6 Media Planning Strategies to Grow your Marketing Efforts
What Is Media Planning?
The Components of Media Planning
- Audience: Whom is the message targeting? Why is the message relevant to them? How is the message serving them?
- Marketing budget: How much is available to spend on delivering the message?
- Conversion goals: What action should the message encourage the audience to take? How will that action support the strategy?
- Definition of success: What key performance indicators should be tracked? How do they support the strategy? How will they be measured and reported? What is the anticipated return on investment?
- Message frequency: How often should the message be shared? How much is too much?
- Message reach: How many people should receive the message? Where do they live? Is the message platform scalable? How reach is measured depends on the platform being used to deliver the message. It is important for media planners to understand the nature, uses, and usefulness of every available form of media.
The Forms of Media
- Owned media: Owned media consists of original assets, such as blog posts and videos, published directly on platforms owned and operated by the organization attempting to spread the message. The ultimate goal of owned media assets is to go viral — a nice-to-have but unpredictable state that should never be considered the linchpin of any media plan.
- Earned media: Earned media are assets that share the organization’s message but are created by separate parties, such as news stories or profiles in a newspaper or online news site. This typically is a function of public relations or media relations.
- Paid media: These are assets associated with ad spending, such as social media advertisements, paid search ads, paid commercials on TV or radio, or the paid placement of an asset such as a guest blog post on a news website.
The Factors of Effective Media Planning
- Purpose: What is the goal or objective of the campaign? Is it to generate brand awareness? Encourage a user to share contact information or to fill out a form? How does the asset support the larger marketing strategy? All of these questions must be answered very early in the planning process.
- Audience: Who is the targeted consumer? Who will benefit from watching, listening, or reading the piece of content? Who is likely to buy the service or product or to develop a long-term relationship with the brand? The purpose and the audience go hand in hand.
- Reach: How many people are targeted by a particular media platform, and at what frequency? Reach and frequency — the number of times a potential customer is offered the chance to read, watch, or listen to the asset — are related. Not every potential audience member consumes media at the same rate. The more often a video or ad is shared, the more likely it is to be seen.
Media Planning Strategies
1. Selecting Relevant Media Channel(s)
2. Determining the Relevant Timeline
3. Coordinating the Channel Mix
4. Leveraging Audience Targeting
5. Setting Reach and Frequency Goals
6. Choosing a Voice
Understanding the Difference Between Reach and Frequency: Additional Resources
Steps to Developing a Media Plan
1. Conduct Market Research
2. Clarify the Objective
- Brand awareness and loyalty: Tell or show a user what the company and its people are all about.
- Thought leadership: Show or tell a user why the organization and its people are experts in the field.
- Information: Give users data or history they can use in their professional or personal lives.
- Lead generation: Build the pool of potential customers by demonstrating how a product or service could be of use.
- Lead conversion: Provide a means for a potential customer to actively seek more information or create an ongoing connection with the organization.
3. Identify the Target Audience
- Mine the analytics. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms provide deep dives into consumer data such as geographic location, websites visited, and personal and professional interests. Mine these sources for information to learn more about consumers who already are engaged with the organization.
- Conduct focus groups and surveys. Invite current users and customers to participate in fact-finding sessions, or use surveys to ask questions that will shed light on why people use products when and how they do.
- A/B test. Testing the public responses to different types of content can reveal what works and what does not. An A/B test presents slightly different versions of content, such as an ad with the same words but different images. The version that performs better can be duplicated, while the other can be tweaked or used in further testing.
4. Set the Budget
Media Planning vs. Media Buying
How Media Planners and Buyers Work Together
Executing the Media Plan
- Recommend paid advertising options
- Buy ad space for a specific campaign
- Negotiate rates for content distribution
- Work with the content team to ensure all visual and wording guidelines are met (especially true for social media ads)
- Set spending limits for paid search campaigns
- Conduct campaign analysis to ensure cost efficiency