Is a media plan a distraction, or does it have value? We at IndieAd, believe that the answer is in-between. There should always be a plan, but
the plan should be adaptable.
Also, a media plan is more than just a list of paid advertising channels. It should be designed to play a role in fulfilling the 'larger' marketing plan.
Here's the process we go through with our clients to develop their media strategy and plan. It's important to remember that this is not a step-by-step process, but many overlapping discussions exist.
Describe Relevant Audiences
ICP or personas can't be reached at 100% accuracy. We break these down to 'targetable audiences' based on the availability and quality of targetable data.
For example, it won't be easy if we'd like to reach marketing executives who are coffee enthusiasts. We could reach marketing executives on LinkedIn Ads and coffee aficionados using Amazon data, but not combined.
Define KPIs and Relevant Metrics
While the business KPIs have been defined in the previous stage, now we need to break them down into marketing campaign KPIs and choose the best metrics to measure them. Usually, this is when we start drifting into the discussion of brand awareness vs. performance campaigns.
Each activity in the media plan and each channel used should have a purpose and support the company in reaching its goals. Nevertheless, not every channel should or can trigger an immediate response.
People need time to make decisions. They research, they talk to friends and family, they consulate, and then they decide. Some media channels are used to drive action as fast as possible, and some are to spark an interest or act as a reinforcement.
Define Messaging Strategy & Funnel
Based on the complexity of the offer, we'll discuss the marketing funnel flow, prospecting vs. retargeting, and cold vs. warm audiences. We'll also review the message and the creative formats we'd like to use for each.
The creatives are becoming more critical than ever. We always believed that a great message resonates, but nowadays, we even talk about "target by ads " for platforms like Meta Ads. It means that the creatives we use play a critical role in the algorithm's ability to understand which audiences we want to reach.
Identify relevant advertising platforms & Channels.
Each advertising platform has unique features and qualities; different data sets, structures, bidding algorithms, etc. While reviewing our 'targetable audiences,' we identify the most relevant platforms to reach them.
This is usually what clients believe is the most crucial part. Honestly, it is not if you work with the right partner; Transparency is key!
By transparency, we mean:
-Knowing which part of the budget is used as agency fees and which is invested in media. Fixed CPMs or media prices should always raise questions.
-Understanding why decisions are being made and why budgets are being shifted
-Seeing where ads played (especially for programmatic advertising).
We allocate the budget to channels based on balancing the minimum effective budget per channel and the expected results. Remember, the media plan is flexible. The budget changes in real-time and flows to the channels that work.
Is a media plan always complicated?No. Sometimes we conclude to use only 1-2 channels. Using too many channels creates budget inefficiency.
Do you have to create a media plan?No. We can start with individual channels, and that's not necessarily bad. It depends on our client's level of expertise and his existing setup. We're designing the best starting point for the media plan, not a static excel sheet. It will look different 2 months into the execution.