6 Things Ginger Wishes You Knew About Media Plans
Ah, the media plan. Some people love and embrace it.
Others think it’s a waste of time or too darn expensive.
What it is, really, is the connection between your business and the world. If done right, it doesn’t connect you to the whole world, but very specifically connects you to your ideal customer.
Achieving this goal takes a combination of research, knowledge, planning, expert execution and analytics. Sound tough or complicated or time consuming? Yes, it can be all of these. But as the old adage goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Here are some of the steps in bite-sized pieces to help you get started.
Know your customer.
To get the right mix of media, you need to know who your customers are and where to reach them. Are they on the road seeing billboards? Are they younger people who put a lot of stock in recommendations on social media? Are they people who are detail-oriented and consume informational blog posts? Are they spending more time at home and watching the news? Researching your customer is key information and not something to guess at. It can be worth the time and expense to conduct research so you can create a customer profile or marketing persona.
Strive for a balance.
There should be balance in how your dollars are spent among the various media chosen, but not necessarily equal balance. Set up the percentage of your budget for each medium, giving more weight to the medium that you expect to perform best for you. You may also have to adjust that weighting based on the cost of each medium. For example, television can be more expensive than billboards, which can be more expensive than direct mail.
Remember the Rule of Seven.
Just because there is one media that you expect to be best, don’t think that’s the only media you should use. It’s important to have a mix of media because your customer is in more than one place and you want to have enough coverage to make an impression. The Rule of Seven in marketing posits that your ads need to penetrate a consumer’s consciousness a minimum of seven times to be effective. The best way to do this is to use various media to target your customer.
Decide on a realistic budget.
We can build a plan to almost any budget, but we can’t build a plan with no budget. Speaking of budgets, get ready to be realistic. Do a little research so you’ll know that billboards might costs $1,500 to $4,000 per month or more, each. Or that many small businesses can achieve results on promoted posts on Facebook for as little as $200 a month. If you want television, be prepared to pay for production and placement. Marketing budgets will vary by industry, location, size of business and other factors. What’s important is to put effort into what your budget can afford.
Invest in creativity.
Now that your budget is set and your media mix is determined, you must create the ads that will be placed. To ensure the best use of your budget, spend a bit more to be sure your ads not only look good, but that they resonate with your customer.
This is where you get the real bang for your buck, with advertising that has been created with a cohesive and meaningful strategy, designed to attract your target customer and instill in them the desire to purchase from your business. Many media outlets (newspapers, magazines, television stations, etc.) will offer to do the creative for you and include it in the buy. Resist this. Those ads won’t be as thoughtfully crafted in terms of messaging and design as they would if they were created by one source with an eye to strategy and results.
Give your campaign enough time to be effective.
Small efforts will result in small results. Billboards for one month, commercials for one week, social ads for a day, or other short-term efforts are likely to be unsuccessful (caveat for a special event or sale, which might benefit from this quick-hit type of campaign). You’ll want to plan for a whole year, or at least a whole quarter.