Media planning is first a science involving deep client and market research but also requires some “art” based on experience and knowledge of the media marketplace and its impact in driving certain engagement along the path to purchase. Strong media planners are like chefs that balance the ingredients as they design a fine meal. Strong media planning starts with world class research. First, media planning requires a deep understanding of the client, their goal, audience and marketplace. A significant amount of research is performed in the course of what we refer to as the discovery phase of the process of media planning to better understand all these variables.
It is imperative that a clear understanding of goals be established so effective tests and measures of performance can be developed as part of the campaign. In short, during rollout and at the end of each campaign we want to understand whether our campaign is working or not so we can optimize and allocate media dollars more effectively moving forward. A strong media planning team understands those metrics and designs analytics to effectively track performance up front.
Additional research is done on the client’s target audience(s) including clearly analyzing who has been engaged with the brand historically, how media has performed, and what has been their path to purchase including any influencers along the way. We want to understand competitive positioning of the brand and the creative messaging and executions as well.
Once we have a clear understanding of the audience and influencers, including demographics and psychographics, we then do deep media research to understand the best engaging media for audience along their path to consideration and purchase. One must then ensure we are getting sufficient reach and frequency to them during relevant duration and day part windows within the engaging media. All this must be balanced within any budgetary restraints established by the client with the strong help of media buyers to design the best overall integrated media plan.