Let’s say you’ve come up with a great idea for an advertisement, infomercial, or news feature. How do you get the word out to the largest audience possible? How would you go about planning this commercial or feature? Perhaps most importantly, what type of media should you use to disseminate it? What is going to be the most cost effective solution? These are important questions that media planning and buying professionals are asking all the time. As it happens, there are no easy answers, as every message is different. For this reason, media planning and buying are incredibly important disciplines that every serious business should make use of to make promotional decisions. Let’s go over how these disciplines work.
Media planning has to do with the decision process that determines what types of media outlets are going to be used for a given marketing campaign. There are quite a bit of considerations that go into this process, and any given decision can lead to wide exposure and revenue growth, or audience mismatch and unproductive sunken costs.
What are you looking to communicate? Is this idea going to look better in print or in a video? Maybe you should target both mediums? Further, print and video break down into newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, billboards, direct mail, and many other types of avenues, each with their own characteristics and strengths.
There are also multiple levels to consider in different types of media. For example, TV and radio operate on national and local levels. Each of these levels comes with its own price tag, so you will want to take stock of your budget and determine how broadly you want to market. Different types of media will also reach varied target demographics, so your message will carry more weight on a media that is more effective at reaching your target audience. Good media planning results in the greatest amount of exposure and impact, for the lowest cost.
Media buying refers to the execution of the media plan. This process is equally important to the planning process, as it determines whether your plan is effective. Media buyers take the media plans into account and set out to purchase actual media slots in order to disseminate the advertising message.
Media buyers accomplish this by negotiating pricing with media outlets for specific slots of time on specific advertising spaces. This requires extensive knowledge of the characteristics of a given media outlet. Different types of advertising spaces feature different demographics and rates of return depending on the time and place the message is presented. Local outlets differ from national outlets, and different mediums have their own rates of effectiveness depending on the message you are looking to convey, as well as the product or service you are looking to promote.
Many marketing campaigns of this nature require optimization periods in which media buyers pay careful attention to media performance, and then make the necessary adjustments to the campaign in order to generate the highest ROI.
Bringing It All Together
Media planning and media buying are multidisciplinary processes that require a keen understanding of demographics, geographic characteristics, psychology, communication, and much more. Every product and service has a certain audience, and there are many different ways to communicate and promote a given product or service.
Not all promotional activities are equally effective, and it takes time and experience to master the practice of optimization. Media planning and buying work best when they are done in combination. A great plan can fall flat if it isn’t executed properly, and in the same way, a poor plan is going to see a disappointing execution.
Professional planning and buying services more than pay for themselves in this regard. Professionals know the ins and outs of developing an integrated planning and buying campaign. A skilled media buying company already has the connections and experience to arrange an effective campaign, and you don’t have to spend all of that time and energy trying to reinvent the wheel. Now is the time to get started with your planning and buying campaigns.