Media planning is identifying the platforms, content types, and marketing messages the company should use to reach its goals within a particular advertising campaign.

In the article, we explain why media planning is important, highlight its benefits, compare it with media buying and provide the steps to create a successful media plan.

Why is media planning important?

According to HubSpot, 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing, and 24% are going to increase their investments. These statistics show the global trend of spending more costs on product promotion. However, huge investments sometimes mean huge losses. To be confident in your spending, media planning is necessary.

The main goal of this process is to reach the company's goals and optimize the costs needed for product promotion. Successful media planning means that the business attracts new customers, increases its market share, raises people’s brand awareness, and builds a strong reputation by advertising. Planning helps determine all critical points of promotional campaigns and reach the brand’s objectives smoothly and without overspending.

On the other hand, promoting a product without a well-defined strategy may mean money loss and unpredictable results. You can damage your brand image if advertisements are placed in inappropriate media or target the audience you do not work with. Media planning helps avoid all these roadblocks and makes you confident that the future campaign will be successful.

In today’s digital world, developing your promotion plan is necessary to reach the top in the sphere. Discover all the benefits of media planning in the next section.

Benefits of Media Planning

Marketers use media plans as a basis required to launch any advertising campaign. Below we explain why it is so vital in achieving the company's promotional objectives.

  1. It helps set the correct goal. Advertising without an aim can be a waste of money. You may want to increase brand awareness, attract more customers, make clients buy again and again, or build a positive reputation. A clear goal is required in media plan development as it directly influences your promotions' success.
  2. It allows marketers to develop effective creatives and choose the best time to promote. The way you transmit your advertising messages to potential clients plays a significant role. To make your advertising campaign successful, you should ensure that creatives are eye-catching and persuasive. Media planning also lets marketers determine the time preferable for the target audience to convey the messages effectively.
  3. It helps optimize the advertising budget. There are often a few of the most relevant platforms that you can use in the promotional campaign. You can determine them and focus on these media channels to increase your ROI. Paying too much attention to the less effective platforms means overspending on media buying. One more advantage of media planning is that having seen the whole advertising strategy at once allows you to optimize the costs needed to develop creatives.
  4. It is the way to control the performance of your ads. Setting concrete goals means that you can measure the success of your promotions during the whole campaign. It allows you to see any problems or deviations at once and fix them as fast as possible. Moreover, having all the data, you can analyze the performance of your ads after the campaign and improve your plans to make them more successful.

Now you understand why media planning can make your promotions much more effective. Continue reading to discover its difference with media buying and get tips on how to combine these processes while developing your future marketing strategy.

Media Planning vs Media Buying

Some business owners may misunderstand the roles of a media planner and media buyer and get confused about why both these specialists are important. In this section, we compare these two professions and explain how media planners and buyers work together to create successful advertising campaigns.

Media planners are responsible for developing a promotional strategy by using different media channels. Usually, media planners analyze your audience and competitors, set specific goals, develop advertising messages, identify the best media channels and time for future promotions, and set the budget. Media planners can work with paid, owned, and earned media, and their choice depends only on the goals of the advertising campaign.

Media buyers start their work when they get a finished strategy from media planners. These people work only with paid media. Media buyers are responsible for choosing the best platforms within the stated media channels and buying space to place the company's advertisements there. They control the performance of the ads and manage the usage of the fixed budget. Media buyers can also suggest changes in the estimated media mix if they know how to reach and persuade the target audience better.

Sometimes, one person may combine both media planner and media buyer skills. However, in most cases, these two specialists work together. Media buyers can discuss with media planners the peculiarities of different platforms, their costs, and the audience that uses them while creating a strategy. On the other hand, media planners often control the performance of the promotions during the whole campaign and suggest necessary changes in the advertising messages if it is necessary.

Media planning may seem difficult, but it is not so if you understand the main points. In the next section, we provide a step-by-step guide on developing a well-defined plan and making your advertising campaigns more effective.

How to create a media plan?

Most big companies hire a media planner to succeed in their advertising campaigns. However, spending lots of money on a professional is not necessary if you do not have a huge budget. Below we provide the main steps you should do to create a media plan and make your campaign persuasive and cost-effective.

  1. Identify your advertising goals. It is impossible to measure the success of your campaign without its clear aims. Some marketers advise business owners to set SMART goals to make them reachable. SMART means that the objectives of your campaign should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
  2. Study your target audience. Once you set the aims, it is important to understand to who you are going to show your ads. Identify your buyer personas, and clarify their demographics, needs, preferences, and a lifestyle. Think about the ways to persuade them to buy your products.
  3. Conduct research on the competitors. To develop a strong competitive advantage, it is vital to understand how other companies on the market promote their products. Analyze your competitors’ advertising campaigns, and highlight the pros and cons of media plans of each brand. Use this data to improve your future advertisements and avoid roadblocks other businesses may have.
  4. Define the tone of voice and visual language of your advertising messages. Firstly, it is vital to understand how to persuade people to choose your brand. Develop the advertising messages based on the goals you have identified. Secondly, transmit this information in the way your audience is ready to perceive it. Some companies may have a brand platform with an already developed tone of voice and visual language. Otherwise, you should define them based on the preferences of your target audience.
  5. Develop your ideal media mix. You should concentrate on a few effective media channels to avoid overspending. Identify the platforms the target audience uses the most often and discover the cost of advertising on them. Allocate the percentage of the budget you are ready to spend on each platform and develop a media mix to reach the campaign’s objectives.
  6. Estimate the budget. Remember to include the salaries of the specialists and the taxes you will need to pay during the future advertising campaign. Try to optimize costs, but do not skimp on content creation too much if you want to reach good results.
  7. Launch a campaign and analyze the results. The work of a media planner does not finish after the campaign launch. Track the results and be ready to make changes immediately if something goes wrong. Analyze the performance of the whole campaign and use these insights to make future promotions even better.

Congrats, now you know what media planning is and why it is important, know its benefits, and the difference between planning and buying. You can create a well-defined media plan to advertise successfully.

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