying, Hey, I saw these cookies at this address. Then you match cookies to ips, right? Or even in the reverse. Doesn’t really matter. You’re always broadening, you’re, you’re essentially broadening, right?

And so you don’t really know for sure that this is the individual household that you want. And so, um, you know, you’re trying to get, you know, Mark’s house. Then you end up with Eric’s house and Adrian’s house and everybody’s house, you know, along the way trying to get to Mark. And you may or may not have got to Mark.

So we wanted to get direct to the person. And so we built these connections. We finally took us two years to do. We built all these connections and, um, we’re able to onboard data directly into the platform, um, and, uh, and then serve ads on a one to one basis. But the beauty of this is because of our relationship with these platforms, now we’re able to bring down all these barriers to entry.

So like, if you go to a, you know, a random, you know, television station or something, they wanna sell you o t OTT ads or streaming television ads. Um, you know, there’s usually a, a really large monthly minimum to do it. You gotta create a commercial, You gotta do this big, you know, maybe it’s 10,000 if you’re lucky.

I’ve seen as high as 25,000, $50,000 minimums. Um, if you wanna try and go direct onto some of these platforms, you know, you have to commit to spend a million dollars for the year. Like there’s, there’s high barriers of entry to do some of these things. And, um, uh, so the average small business, the average furniture store, the average mattress store, the average appliance store, the average retailer, Is not gonna be doing this because they simply look at it and go, Well, I can’t afford to put all my eggs in that basket.

And I don’t blame them for thinking that way. Right? I wouldn’t do it either if I was them. That’s a lot of money and a big commitment for not really knowing if something’s gonna work or not, but this is the one last medium. Where the consumer can’t skip the ad. So you have eyeballs on your ad the entire time.

They can’t skip it, they can’t pass forward through it. You know, even if you, on most, uh, streaming platforms, even if you DVR it or cloud, you know, save it, whatever they wanna call it, um, You still are forced to watch the ads afterwards. Even Hulu, when you subscribe and say, I want ad-free Hulu, you still get ads.

So, you know, like, um, it, it’s like, it’s one of those things where, um, you, you have to be in this medium as a retailer, and so we wanna break down those walls. And so we basically got rid of minimum commitments of, of, of monthly spend. I mean, um, you know, for general OTT we’re bringing on people onto the platform, spending as little as like $1,500 a month right now.

Um, but they’re out there advertising on tv, um, and they’re just advertising to the premium people in their market, you know, from O T T plus, which is the proprietary thing that we created that allows us to serve on a one to one level side of this. It’s a little bit more expensive. But you know what? It’s a little bit more expensive.

Um, but we still, like, the monthly minimum on that is like $5,000 a month. But so there’s still the ability there for, Hey look, I can get you in on OTT because I can cut down the cost of doing all this cause I don’t have to pay all those people in between. So now, hey, I can bring on anybody to do ott and if you have a little bit more money and you want to go forward with OTT plus and just start selecting people out of the market and hit them with a television ad, then you can do that as well.

Um, and then the, the, the creme de la creme of it all is. You can do a matchback at the end. So we actually know whether or not these ads work or not. We match up the online ads to the in-store sales, so we know these people were driven by traffic and why, and then we can optimize from there. So, you know, we’re really just trying to say like, Hey, This is a great medium in our company.

When we first started, we were doing display advertising. That’s the only place that we could do what we did. We did it on display and it worked fairly well. Um, and we were very successful and we said, We gotta figure out a way to get this into social. Cause we know social is something that’s really gonna help our customers a lot.

So we did that and it helped our customers immensely. Um, uh, ROIs went up significantly. Um, you know, interaction on ads, engagement, everything just went up and up. And, Um, and we looked at, um, streaming television ads as that next medium that we had to add because we know that it will, um, it’ll do that. And so, um, that’s what we’ve been doing.

