Back in December, I posted some of our initial thoughts on what we think through when putting a media plan together for our client partners. This is part 2 in a series of posts giving you a glimpse into our media planning process.
We recently acquired a new client and have been in the thick of it, putting together a media plan for them. We have discussed their unique local goals, and the various strategies and tactics to achieve them. But another valuable part of the discovery process - if available - is research. Their creative agency had surveyed their existing customer base to get brand perception, as well as insight into their buying habits and more. It provided very valuable insight into their customers and what hurdles we have in the market to get the client's message out. It did not, however, include some information that we media geeks love - media consumption habits of their customers. Whether it's custom research like this, or like our MediaWatch competitive study, or it's just general demographic studies, we believe research empowers better, more strategic marketing. It helps define your targets so we can craft your media plan to hit them.
Another key part of this media planning process is discovering "Sacred Cows." These are those mediums that the CMO MUST see in the plan. Whether that's due to a directive from the board of directors, a reality of the industry that we may not be privy to, or political reasons, (ie. the publisher of a magazine and marketing director are golfing buddies), we like to know about these and accommodate them as much as possible. We of course still evaluate whether these "must haves" are the best media ideas; but at the end of the day we want to please the client.
Finally, an essential to this initial planning process is knowing available budget. It may go without saying that advertising costs money, but knowing how much budget we are working with definitely determines which mediums are viable to include and which are not. If you have a 30 second TV spot produced (which is expensive in and of itself), do you have ample budget to actually run that spot? How much money you have, along with geographic and timing goals, will determine what we recommend, ie. multi-million dollar range means we can consider a national campaign or a robust multi-market broadcast campaign, while $400-$500,000 size budget is going to be perhaps a spot market or a cable plan.
Now, maybe you don't know you're budget. Perhaps you're a marketing director and you have to go to the CEO to get a marketing budget. "How much do I need?" We get this question all of the time. A good rule of thumb is to consider the marketing budget in terms of a percentage of potential annual sales of the product or service you are advertising. Usually a healthy amount is 10-15%, unless it's a new product launch, in which case we recommend 20-25% of projected 1st year revenue. Many may assume that big advertising budgets are best, but we focus more on having an appropriate budget to reach your marketing objectives. Overspending, especially when it comes to specific media channels, is poor stewardship and we're not fans of it. It's our job to make your marketing budget go further and efficiently deliver your audience through an integrated & strategic media plan.
Stay tuned to the blog for more media planning basics.