Regardless of scale or budget, every successful advertising campaign begins with the critical first step of a media plan. Simply put, media planning is what we call the process that advertisers and marketeers go through prior to selecting, buying, and launching ads. The intention is to gauge effectiveness and maximize return on investment (ROI) before deciding where to invest those critical advertising resources.
What a media plan involves:
Research and analysis: Your intended audience(s), market segment stakeholders, lessons learned from previous campaigns, and peers within your category.
Marketing objectives and KPIs (key performance indicators): Your main business objectives and the analytics you will use to evaluate success, including everything from conversion rates to social media metrics to cost per click or result.
Media strategy: Your budget, ideal media and media to avoid (both paid and unpaid), key messages, CTA (call to action), specifications, deliverables, and timeline.
Implementation, evaluation, and measurement: When and how you’ll launch, monitor, and measure the ad campaign’s effectiveness.
This process can take a variety of forms, but the tangible outcome is a media plan document that will serve as a guide throughout your ad campaign. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the advantages of having this plan in place.
You have a tool to measure success
Having a well-articulated media plan allows you to set clear goals and track your process over the course of a campaign. As a result, you will be able to start and stay more organized over the campaign’s lifespan and identify any issues or weaknesses quickly.
You know your budget going in
With a media plan, you can track your budget plan from a performance marketeer point of view (noting any over or underperformance). This means there are no sudden surprises, and you’re able to get maximum return on whatever your initial budget may be.
You have an idea of what to expect on each channel
There will be no surprises, as you’ll have clear expectations for each channel. Further, thanks to your research and analysis, you’ll know your intended audience(s), market segment stakeholders, lessons learned from previous campaigns, and peers within your category. The research you conduct upfront will allow you to understand your audience better, making targeting more effective.
“Having agreed on a media plan at the beginning of the relationship with the client will ensure you have something to refer back to, providing both a confirmation of your initial agreement and a metric by which to gauge success throughout.”
You can offer transparency
Having a concrete plan will also allow you to provide transparent communication with the client. The information you gather in the research and analysis phase will mean you have a firmer grasp of what peers are doing and will have the tools you need to communicate that truthfully. Having agreed on a media plan at the beginning of the relationship with the client will ensure you have something to refer back to, providing both a confirmation of your initial agreement and a metric by which to gauge success throughout.
You’re able to rely on data-driven insights (now and in the future)
Having a media plan will allow you to support any decisions you make throughout a campaign with data-driven arguments. You can also more effectively engage in forecasting (and back up where you got the data from). Perhaps most importantly, having a media plan allows you to glean valuable insights from all your decisions and provide a benchmark against which to compare future ad campaigns.
At GANDT, we’re in the business of providing you with everything you need to maximize any budget and reach your marketing goals. Explore our range of services and get in touch to learn more about your company could benefit from an expertly crafted media plan.