For communicating a marketing or advertising message to the masses two major events have to occur – message creation and message dissemination. Media planning companies are concerned with message dissemination. The main aim of the media planning companies is to devise strategies which will make the advertising or marketing message reach to a very pin-pointed segment of consumers. A media planning company has to establish how much of each media category has to be used in dissemination of message.
Media options available
* T.V., Radio
* Digital media
* Social media
* Print media
* Mobile phones
* Outdoor advertising
Media planning decisions
* Which media to use
* When and where to use
* What duration to use
* How often to use
This means that the task of Media planning companies is to strategically use available platforms or channels of media like T.V., Radio, Social media or Newspapers and banners etc and tactically decide the timing of the advertising or marketing campaign as well as how much space it will use in each of the chosen media platforms. Normally the desired duration of a media campaign is communicated by the client to the media planning companies, otherwise it can be suggested by media planning companies also. Last step of media planning involves deciding the frequency with which the media message will be repeated in various media so that the campaigns impact and message retention by consumers can be maximized.
Media planning components
* Target Audience
* Communication goals
* Communication strategies
* Media mix
* Media tactics
The Media planning companies start off the media planning process by establishing who the target audience is or can be. It means they have to evolve strategies which not only target the known target audience but also create new potential consumers. The target audience is categorized on the basis of variables like:
* Generational cohort
* Product or brand usage
* Primary and secondary audience
Demographics Demographics means detailed information about a persons social standing. It includes gender, age, education levels, employment categories, income level, marital status, residence details etc. Social Media Marketing Companies use this information to ascertain the propensity or inclination of demography towards a particular media usage and based upon that try to categorize them into target audience or non-target audience.
Psychographics Psychographics refers to behavioral traits of target demography. It includes their personality, attitudes and beliefs, opinions and personal interests and most importantly their buying decision making tendencies. The Media planning companies try to sub-categorize the target audience on the basis of their psychographics so that media planning strategies can be downloaded with more effectiveness. Media planning companies refer to psychographics as VALS which stands for Values and Lifestyles.
Generational Cohort This categorization of target audience is on the belief that the new generation will be influenced by the choices of previous generations of the household because they were exposed to these choices in their early formative years.
Product or brand users Media planning companies identify the target audience by observing the historical product category or brand consumption levels of a given demography.
Primary and secondary consumers Sometimes the primary target audience do not actually make the buying activity but they influence the secondary target consumer to take the buying decision. For example parents buying toys for children or a big wall TV for old parents room.
Communication goals & strategies
Once the primary task of identifying target audience has been completed, the Media planning companies set their communication goals. This goal tries to quantify the degree of advertising message exposure within the target audience. For example the communication goal for a media plan can be exposing 60% of target audience at least once in a day to the advertisement message, be it on any media platform. Similarly another communication goal can be that the new brand will attain 30% of the market share within 3 months dislodging the present brands. The communication goal is achieved by careful strategizing of:-
* Media mix
* Media scheduling
Reach Reach is the exposure of target audience to the advertisement message. Reach can be expressed as a percentage of population. For example, 60% of married women between the age group of 18 and 40. It can also be calculated as accumulation of target audience over a period of time. For example a communication goal can be to increase target audience from 30% to 60% or more. Lastly the reach is expressed as Gross rating point or GRP for the TV media. GRP is the viewership of a TV program expressed in percentage. A GRP of 35 means 35% of target audience with TV are presently watching a particular broadcast.
Frequency Frequency is the measure of repletion of Advertising or marketing message for the target audience over a period of time. Therefore it can also be called ratio of GRP over the reach. Mathematically it is expressed as Frequency = GRP/Reach. If Double GRP is 55 and reach is 35 then frequency will be 1.57. The media planning companies gauge their success by effective frequency criteria. Effective frequency is the minimum number of media exposure for a given media plan. It means how many people saw the Ad once, twice, thrice or n number of times.
Media Mix – Media objectives, budget and properties of media vehicles are the three deciding factors of a media mix strategy by the Media planning companies. The aim is to find the cheapest possible media vehicle to attain the objectives of media plan. The media planning companies may use any of these two media-mix strategies; media concentration or media dispersion. Media Concentration aims at exploiting fewer number of media vehicles whereas the media dispersion strategy tries to use a greater number of media vehicles.
Media scheduling Media planning companies schedule the media campaign in three basic scheduling strategies.
* Continuous scheduling Equal media spendings across media campaign duration
* Flight scheduling Variation scheduling, higher at one time and zero at another.
* Pulse scheduling Combination of upper points. Low and high variations.
Media Tactics Media tactics are employed to optimize reach and effective frequency. For example a high level of reach requirement would mean using more media vehicles. It may mean placing Advertisement in all major newspapers in a week or Advertising on all major TV channels during same time slot of the day or placing online Ad on all pages of a web service like Yahoo for a week. By tactically increasing the frequency, more number of audiences can be exposed using lesser media vehicles. For example media planning companies may decide to bombard only newspapers of a region with daily Ads in prominently visible space with the idea that over a period of time all target audience will be surely expose to it. Same may be the tactic for TV media or online media.
Media planning is the best Advertising tool
The scientific application of media planning is the best Advertising tool a business can have. Even the most creative of advertisement campaign can fall flat on its face if not handled by expert media planning companies. Its a science of consumer behavior and the arithmetic of probabilities, ratio proportions and law of averages. Best part is it works like magic every time !