The Importance of a Media Planner
Our very own Media Planner, Vanessa Shipley, discusses why it’s important to utilize a Media Planner to craft a solid marketing campaign.
The Importance of a Media Planner
By Vanessa Shipley
Traditional and digital advertising is a massive industry that can be overwhelming for a business to navigate—particularly when advertising sales representatives come highly equipped with an arsenal of data to convince you that their advertising outlet is the best way to reach potential customers. It may well be, but can be difficult for someone not well versed in advertising analytics to effectively determine. That’s where working with a media planner can be highly beneficial.
The first thing is understanding what exactly media planners do and how they can help a brand make the most of their advertising budget. Media planners are highly educated and trained to help brands reach their intended target audiences and achieve their marketing goals through paid advertising campaigns. They gather information from media suppliers such as radio and television stations, out of home companies, print publications, websites and digital networks. This information is combined with other relevant sources such as local market surveys, ratings data, advertising trends, and prior knowledge of the industry to create a strategic media recommendation that maps back to the client’s overall marketing objectives and campaign goals.
Over the past decade, our team has developed a proven media planning process that continues to deliver measurable results for our clients time and again. The process is effective because it’s individualized, not only for the brand, but also for the specific campaign. For each campaign that is developed, our team creates a customized media planning timeline to encompass the six phases of the process:
This process begins with our team gathering and analyzing information relevant to the campaign including client-provided as well as syndicated, third party data. From there, the planning parameters for the campaign are defined and confirmed with the client. This includes target audience, geography, budget, timing/seasonality, and creative considerations. From there we define the media objectives and strategies for the campaign-essentially what are we trying to accomplish with this budget and how are we going to do it. The next phase is where our team recommends the media mix, i.e. which media types should be included in the plan. Once approved, we move on to media tactics—the details of the plan including specific media suppliers, flighting, negotiated rates, etc. The plan is then presented in a visual format—the media flowchart—for final approval.
Our process is also quite interactive, including the participation and approval of the client before moving forward to each next phase. Ample time is built in to allow the planning team time to do their diligence as well as for the client to review and secure the necessary buy-in from their team before we move forward. Also included in the process is sufficient time for our planning team to strategically negotiate rates, ratings, and placements, including added value, on behalf of the client. The traffic team is also working alongside the planners to create a production timeline and deliver all necessary mechanical specs and deadline information to the client or the team in charge of producing ads for the campaign. All teams work in harmony to deliver a plan on time and on spec. Because the client is approving each stage along the way, the end result is a thoughtful, strategic plan ready for implementation. Time is not wasted going back to the drawing board because the client’s budget or some other parameter has changed along the way and was not communicated to the agency, or a stakeholder on the client’s team had not been able to review the plan prior to delivery.
A thoughtful process and solid, resulting media plan are a great start, however alone cannot ensure success. There are many integral pieces that work together to achieve an effective ad campaign that garners real, measurable results for a client. A strong media plan must be executed with a solid creative message and compelling artwork. For example, a client can have the most eye-catching and captivating ad campaign, but if it doesn’t land in front of the right eyes at the right time, then results are likely to fall flat. Conversely, without compelling creative messaging, even the best-laid media plan can deliver less-than-desirable results. The consumer’s sales experience must also be well thought through to ensure maximum engagement and conversion. These things working together in tandem will bring measurable results.
Much like the importance of location in real estate, and timing in life, getting your message in front of the right people at the right time is essential to success in advertising. Without a seasoned media planner to identify the best options, much of a brand’s marketing budget can be wasted. Working with an expert will bring a greater understanding of the target audience, a more strategic plan, and ultimately greater results. The paid media investment is generally the largest within the overall marketing budget—don’t understate the value of media planning and its role to ensure that your brand receives the highest possible return on investment.