Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 9/17/13 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
Although your original business plan should include a generic media and advertising plan section, you’ll 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:
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 of how to use these resources effectively.
If you use these 6 things that I am about to share with you – and use them in the right way – you will see a dramatic increase in the results of your organization's 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.
As Morning Grounds Coffee Co. begins planning their strategies to make Sunrise one of the most effective product launches in the company’s 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 off by answering questions like these:
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.
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 boardroom meeting when they created it.
Here are some key elements to figure out:
Secret Weapon: Advertising Media Planning
This section of your media plan usually includes graphs, calendars, or charts that indicate in which months you’re 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.
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.
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:
However, if you don't, there are also wonderful tools out there to help you via high intelligence research firms such as GfK MRI, a top producer of media and consumer research.
Firms like this one provide access to insane market and audience research and have information about your target audiences that you would probably never even consider.
This is an extension of section 4, however, it’s 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 their habits so you can capitalize on your efforts.
For example, if MCG knows that their PTA is middle-aged 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, let’s say their STA is college students, 60% women and 40% men.
MCG may want to know what types of colleges they go to, where they’re 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 headshot every time.
That’s the point of understanding the media habits of your target audiences; if they pop their heads up, you shoot them with an effective advertisement.
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’s a reason they’re called flow charts; they help you flow with your plans without causing confusion.
Here’s a brief example of what a media flow chart may look like.
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.
Does your media and advertising plan have all the necessary elements to be effective?