We’ve been beta testing it now, um, since, um, last spring, basically with, uh, with retailers throughout the United States. And, um, we just rolled it out at basically High Point Market to everyone to let them know that, hey, look, now it’s available to everybody to come on and do this. Um, and so we expect, like even just from our own company, like well, like, we’re gonna probably double in size next year just from adding this one thing.

Um, it’s that impactful

Mark Kinsley: Talking with Eric Grindley, CEO of Esquire advertising, taking us to school here on O T T, and this to me is over the top. Because when you think about the existing landscape for the traditional independent furniture mattress appliances dealer, or even some people to have a little bit of a larger operation, many of them built their businesses on the backs of TV and maybe some radio.

But it’s a great way to cut through the clutter. It was a great way for people sitting in their homes to get to know you and tell them who you were and what you did so that when they were ready. Yeah, because you know, it’s a long purchase cycle. So a lot of people understand tv. They understand how to create.

You know, great content around TV advertisements and promotions and offers and all the different elements that go into making great spots. But as the landscape shifted and people cut the cord, I think they’re having a hard time navigating how to get there. And like you, you laid out in the very beginning of this, All of the different hands in the honey pot along the way have raised the costs of this and made it inaccessible and hard to track.

And you guys have really solved a lot of those problems. When you think about OTT you just said that it’s gonna double the size of your business likely in the next year. How, how are you gauging that? Is that based on demand that you’re picking up right now?

Eric Grundley: Yeah. Um, so, uh, it’s interesting, like when we started telling people about this, like, you know, Think about it.

You mean even just outside of retail? Right? But like who has a business that doesn’t wanna advertise on tv? Right. Like if you could advertise on TV for any business, you would now, you might not want to do it in the linear sense anymore because you understand that most people dvr, they don’t really watch commercials, they’re gonna skip channels, They’re gonna do all that.

Right. So, um, and like you don’t really get, like, even like the, the, the, all the metrics the same out of linear that you get out of ott, right? Like viewability and stuff like that. Like nobody really knows like, hey, did they change the channel? Right. Um, uh, on, on an OTT placement, you know that, right? Um, so, uh, I, I just as we talk to businesses of all sizes and all shapes and all industries and we say, Hey look, you know, you own a restaurant.

You know, like, have you ever thought about advertising on television? Um, yeah, we’ve always thought about doing it like, but like that just costs too much money. Well, what if I told you that it didn’t cost that much money? What if I could get you on there for $2,000 a month and like you could advertise to everybody that visits this plaza that where your, where your, um, restaurant is.

Like, it just, it’s such an, an easy thing for Google to understand of why that would be powerful. And it’s just a matter of, of, of getting the word out for it. So like, you know, even just in our business, we’re taking strides to like, you know, we’re adding territory sales managers across the country to go out and actually pound the pavement and get the word out.

Um, we’re gonna be, we’re gonna be launching our own commercial that we’re gonna be running nationwide, um, on, uh, O T T and streaming television ads. Um, but we’re only running it to business owners and, uh, employees and managers basically. So we’re not gonna be running it to the masses. We’re gonna select our audience just like we would.

For one of our clients. Like, we’re not gonna advertise everybody. Not everybody’s the person. We’re just gonna go after the owners of the businesses and the managers of those businesses in the places that we’re going to, um, target with people first. And, um, so, uh, you know, I, I like, you know, it’s like we solve the problem that helps us too, you know?

Um, like I wouldn’t want to go and just do an ad to the masses for an advertising product. Nine. Like what? Like, not even half of those people are like, like, own a business. You know what I mean? Like, it’s, it, you know, it’s so, um, you know, you have to, you have to be able to find that person. You have to be able to find the audience.

And so, uh, for us, yeah, I mean demand for sure. Um, we’ve, we’ve been planning for this, the, the, in all Aussie, the integration took way longer than we were expecting, right? We were supposed to have launched this at the beginning of this year. We hired, uh, I don’t know, like 20, 20, 25 new people in advance of, of this thing to get ready to launch this.

