Definition: Media planning can be defined as a process of identifying when, where, and why, media content will be shared with the target audience of a business.
Media plays an essential role in the success of any business irrespective of its size and the type of industry. With the help of media content like pamphlets, photos, videos, social media content, an advertisement, a business stays connected with its target audience and shares information with them.
Media content is very important as it is helpful in creating brand awareness, engagement with the target audience, conversion, and revenue generation. In addition to this, the way you share your media content also helps you in differentiating from your competitors.
However, if media content shared on different platforms and in various forms is shared without planning, then this might leave your audience confused, and your purpose of sharing media content will remain unfulfilled. Therefore, it becomes very important to plan, organize, and distribute your media content in a planned manner.
In the process of media planning, it is determined that what media content will be shared with the target audience at different media channels in order to boost engagement with the audience and to increase the conversion rate.
What is Media Planning?
Media planning is a process of the selection of mixed media channels using which marketing message will be shared with the target audience. By media planning, organizations ensure that at what time and through which marketing channel and how often advertisement will be run so that maximum engagement and return of interest can be achieved.
Through media planning, media planners not only ensure that the best media platforms are used to distribute the media content but also the optimization of the performance of the media content throughout the entire marketing campaign.
While planning, it is important to consider the type of product or service being advertised, the target audience for the advertisement, and the goal of advertising. Many organizations outsource the work of media planning to other specialized organizations, whereas most organizations perform this task within the organization.
If you are also going to start media planning for your product or service, then following are a few things that you must know.
What “to do” during Media Planning?
1. Decide your budget
The first and the most important thing that you must decide cautiously and with proper planning is the budget of your marketing campaign. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult to keep your marketing expenditure within the limits of your marketing budget. Therefore, deciding marketing budgets is essential during media planning.
However, deciding the budget is not enough; you should use the allocated funds to advertise the marketing message. Allocate your marketing funds in such a way so that you allocate maximum funds to the media that your audience consumes.
For example, if your target audience is young people aged between 16-40, then you should spend a maximum part of your budget on the advertisement on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Lastly, I would say allocating funds is your decision but make sure that you take a calculated decision so that you get maximum return on investment.
2. Understand your audience
Understanding your audience is the most important part of media planning. It is impossible to prepare an effective marketing plan without understanding the target audience and their demands.
You can conduct market research to learn about your demographic audience and to make sure that the marketing strategy that you are preparing is right to reach your target audience.
By understanding your audience, you learn how your audience finds your business and what are the platforms that they maximum engage with your ad content. What type of information interests them? Whether they prefer online mediums or offline mediums? And what are the media platforms that they interact with throughout their day?
Having answers to all above questions helps you in creating an effective media plan for your business.
3. Decide your goals of advertising
An advertisement campaign without a goal is ineffective. Once you have the solid knowledge of your target audience and what kind of media platforms they prefer then you should move to decide the goals of your advertising.
Your advertising goals can be either to boost the sales of your product or to increase the awareness of your brand.
What “not to do” during Media Planning?
1. Deviate from your strategy
It is common for marketers to deviate from their media planning under the pressure of to reach goals and to maximize their return on investment. It is quite challenging to adhere to the original plan in such circumstances.
Once you have created a media plan after thorough research, then put all your efforts into sticking with it.
2. Underestimating test and track your media campaign
Testing and tracking of your media plan is necessary in order to understand whether your media plan is successful or not and to make any kind of required changes.
In this way, you can make sure that you achieve the maximum return on investment. Decide the metrics that you will use to analyze the impact of your marketing efforts. The metrics could be lead count or conversion rate. Use the gathered data to improve your marketing campaign.
3. Avoiding omnichannel approach
In the old times, it was enough for a business to advertise their products through one media platform. In the present digital era, people consume information through different platforms. Therefore, it is necessary for a marketer to prepare an omnichannel approach so that you can engage your target audience through various mediums.
In this way, you can create an integrated media experience for your target audience irrespective of the medium they interact with your business. This will increase your chances to reach a large number of audience.
For example, you can reach your young audience through mobile and computer screens and can reach old age groups through television or print media marketing methods. It is important to keep all of these things in mind while preparing your media plan.
Creating a Media Plan
The objective of a media plan is to reach your target audience. The target audience is those people who are most likely to buy your products.
You can make the use of advertisements to educate and inform your target audience about your product and its qualities. In addition to this, you can also make the use of advertisements to persuade your customers to buy your products at the place of buying the products of your competitors.
Keep following things in mind while preparing a media plan so that you can prepare a cost-effective and efficient media plan.
The first thing that you should consider is the number of people that you want to reach within a decided period of time, such as in a week or a month.
The second important thing that you keep in mind is the number of times you want your audience to see your advertisements. Higher the frequency higher will be the chances of conversion.
But you need to keep the cost of advertising also in mind. For example, running an advertising ad in a newspaper can prove to be very expensive and out of your budget.
3. Cost per thousand
Calculate the cost per thousand. The cost per thousand can be calculated by dividing the total cost of advertising with the thousands viewers or subscribers of the media.
For example, while calculating the advertising cost on newspapers, you will divide the total cost of advertising with the total number of subscribers.
Selectivity means choosing the media platforms that are the most effective platforms for the sale of your products. For example, advertising a luxury product in local newspapers will be a waste of money.
Not every media platform is right for the advertisement of your product. Because each media platform has a different impact on the audience.
For example, advertising on television and computers might appeal to your audience through sound and sight, and on the other hand, advertisements in magazines appeal to your audience through smell and pictures. Keep in mind what senses will impact more the purchasing decision of your customers.
Challenges of Media Planning
Media planning is a challenging task as there are various factors involved in it. A marketer is required to keep all these factors in mind while preparing a media plan. The following are the main challenges that one faces during media planning.
1. Target audience
It is very important to understand the target audience deeply in order to decide what kind of marketing messages will resonate with your audience most.
2. Preference of different platforms
A business must also know that their audience engages with which platforms and when. This information will help you to choose the right media platforms to run your marketing campaign.
3. Heavy budget focus
Budget is one of the most important factors that affect media planning, because of its high importance marketers consider the budget before considering the engagement of the media platform.
Budgets are usually not flexible, which makes it difficult to modify the ad campaign as per the requirement of the situation. The flexible marketing budget is necessary for the success of media campaigns.
4. Difficult to measure the performance of each media platform
In the present times, there are so many online as well as offline media platforms to market your product or service that it has become difficult for media marketers to determine which platform is more effective than the other.
Benefits of Media Planning
Media planning plays an important role in the success of your business and increases revenue generation.
1. Learning about the preferences of your target audience
It is very important for a business to learn what their target audience prefers. Having this knowledge not only helps you to improve your products and services but also satisfies your customers.
2. Help in choosing the right media platform
Advertising on all available media platforms is very expensive. With the help of media planning, you can choose the right media platform for advertising purposes.
3. Right timing and frequency
Reaching your audience at the right time is the key to boost your business. Media planning helps you to determine the right time and frequency for your advertisement placement.
4. Keeping up with the latest technology and the latest media trends in the market.
5. It helps you to stick to your budget.
6. Lastly, you can learn whether your media campaign was a success or not and can use this information to improve your marketing efforts.
Pinky is an MBA in Marketing from the University of Mumbai. She loves helping people out in learning Marketing and sharing latest ideas and tactics for growing businesses.