Media planning

Once you have your advertising idea, you need to consider media planning and buying. How will your advertising get out to a larger audience? What are the key media channels to consider and how do you go to market? How do you get the best out of your media agency?

Media planning

Once you’ve gone through the process of evaluating your advertising, what then?

This is where your thoughts should be turning to media. You’ll either be engaging the services of a media agency or buying your own media. 

Media brief

Whichever route you choose to buy media, we highly recommend writing a media brief. The key question to ask in the media brief is :-

‘Are we reaching the right people in a meaningful way at an efficient cost conveying what we want to convey?

Your media brief should include

  • the target audience (to reach the right people)
  • the brand identity (for media to be meaningful)
  • the budget (to be at an efficient cost) and
  • conveying what we want to convey (the outline of the advertising idea).

These are the minimum things you need to start media planning.

As part of your media planning, you’ll also need to decide whether your advertising message requires a broadcast or narrowcast approach.

With a broadcast approach the same message goes to a large group or people. With a narrowcast approach, specific tailored messages go to smaller groups of people.

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Traditional media channels

Traditional media channels include TV, print, outdoor, radio and cinema. These channels are less dominant than in the past and are reinventing themselves in order to remain relevant. 

The big challenge facing traditional channels is the fragmentation of media opportunities. There is more media space for sale than there are advertisers willing to buy the space. This pushes down the advertising fees that can be charge for the advertising space. 

Traditional media channels do still attract large audiences when the content is right. Think about big live sports events or the latest ‘must-see’ drama. For bigger brands, traditional channels can still be an effective channel for large scale reach.

Media Agency Role

With traditional media, your media agency has both experience and negotiating power with the media providers. They’ll be negotiating media buying rates as a total company – with your budget AND their other clients. While you won’t get the full discount rate from the media provider (this is where the agency makes it money), you’ll still likely get a better deal than if you negotiate on your own. 

The key thing to look out for when media planning in this type of campaign is ‘reach and frequency’.

Reach is how many people in your target audience will see your advert. Frequency is how often they will see the advertising. Frequency is important as seeing an advert once is usually not enough to convince a consumer to buy. You’d normally be looking for a frequency of at least 3 or more to be impactful.

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Digital media channels

Smaller and newer brands are much more likely to start media planning with digital channels, These channels include search, social and online display advertising. Companies like Google and Facebook have made it cheap and accessible for small businesses to carry out highly targeted campaigns. The buying is relatively automated and does not always need a media agency to support.

Unlike dealing with a media agency or directly with a media provider, there’s generally no negotiation on the rate paid for the media space. Using tools like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, you look for your target audience,  set your media goals and then decide if the price is worth the investment.

Digital media channels are helpful to get to market faster or to test out concepts without spending too much. Digital media can be a cluttered and competitive space. For larger brands digital may not always offer the scale that traditional channels offer.

Media investment and ROI

It’s likely that outside production or staff costs, media  will be the single biggest expense in the business. So, it is worth being really close to how the money is being spend and understanding the return on investment. You should have clear goals and measures to determine if a media spend has delivered. 

How many more units do you need to sell to cover the cost of the media spend? If you spend a million on advertising but only generate $100,000 in profit, then clearly that’s not going to lead to long-term success. 

It’s for that reason that we really like digital channels as a good place to start in media planning. You can go into those channels with relatively small investments and see what works and what doesn’t. As you learn what your target audience responds to and doesn’t respond to, you can build up your confidence and expertise. Then you can start spending more smartly in broader digital and traditional media channels to grow your business.

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Three-brains and marketing communications

We have worked on many marketing communications projects and have good experience across all aspects of communications. We know how to connect these expertise areas back into driving your brand marketing and growing your sales. 

If you want to know more about how we can support your marketing communications to grow your business  through our coaching and consulting services, click the button below to send us a message.

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