The media landscape is constantly changing. New technologies and trends are emerging rapidly and existing platforms continue to evolve, providing more ways to spend your advertising budget. Today’s media plan looks far different than even last year, with more media channels, more devices, and even more opportunities to connect with shoppers. How do you find the most effective balance with an advertising budget and media plan that make sense now?
Know your make or break
One of the most valuable things a marketing professional can do to grow topline revenue is decide upon the company’s make or break—the one thing that must be done extraordinarily well to achieve the company’s vision. The marketing make or break for a senior living community, for example, could be to communicate to the adult children of the elderly to ensure high engagement with the decision makers and bolster referrals. For a resort, it might be to market to corporate and event planners to drive meetings and weekday bookings to decrease vacancy. A manufacturer may want to target its messaging to appeal to C-level finance personnel, while a hospital’s make or break could be to attract top doctors.
Develop your media strategy around your core audience
Once you understand who you want to connect with, ask yourself this: is your message visible where they are shopping? Remember that a media plan is not one size fits all. To reach today’s consumers, create a strategy that not only reaches them where they are looking, but also addresses what stage they are in the buying cycle. Focus your advertising spend on mediums where your audiences are most engaged. This allows you to significantly increase your reach and frequency to build awareness, interest and interaction among those who matter most.
Embrace new ideas
The ability to stay in touch everywhere has opened up opportunities for marketers to reach consumers at any time and in any place. Does your media plan reflect this? For instance, mobile technology is being adapted at a faster rate than any other consumer technology in history. From ads within games and videos to full-screen interstitials that play while content is loading, mobile has becoming increasingly popular among all demographics. Does your budget have a line item for social media? It should if you want to reach young adults. Millennials find and share information on social sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter as well as Facebook. They willingly express the good—and the bad—to their friends, often causing a chain reaction or a topic to go viral. Know the pros and cons of each medium so you can get the best return on your marketing investment.
Advertising budgets evolve over time. The key to success is steady improvement, staying current, and remaining engaged. Track activities, future indicators and results; then make timely adjustments to your media plan as needed to enhance results. Real-time reporting allows you to know instantly what is and is not working. To stay aligned with consumers’ attitudes and purchasing decisions, evaluate and update your marketing strategies, programs and processes on a consistent basis.
Make decisions with budgets in mind
Looking at things from a financial perspective makes everyone accountable for costs and guides the entire team to stay on track. Clarify the true value of all elements on your media plan and break down your advertising budget by medium so you can easily determine the ROI for each. Review your advertising budget quarterly or even monthly and make informed decisions on how to shift spending to enhance the success of the overall media plan.
Take a minute to review your media plan today. Is it designed around how information is consumed now or are you relying too much on an advertising budget that has worked in the past? By taking these five things into consideration when planning your advertising budget, you can create the right media plan—one that gets the best results to achieve your goals.
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.