Whether you are a start up business, a full blown corporation, or an advertising agency, at some point you have to devise a media strategy or advertising plan. Although your original business plan should include a generic media and advertising plan section, you will most likely need to go beyond the simple outline in your business plan and dig deep into effective strategies. Media/advertising plans are typically needed for:

1. Product releases

2. New services

3. Publication launches

4. Trying to get advertisers for your magazine or blog, etc.

 Since we are in one of the most creative generations to ever walk the face of the earth, there happens to be thousands of media and advertising mediums in which we can effectively market our business. Still, this doesn’t solve our problem on how to use these resources effectively. If you use these 6 things that I am about to share with you, effectively, you will see a dramatic increase in the results of your businesses’ or clients’ campaigns.

 Side-note: Throughout the duration of this article, I am going to use the following made up example to help you better understand and plan your media and advertising efforts. ‘Morning Grounds Coffee Co. is launching their new flavor, Sunrise.

I. Media Objectives

As Morning Grounds Coffee Co. begins planning their strategies to make Sunrise one of the most effective product launches yet in the companies history, they have to figure out exactly what goals the media and advertising efforts are expected to accomplish. With these types of objectives, they need to be very specific with their goals.

 They might start of by answer questions like these:

What is the estimated revenue that this product is going to bring in, where is the product launching and in how many stores, how many different ads are they going to make or is there going to be a split-testing period, what different media vehicles will they use to promote the ads, what is the overall ad budget and can the ads be effective with that type of budget, how many people will see the ads and how many times will each of those people see it, what are they doing to create awareness of the new product and how are they going to sustain that awareness…?

 The bottom line with anything in life and especially business is this: If you don’t know what you are doing, how do you expect to do it?

 Being specific with your media objectives is only going to bring you that much closer to a successful product launch or landing that first big advertiser.

II. Competitive Analysis

While most of us are used to these words in some form or another, we pretty much need to be Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Gadget when it comes to this section of our media and advertising plans. This will probably be the most in depth analysis that you will ever complete. You need to know so much about your competitors plans, that it would seem as if you were in the board room meeting when they created it. Here are some key elements to figure out:

  • Timing of media delivery – What product launches are happening in competitors businesses? Is Starbucks also launching their new Sunset coffee at the same time that MGC’s Sunrise is coming out? If they are, what is the best time of the year to launch your product?

  • Media Selection – What avenues does Starbucks use to launch their advertising efforts?

  • Spending Levels and Budgets – This is huge! One thing to keep in mind when it comes to competition is that you really only compete on the level in which your marketing and advertising budgets allow you to. For example, if Starbucks launches their Sunset coffee with 10 Million in marketing efforts, and MCG only has 2 Million for their Sunrise coffee, then they better face the fact that they aren’t competing with Starbucks. Push yourself to find the most effective strategies in your budget, but don’t be too prideful to understand what level you are competing at.

  • Allocation – Beyond knowing their budgets, MCG will also need to know where their competitors are spending their money. (i.e. Radio, Internet, TV, Magazines, Newspapers, etc.)

  • Online Display Banners – In addition to the previous point, it is really good to know how effective your competitors display banners are. What websites are they promoting on and how many impressions are they getting?

Secret Weapon: Advertising Media Planning

Advertising-Media-Planning

III. Time of delivery

This section of your media plan usually includes graphs, calendars, or charts that indicate which months are you spending more. MCG may want to spend a little more money on Sunrise coffee’s marketing in the late fall/early winter while spending more money marketing cold drinks in the summer. You need to figure out what your peak and non-peak months are.

IMPORTANT: Do not make the common mistake of halting your spending on marketing and advertising during non-peak months. This comes back to sustaining your awareness, and is very important.

IV. Target Audience Analysis

Luckily, you should already know quite a bit about your audience through intense market research, and your years of studying your audience. You should know everything about your:

  • PTA (primary target audience)
  • STA (secondary target audience)
  • TTA (tertiary target audience)

However, if you don’t there are also wonderful tools out there to help you via high intelligence research firms such as GFKMRI. Firms like this one provide access to insane market and audience research and have information that you would never think of about your target audiences.

V. Media Habits

This is an extension of section 4, however, it is good to keep it separate. After you clearly identify your target audience, you need to divide them into categories that will help you better understand what habits they have so you can capitalize on your efforts. For example, if MCG knows that their PTA is middle age men from 30-40, they should know how many of them drink 1 cup a day, 2-4 cups a day, and 5+ cups a day. They may also want to know what types of coffee they drink, if they spend more money drinking it in the mornings before work, or on the weekends, etc.

To go a little further in depth, lets say their STA is college students 60% women 40% men. MCG may want to know what types of colleges they go to, where they are hanging out when they drink their coffee, etc.

Look at it like this. If you were a hunter, and every time you went hunting you knew exactly where the deer was going to walk, when he was going to eat a couple berries, and the second that he was going to pop his head up, you would probably get a head shot every time. That is the point with understanding media habits of your target audiences; if they pop their heads up, you shoot them with an effective advertisement.

VI. Flow Chart

All of this information can be quite difficult to keep track of, and even that much more difficult when you have a marketing or advertising team that needs to work together. After you have figured out the above sections of your plan, you need to devise a flow chart that clearly illustrates the timing and plan of attack. There is a reason they are called flow charts, they help you flow with your plans with out causing obstruction from confusion. Here is a brief example of what a media flow chart may look like.

Media and Advertising Plan Flow Chart

Wrapping it up

All in all, your media and advertising efforts are only going to be as successful as you make them. The reason that companies like Nike, Starbucks, Verizon, etc., have such success when launching a product (and they certainly don’t have issues getting advertisers,) is because they live and breath media and advertising planning!

Sometimes, if you want to be successful, you watch what successful people are doing, and you do it.