For most businesses, the largest category in your advertising budget is likely to be media costs – the dollars you spend for online advertising, airtime on the radio, print advertisements and television ads. Unfortunately, too many businesses have a scattershot approach to media buying – the person in charge of the budget starts saying yes to the media salespeople who call, advertising appears here and there with no real focus, and when the budget is gone, the person in charge starts saying no – and the campaign is over. If that sounds like how your business handles media buying, you’re passing up serious opportunities to maximize your return on your media buying investment.
Because media buying is such a large investment for most companies, it makes sense to have a sound plan to manage that investment. You’ll want to set goals. You’ll want to create strategies for achieving them. You’ll need to organize the day-to-day activities of carrying out those strategies. And you’ll want to be flexible enough to respond quickly when one media channel underperforms, or another is an unexpected hit. A media plan that begins with an overview and works its way down to the smallest of details will help you with every stage of your marketing efforts.
Developing a media plan involves listing all the media outlets in which you would like your advertising to appear. It should include a detailed analysis of your target audience, their demographics, lifestyle and spending habits. It should detail concrete goals for your media strategy. Finally, it should have a budget and calendar to outline what money is to be spent where, and when.
As mentioned above, your media plan should also have some flexibility. The creative part of media planning comes in balancing reach, frequency and budget constraints to find the best combination of media buys in view of your marketing goals. This is why tracking the success of each segment of your media plan is vital to constantly improving your return on investment – you need to know when certain media outlets shine and others fail to meet expectations, and be able to act quickly to adjust your plan in light of those findings.
Once you have a detailed media plan, you will be in a better position to negotiate with media representatives to execute that plan. Going through the stages of reviewing your options, evaluating them against your goals, developing a strategy that accomplishes your objectives within your budget and developing a schedule describing ad appearances in each medium will help you approach media buying with clarity and purpose, and achieve the maximum return on your media buying investment.