The secret weapon for startups: How to reach a mass market, build a brand and maximize success

Most consumer-facing startups fail because they spend far too long focusing on innovators and early adopters, rather than… consumers. The short-term sales mindset at launch undermines a long-term strategy. The result, too often: being stuck in the valley of death and ultimately failing, because an otherwise good product or service has never reached the majority of customers. 

So how can such companies avoid this fate and reach their full potential? The answer (proven by facts, not fake news) remains the greatest brand-building medium ever created – television advertising. 

Startups overlook the world’s most powerful marketing channel, unaware that they can access it

We’re in an age of data and analytics, yet on a weekly basis, based on nothing more than limited perception, I hear “TV is dead.” Nothing could be further from the truth, consulting the vast amounts of data on viewers’ behaviour, produced on a second-by-second basis by an unbiased, third-party organisation. In Austria, 86% of moving-image consumption falls on linear television, increasing across all target groups. Daily TV consumption remains staggering: people aged 14+ watch 225 minutes of TV per day – including 12 minutes of advertisement per hour1. 

That penetration – 97% of Austrians EVERY MONTH – shapes individual opinion, above all other marketing channels2. As an audiovisual, storytelling medium, television captures its audience on an emotional level, boosting the advertised brands’ credibility and preference. This translates to the biggest influence on purchasing decisions, TV produces an average ROI of 257%, the best return of any advertising channel3. There’s a reason tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google/Youtube – the world’s three biggest digital advertising companies – spend tens of millions of dollars each year, and growing, on TV ads.

Given this, our content strategy at the Media Group RTL Germany involves accelerating viewer’s loyalty towards our channels. We invest in our own productions: with €80B spent in 2018 for German content alone, we’ve increased the share of in-house production at RTL to over 90%. And this self-created content can thus be customised to specific target groups’ wants and needs, increasing reach and brand loyalty and ultimately offering a perfect, high-quality environment for advertisers to place their ads – a win-win-win.

The Media Group RTL offers a service especially designed for fast-moving, innovative companies

For most of the television era, TV advertising wasn’t accessible for young or small-/medium-sized businesses, without having to give up equity for an opaque, one-time service. At IP Austria, a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest media house (RTL Group), itself owned by one of the world’s biggest media houses (Bertelsmann), we follow a different strategy. By hiring an entrepreneur to head the Unit 3 we now offer a service suited to the needs of fast-scaling, ever evolving and pivoting startups. 

The exclusive advertising time marketing agency of the Media Group RTL in Austria is giving companies access via a cost-effective media4revenue share model. Startups mostly pay for the service with the revenue generated during the ad campaign. IP has positioned itself as a performance-based partner and therefor as success-driven. That gives startups huge upside, with very little risk. At IP, we’re seeking to begin long-haul relationships. Why? Because, we understand that healthy startups become future unicorns, job producers – and long-term advertising partners. With huge successes with this model from the very beginning, we’re here to stay. 

© Tamás Künsztler

Camilla Sievers, Head of Unit3 at IP Österreich