Media Planning is the Key to Advertising Success

Media Planning

We are often asked what is a media plan?  And why is it necessary?  It is critical that your business engage with a company that holds media planning as the key to development of a successful campaign.   The media plan will be written after a search for answers to some of the following questions:

  1. Who are you as a company?
  2. Who is your perfect customer?
  3. Who is your competition?
  4. Is there seasonality to your business?
  5. Who are your competitors?
  6. Are they doing better at generating business?
  7. Where do you want to be in 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?
  8. What is the decision process for your product?
  9. What is the purchase cycle of your product?
  10. What are your marketing challenges?
  11. What have been your marketing “wins”?
  12. What is your current geographic footprint?
  13. Are there opportunities to expand this footprint?
  14. Do you have locations that need more attention than others?

As you can see, there is a need collect a substantial amount of data in this planning process.   The more information that can be gathered, the more targeted the plan can be!

Media Planning Goals and Objectives

Many times, the media plan foundation can be generated from the company’s marketing plan.   However, we find that clients don’t always have an updated marketing plan and are unwilling to spend the time and/or money that it would take to generate.  The goals/objectives can be derived from the questions that were answered above.   The goals and objectives are “measurable” in terms of reach and frequency.   The measurement allows the buyer and planners to understand what percentage of the population needs to be reached and how much frequency of message will be needed to generate success.   These goals will also help define what media strategies need to be implemented to ensure audiences are reached at the appropriate level, and with the appropriate frequency.

The media plan goal example is to reach 80% of the target audience an average of 5 times per week during each week of the campaign.   This type of information would tell the buyer that she or he needs to purchase 400.0 Rating Points per week targeted at the potential consumer.   The formula is Reach times Frequency equals Rating Points.   A “Rating Point” equals 1% of the targeted population.

An experienced planner will be able to provide recommendations of Reach and Frequency based on the purchase cycle of your product and services, how much competition there is within the product category and other factors.

Choosing Target Audience

Choosing a target audience has evolved with the availability of different channels that allow for defining target audiences more closely than just age and gender.   Gone are the days that we simply state that we want to reach Adults 25-54, and not have a better definition of who is most likely to be our target audience for a campaign.   With the channels that are available today, and the audience analysis that can be generated, we can build campaigns that are highly targeted to those who are most likely to respond to the content of your commercials.

Here are some things to consider when building the target audience for your campaign:

  • Type of campaign – Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C)
  • Demographics – age, gender, ethnicity, income, occupation, etc.
  • Interests – intent to purchase, in-market
  • Media Habits – preferred media platforms to engage (desktop, mobile, native, etc.)
  • Are there audience segments that provide greater profitability

Determining Mediums for Your Media Plan

Once the target audiences are defined and reach and frequency goals are detailed, the media planner would then outline the media vehicles that will carry the message to consumers.    If you have a plan that has a high reach goal, then you must first look for reach mediums to achieve this objective.   Reach mediums include television, outdoor, newspaper, etc.   It is difficult to achieve both a high reach and high frequency with one medium.  Media planners most often will recommend a media mix that combines both reach and frequency mediums to achieve the goals of the plan.   Frequency mediums can be radio, digital, social channels.   In a future blog we will discuss the strengths and limitations of different mediums and how they are bought and sold.

The media plan is the foundation of the campaign.  We like to think of it as the “blueprint” that can be given to a buyer and implemented.   Building a house without know the size, the materials, how many people are living there, what their lifestyle is like, etc.   The plan is the starting point.   Placing the campaign is the mid-point.   Analysis and Optimization is the next phase.   Digital strategies can be changed based on the measurement tools, and it is best to optimize to vehicles that are providing the greatest return on investment.   It is important to include measurement conversions on all digital campaigns including social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) as well Google and Display ad paid strategies.

What else is Included in a Media Plan?

Other campaign details that must be considered are:

  • The flight (or timeline) of the campaign
  • Budget allotted to the campaign, and
  • Media channels by which you will reach your target audience.

Based on your campaign goals (i.e. brand awareness or conversions) and your budget, a media planner will help coordinate the flight and channels of the campaign accordingly.

Whether it is through desktop, mobile, tablets, social media, etc., meet your target audience where they are engaging most by analyzing their media preferences.

Building the Media Campaign

Once the media plan has approval from all the parties involved, a media buyer will begin with implementation of each of the media tactics.  Program avails, as well as inventory requests are made, campaigns on digital are built based on the information pulled from the media plan.   An experienced buyer will negotiate rates for all media strategies and build schedules that will deliver the reach and frequencies – and target audience – that is contained the plan document.  Mediums are negotiated based on a cost-per-point (CPP) or cost-per-thousand (CPM).   Please keep in mind that cheapest is not always the best, and the buyer can help you understand the strategy behind selection of programming that makes the most sense to achieve your plan objectives.

Measuring Success and Making Adjustments

As a company, we recommend allowing a campaign to run for several weeks before adjusting the strategies.   We are  careful to not make dramatic adjustments too early, and encourage patience.   As stated earlier, we believe that all campaigns should have measurable conversions.   With all of our digital campaigns, we provide full reporting and suggestions for optimization.   These reports are reviewed, and adjustments made.

Hiring a Media Company to Create and Implement a Media Plan

Advertising is a major investment for companies, and the more educated you are the better.   At Copp Media, we are always happy to sit down and talk about the “whys” of what we do with our partners.   It’s your money, and understanding where, why and how it is being invested should be a priority.    If you would like to talk to our team about your media plan and implementation, give us a call.   We would be happy to discuss.

Sample Media Plan

Below you will see a sample media plan created for a client that shows all the different elements we include.