And then we had all these extra people that like, you know, we still obviously put ’em to work, but, you know, I mean, we have a lot of extra people where we didn’t really need them necessarily because we didn’t have it launched and ready to go, but we had to hire them and get ready for it. Um, and so it’s already starting to pan out.

Like we know that it’s, it’s just gonna keep on growing and growing,

Mark Kinsley: growing. It’s incredibly exciting stuff and I. Some of what you touched on here at the very end, we’re gonna have to have you back on the show to talk to, speak to. Yeah. Because for those who don’t know, a big piece of what Esquire advertising does and does in a world class capacity is device targeting, uh, gathering data, synthesizing that data into finding the exact person who’s like an in-market shopper, uh, and that that person can be tracked, you know, via location.

Enabled services on their phone. And so when you’re talking about serving it up to the individual, I think that’s a whole other piece that we can come back and unpack. We’re out of time on this one cuz we keep ’em snackable to 15 minutes. But Eric bringing the thunder ad, we gotta close the loop on this trivia question.

Give it to us one more time, Eric, as our co-host today. You’re going to be the

Eric Grundley: guesser. How about that? Yep. You do get to be the

Adrienne Woods: guesser. Okay, so what percentage of 18 to 23 year olds say that it’s easier to read print rather than digital ads? So is it 27%, 54%, 78%, or

Eric Grundley: 92%? I’d say it’s either, it’s, I’m guessing it’s either 78 or 92, and I think 92 seems a little high.

So I’m gonna go with 78, and I’ll tell you the reason for this before you tell me whether not right or wrong, is because, um, we’ve done lots of studies with, um, direct mail companies and they swear that, um, that young people are really interested in direct mail. Now they don’t actually end up using this direct mail, but they like getting mail because it’s something that’s new to them.

Um, and so, uh, so I’m gonna guess it’s 78.

Adrienne Woods: So you’re actually it’s, it’s 92%, which surprised me. Yeah, I did not, I did not expect it to be that high at all. But yes, 92% of 18 to 23 year olds say that it’s easier to read print rather than digital. And I would agree with that. And I’m 35. Yeah. So it makes sense.

Yeah. But I’ve also heard that there is now a trend towards going back to physical books as opposed to Kindle and everything else. People like the pages. So I do. It makes sense. I agree.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. Yep. I’m, I’m still stuck in that world, but of course I read my, my fiction at night, It’s probably my front of my bedtime routine.

Yep. And, you know, I don’t want blue light daytime spectrum light shooting into my pupil, so I gotta go analog on that stuff.

Eric Grundley: Well, so I just, I just started 75 hard, 25 days ago, um, where you have to like, you know, I dunno if you’ve ever heard of the Andy thing For sure. I, and so I, I started reading more and.

For me, like, you know, with one part of it you have to read using a real book. That’s part of the challenge. But, um, I actually find that like if I get like a hardcover book, like it it for something, it’s just way more engaging to me. Yeah. Love it.

Mark Kinsley: Well, I, my friend Jeff Veech was just talking about hard 75, so we’ll have to circle back on that as well.

Yeah. See how it brings your brain alive and makes you even more creative. It’s possible for you. Eric, you’re, you’re awesome. Thanks for sharing your, your wisdom with. And, uh, if anybody wants to get in touch with you, we’ll put your contact information to your link, to your website in the show notes. And hey, if you’ve got a, a, a marketing idea, a tip or a topic you’d like us tackle, head over to, uh, to

You can text us on our podium number there on the bottom right. And Adrian, be sure to subscribe, Everybody, go subscribe right now on your Apple Podcast or Spotify because we never want you to miss an idea that can

Eric Grundley: make you a

Adrienne Woods: TV advertising genius.

Mark Kinsley: Genius. Just like Eric Grindley, or at least Eric can guide you and join us each week as we bring you more fam marketing magic.

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