It can be a real journey taking your business message to market. There are so many platforms available to reach consumers and these platforms are constantly evolving. A media plan is a road map for your business, and a media buyer can help you navigate, be your co-pilot if you will, suggesting a media mix that will lead you to your intended destination.
Getting the most mileage out of your marketing budget is the goal of every business. An experienced media buyer knows the media landscape, both locally and nationally, and will work with your vendors to negotiate the best possible rates. It will keep you on top of trends and opportunities in the market, and alert you when it is time to change your marketing media mix.
But here is where enlisting the services of a professional media planner and buyer can really be a game changer for your business. Rather than working with different providers for print, broadcast, and digital to create the right marketing mix - each vendor going in its own direction with its own reports and procedures – you will have one team in charge of creating a cohesive strategy and placing all of your media buys. Having a single, integrated marketing plan, along with consistent execution and reporting will help you to maximize your marketing ROI as well as control your brand and messaging.
The basic starting point for your media plan can be broken down into three steps.
Step 1: Research
Know your audience. What do they watch, listen to, and read? As discussed in a previous blog post, consumers have a variety of methods available to them to learn about and research a product. This presents many opportunities to deliver your message via both traditional media like broadcast and print, and interactive mediums, like social media marketing, or targeted display campaigns. It’s important that you have an intuitive understanding of your clientele, so you understand their consumer habits and motivations and can therefore build a strategy with these behaviors in mind.
If you don’t feel that you do have this deep understanding of your customer base, rather than guessing, enlist the help of your media planner and their agency’s market research resources. These services can range from simple survey format questionnaires that gather numerical or topical data, to consumer survey panels that provide you observational insights. You can then confidently begin targeting your messaging based on the data the market research uncovers.
Know your industry – What is truly unique to your business or your product, and why should consumers care? One huge clue here – it’s not your customer service! That’s an easy answer, but truthfully you’ll need to dig a little deeper to best understand how you can attract clientele. You must consider all the competition that is out there vying for your customers’ dollars, and build your messaging to reflect this.
Step 2: Strategy
Now that we understand WHO we are trying to reach, we can work on HOW we will reach them. Define your goals – brand awareness, increased reach, CTRs. What does success look like? Be specific, and look for ways to measure results as you work to accomplish these goals. A media plan should map out your marketing strategy for the entire year, so consider seasonality and promotions that occur annually. Once you’ve determined your overarching strategy for the year, you can dive deeper into quarterly strategies.
Define your budget – this will determine your reach. You probably won’t have the marketing budget to be impactful everywhere, so where can you find the strongest ROI? Borrell Associates predicts a 42% increase in online spending in 2015, so when figuring our annual budget – how do you compare to national trends year over year?
It is also necessary to include dollars within your budget for the creative needed in each medium, in addition to the actual forecasted media spend. Too often, creative assets are an afterthought but it’s just as important to have a strong message, as it is to pick the place to display that message. The creative messaging necessary to make a roadside billboard impactful is vastly different than one we would create for a 30 second TV spot. However, the underlying messaging in each must be cohesive and easily recognizable to your target audience.
Step 3: Create and execute your plan
We’ve determined WHO and WHAT, now we can choose the WHERE and WHEN. Media mix is important in creating a strategy that makes sense for your target audience as well as your product. It’s vitally important to match your marketing goals to the medium most likely to deliver the results you want. Considering all of the options available for placing a marketing message, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each. For instance, TV could be a place for an overall branding message while targeted display ads may be much more effective at drive targeted website traffic for a specific promotion.
Your media plan should always allow you to fine tune your campaigns to meet your goals. If you aren’t clear on which strategies and tactics work best together, you will benefit from having a media planning team on your side capable of executing, evaluating and adjusting as necessary. Finding the right media mix, even just within the realm of digital marketing alone, can be a challenge. Looking for ideas on how to allocate your digital marketing spend? Check out our FREE eBook, Digital Cocktails, for more information on choosing the right tactics and techniques for your businesses specific goals.