As we talked about in previous blog, any marketing activity should take place in an IMC framework to have the best results in the end. As you might remember, in the progress of a marketing plan, marketers provide an IMC plan and there is after that that a firm comes to an agency as a client. Media agencies like Armani Media Agency have to help the clients in such a way to reach their marketing goals by creating a creative and a media strategy. So the raw material of a media agency is the IMC plan as a brief document and then the agency take the responsibility of making a media strategy including media planning, media buying or providing, and evaluation and monitoring.
In addition to making a media strategy, many agencies like Armani Media Agency have their networks and partners to create a creative strategy complementing their portfolio. So let’s have a look at principles of media planning to comprehend one of everyday tasks of a media agency.
Media Planning Overview
The media planning process is not an easy one. Options include mass media such as television, newspapers, radio, and magazines as well as out-of-the-home media such as outdoor advertising, transit advertising, and electronic billboards (known as OOH media). A variety of other media such as direct marketing, the Internet, promotional products, and others such as sales promotions and in-store point-of-purchase options must also be considered. A proliferation of new media, including branded entertainment, social media, and interactive media, has also provided the marketer with many options to consider. Before beginning our discussion of media planning, we review some basic terms and concepts used in the media planning and strategy process.
Media planning is the series of decisions involved in delivering the promotional message to the prospective purchasers and/or users of the product or brand. Media planning is a process, which means a number of decisions are made, each of which may be altered or abandoned as the plan develops. The media plan determines the best way to get the advertiser’s message to the market. In a basic sense, the goal of the media plan is to find that combination of media that enables the marketer to communicate the message in the most effective manner to the largest number of potential customers at the lowest cost.
The media plan is the guide for media selection. It requires development of specific media objectives and specific media strategies (plans of action) designed to attain these objectives. Once the decisions have been made and the objectives and strategies formulated, this information is organized into the media plan.
The medium is the general category of available delivery systems, which includes broadcast media (like TV and radio), print media (like newspapers and magazines), direct marketing, outdoor advertising, and other support media. The media vehicle is the specific carrier within a medium category. For example, Nodid and Ideal are print vehicles which you might have seen before in newsstands or shopping malls of Tehran.
Reach is a measure of the number of different audience members exposed at least once to a media vehicle in a given period of time. Coverage refers to the potential audience that might receive the message through a vehicle. Coverage relates to potential audience; reach refers to the actual audience delivered. Finally, frequency refers to the number of times the receiver is exposed to the media vehicle in a specified period.
Unfortunately, the media strategy decision has not become a standardized task. A number of problems contribute to the difficulty of establishing the plan and reduce its effectiveness. These problems include insufficient information, inconsistent terminologies, time pressures, and difficulty measuring effectiveness.
- Insufficient Information While a great deal of information about markets and the media exists, media planners often require more than is available. Some data are just not measured, either because they cannot be or because measuring them would be too expensive.
The lack of information is even more of a problem for small advertisers, or smaller markets, who may not be able to afford to purchase the information they require. As a result, their decisions are based on limited or out-of-date data that were provided by the media themselves, or no data at all.
- Inconsistent Terminologies Problems arise because the cost bases used by different media often vary and the standards of measurement used to establish these costs are not always consistent. For example, print media may present cost data in terms of the cost to reach a thousand people (cost per thousand, or CPM), broadcast media use the cost per ratings point (CPRP), and outdoor media use the number of showings.
- Time Pressures It seems that advertisers are always in a hurry—sometimes because they need to be, other times because they think they need to be.
- Difficulty Measuring Effectiveness Because it is so hard to measure the effectiveness of advertising and promotions in general, it is also difficult to determine the relative effectiveness of various media or media vehicles. While progress is being made in this regard, the media planner may have little more than an estimate of or a good guess at the impact of these alternatives.
In summary, a media planning process consists of the series of decisions made to answer the question, ”What are the best means of delivering advertisements to prospective purchasers
of my brand or service?”. This definition is rather general, but it provides a broad picture of what media planning is all about. A media planner attempts to answer the following specific questions:
- How many prospects (for purchasing a given brand of product) do I need or can I afford to reach?
- In which media should I place ads?
- How many times a month should prospects see each ad?
- During which months should ads appear?
- Where should the ads appear? In which markets and regions?
- How much money should be spent in each medium?
Development of a Media Plan
Like any other media agencies, at Armani Media Agency we develop and create a media plan in 4 steps, it’s important to know that this framework is not rigid but it’s regularly linear. Also you have to know these steps might be done by agencies or the clients themselves as they create their marketing and IMC plan. These steps are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1- Steps of developing a media plan
The situation analysis stage of the overall promotional planning process involves a complete review of internal and external factors, competitive strategies, and the like. In the development of a media strategy, a market analysis is again performed, although this time the focus is on the media and delivering the message. The key questions at this stage are these: To whom will we advertise (who is the target market)? What internal and external factors may influence the media plan? Where (geographically) and when should we focus our efforts?
Media strategies are influenced by both internal and external factors operating at any given time. Internal factors may involve the size of the media budget, managerial and administrative capabilities, or the organization of the agency. External factors may include the economy (the rising costs of media), changes in technology (the availability of new media), competitive factors, and the like. While some of this information may require primary research, much information is available through secondary sources, including magazines, syndicated services, and even the daily newspaper.
Many of the questions you read above are answered during planning the marketing plan, but as a media agency, we have to optimize our clients’ budget and show them where to promote. As said in previous blog (http://armaniads.com/the-planning-process-of-imc/), at Armani we use such tools like BDI and CDI matrix. Let’s have a deeper insight about these tools.
The brand development index (BDI) helps marketers factor the rate of product usage by geographic area into the decision process. In a given market area, the BDI compares the percentage of the brand’s total sales in Iran with the percentage of the total population in the market to determine the sales potential for that brand in that market area. The higher the index number, the more market potential exists. You can see the BDI formula we use in Armani Media Agency in Figure 2.
The category development index (CDI) is computed in the same manner as the BDI, except it uses information regarding the product category. The CDI provides information on the potential for development of the total product category rather than specific brands. When this information is combined with the BDI, a much more insightful promotional strategy may be developed. Below you can see how to calculate the CDI.
Figure 3- Calculation of CDI index
1. High BDI, High CDI: Both brand and product category has good sales potential. So the brand should develop its loyalty programs and remind its brand to make a long term relationship.
2. High BDI, Low CDI: In this scenario, the brand should run ATL programs to promote itself to the market, but the market should be monitored for declining sales.
3. Low BDI, High CDI: The brand really need to find out its weaknesses and run ATL programs along with some TTL or BTL programs to better engage its customers and prospects.
4. Low BDI, Low CDI: Considering low opportunity for both the brand and category, it’s not a suitable territory for the brand advertisements, so not paying attention to these locations might be for the best.
Figure 4- BDI/CDI matrix for market analyzing
By this tool we can analyze our market and help determining the budget for each area, this is what we do at Armani Media Agency in our first step of planning the media. Now that we know how to make the first step, it is time to go to the second step, establishing the media objectives which we will discuss about in next blogs.
Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. A. (2015). Media Planning and Strategy. In G. E. Belch, & M. A. Belch, Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective (pp. 337-372). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Sissors, J. Z., & Barron, R. B. (2010). Introduction to Media Planning. In J. Z. Sissors, & R. B. Barron, Advertising Media Planning (pp. 1-27). McGraw-Hill.