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7 Ways to Butcher A Media Plan

Posted by Scott Christopher on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 16:06 PM

You’ve got a new widget to launch, a fat advertising budget, & slick new creative to promote it - now what?!  You need some savvy media experts to do some research on your prospects and put a media plan together to reach them. The process of formulating that strategy can be extensive and is beyond the scope of a single blog post. But below are a few things to avoid if you want a strong media plan that actually gets results. 

1. Target Nobody or Target Everybody. Believe it or not, we’ve had a client or two that has said they don’t want to reach too wide of an audience with their campaign. But if the target is too limited, that limits your media choices and you should reevalute advertising at all. On the other hand, a target that is too broad makes media choices limitless and makes evaluating success next to impossible. Doing research in the planning period will help you discover who you are trying to reach. If you know the target you’re aiming at, it’s much easier to hit it.

2. Don’t Consult the Creative - We are big believers in “the medium is the message,” and your creative can give you solid hints at what channels you should use. Ideally they should work in tandem. For example this campaign for IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative -- Ogilvy quickly realized this message was a perfect fit for an innovative outdoor campaign.

3. Don’t integrate other departments - It’s a classic problem in advertising/marketing departments: To operate in a silo, not consulting the product development folks, or the sales team. But those people inside your company can be your most effective resource -- they already know the target audience and can provide insight into their media consumption habits.

4. Put all your eggs in one basket, or put your eggs in too many baskets. You don’t want too much of your plan weighted towards one media channel because you’re bound to be missing other prospects who consume media differently. In the same sense, if you’re spread too thin, then you don’t have enough weight in any channel to make any impact.

5. Don’t meet creative deadlines. The importance of this in your media plan cannot be overstated. It doesn’t matter how great we negotiate the ad rate down, or how sexy your creative is, if the ad doesn’t run because the station never receives it, it’s all a waste. That’s why we handle this key process called “trafficking materials” for our clients - it’s vital.

6. Disregard your strategic goals and change your media plan mid-course. If we all spend time researching during planning, arrive at our goals and set a strategy to best achieve them, we shouldn’t change it willy-nilly mid-year, even if sales are down or the board is upset. Trust your research. Trust your strategy. It has to run it’s course to work.

7. Overanalyze the results - Or don’t track results at all. Data is good - hey we’re media geeks, so we love spreadsheets of numbers. But the CTR or coupon redemptions (or whatever your KPI is) should not be the end-all, be-all, but rather one part of a bigger picture including your entire company’s goals. On the other hand, not tracking results at all or doing nothing with the leads you receive is no bueno, too. As with most things in life, balance is good.

So there you have it - 7 ways to butcher your media plan, and your company’s bottom line along with it. Stay tuned to our blog for more great media planning and buying advice.

Topics: Media Agency, media planning, media buying, Media, How To

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