Things to know when media planning

By Scott Gebler, Marketing Manager

Know Your Audience.

Before you can find the best channels to reach your audience, you have to know exactly who they are.  Sit down internally (or with your client) and assess your audience down to the last detail. What are their demographics? Where are they physically located? If you’re B2B, what industry or industries are they in? What kinds of companies do they work for? What are their specific job titles?

Write everything down, condense it, and circulate it throughout the company for more input and ideas – a worksheet like this can be more helpful than you might think in determining what media channels you will need to look into.

…Know More About Your Audience.

Take it a step further – ask yourself:
•    What matters to my audience?
•    Why should they care about my product/service?
•    Why should they choose us over the competition?
•    What media are they really paying attention to?

You might end up discovering that the features/benefits you think are important don’t really matter to your audience – or that they’re not actually interested in the media channel you prefer.

A good media partner (like North Coast Media {ahem}) is probably already gathering this kind of information through audience surveys, polls, or third-party audits. Ask for it.

Know Your Budget.

“That’s all I have to say about that” – Forrest Gump

Know that Bigger isn’t Always Better.

A lot of times, the first instinct will be to lean towards the media with the largest audience number. While a lot of times that’s great, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore a channel with a smaller audience. That list might be half the size, but double the quality.

Again, ask the media provider if they have detailed audience insights.

Know Your Schedule.

Once you’ve set your media plan, make sure you’re prepared to follow through on it. Sure, you’ll know the space close and ad materials dates, but be sure to build in plenty of time for the design, production, review, revisions, re-review, re-revisions, re-design, etc. of your advertisement.  Putting in all the time and effort on a well thought-out media plan… and then having to knock out a rush job ad in 2 days is not the way to go.

Know How You Performed.

There are a number of simple, inexpensive ways you can track the effectiveness of your advertising. Create a trackable vanity toll-free number for a particular ad or per channel (Dial800 and CallFire are two options). Direct your audience to a special landing page. Create special URLs. Use a trackable URL shortener (like Bitly). Provide unique coupon codes or quick response (QR) codes.

When the year – or whatever length of time your media was planned for – is over, these will be invaluable in helping to determine which ads and media channels worked best.

It’s also important to remember that these performance metrics aren’t perfect, though. If you prescribe to the theory that it takes between 6 and 13 marketing “touches” before you generate a sale or lead, there’s probably no way of knowing whether the ad you’re tracking is the first, sixth or thirteenth.