Media planning and media strategy are the widely used terms in the marketing and ad promotional scenario. Media strategy, which comes under media planning, is a carefully structured plan designed to analyse and select suitable media to spread the ad message or promotional campaign across the globe. We have been noticing for years that an ad makes its presence first on TV, and then sooner it starts to appear on billboards, in newspaper and radio, so on. It is the result of the effectively planned and structured media strategy that helps the advertisers to penetrate into the target market with their ad messages. A well-designed media strategy makes the target audience receive the ad message recurrently through media mix, and thus, they end up buying or at least getting convinced with the ad message.
Deciding a media strategy, which is a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, is not very easy for the advertisers nowadays because of the availability of wide varieties of media and media vehicles. Formulating a preeminent media strategy is central to achieving the overall goal of an ad campaign.
Some of the main goals of media strategy are:
- getting the ad message through the right channel to the targeted market;
- deciding on the reach pattern of the ad campaign;
- calculating the frequency level required throughout the campaign.
While formulating a media strategy, the advertising team needs to ask themselves the following questions and needs to figure out and fix the answer correctly to improve the effectiveness of the ad.
A most decisive factor that affects the planning of media strategy is the budget. The budget considerations that evolve out of media planning not only affect the selection of the media mix but also the decision on reach, frequency, and continuity of the ad campaign. For example, budget needs to be allocated more for an ad campaign decided to run on TV for more days. Therefore, in order to cut down the cost, advertisers use many techniques like showing a short burst of the ad on TV for few days and then continue the campaign in a newspaper, the cheapest medium for advertising. Hence, it is vital to plan the budget considerations prior to the actual start of the campaign. Media strategy can be said to be effective when it delivers the ad message to the targeted audience at the lowest cost and for the least money.
As the media strategy completely depends on the budget, it is important to conduct a thorough research on the cost-effectiveness and relative cost of the various media in the media planning stage. This can be done by calculating and analysing Cost per Mile (CPM) or Cost per Point (CPP). A fixed amount of budget needs to be allocated to the research activities done before the actual campaign process. The research conducted, thus, helps the advertisers to manage effectively the ad-budget and also helps to select the most suitable media sticking in relation to the budget considerations. For example, media like TV, newspaper, national or international dailies, magazines can be efficiently utilised if the ad-budget is bigger. Likewise, relatively cheap media like outdoors, cable-networks, pamphlets, and local newspapers can be used if the budget allocated to the ad-campaign is smaller.
Reach and Frequency
Reach and frequency should be balanced against the fixed budget. An ad-budget directly or indirectly depends on the reach and frequency of the ad campaign. Ad –budget varies considerably depending on the reach and frequency planned. There should be a compromise between reach and frequency in order to control the budget allotted. A trade-off needs to be there between the two as most of the ad-campaigns carried out are strictly chained under the barricade of budget. Media strategy with fixed budget should define whether the ad campaign needs to be heard or seen by more people instantaneously (Reach) or less people more times (Frequency).
Think of a situation where the advertiser needs an ad campaign emphasising on reach. In such a case, budget needs to be arranged for the exposure of ad through various media like newspaper, radio, television, billboards, posters, banners, magazines, and websites so on. As a result of using different media at the same time, a large number of people get a chance to see the ad message instantaneously.
Similarly, a media strategy emphasizes on frequency. Here, budget needs to be allocated to a single medium, for example, a magazine targeted at a special audience. People who read the magazine get the ad message frequently, and thus, it acts like a gentle reminder which tells ‘we always here and we are available for you anytime’.
One of the main factors considered by the advertisers before selecting the media is calculating Gross Rating Points (GRPs). It is calculated by:
GRP = Reach Frequency
Based on the GRP calculated, budget is formalised and media strategy is chosen.
The ad-budget needs to be scrutinised well before deciding on reach or frequency. Remember that no budget is ever enough huge to make all the advertising you like. Indeed, there are constraints. A trade-off between reach and frequency always helps advertisers to find the best way of using the ad-budget.