The Media Plan is a subcomponent of the Communication Plan; it specifies the media channels your team will utilize to interact with your Key Audiences. These channels can be thought of as either Paid, Earned, or Owned media; they can also be classified as Public Relations or Advertising channels. Each channel may have a unique key audience in mind; combined, they make up your communication "ecosystem."
The Media Plan is based on your organization’s communication goals, Key Audiences, and your available resources. The number of media channel combinations in a Media Plan is infinite. The one you create should be as unique as your business model.
Creating a Media Plan for your organization is key to ensuring you have immediate and future access to various types of channels for proactive and reactive efforts. Your Media Plan should include a mix of both paid and “free” channels, but this depends on your available resources and your priorities. Modern media channels are great at facilitating interactive conversations with key audiences in a very public manner. Traditional media options shouldn't always be ruled out because they can reach a much wider audience if there is an opportunity for it. Traditional media is also great for "broadcasting" a controlled message, but the return on the investment is much more difficult to quantify, if at all.
Temporary communication goals can be deployed for short periods of time for seasonality, sales, annual promotions, industry summits, or otherwise; however, your long-term goals should serve as the primary guidance for your media mix. A solid Media Plan defines the channels the team will focus on as much as it recognizes the ones it will not focus on at that time.
Budgets for paid advertising campaigns are generally inversely proportional to the size of the organization. Media channels such as Facebook pages, YouTube channels, Instagram profiles, LinkedIn Business Pages, and company websites, are imperative for most small businesses. Creating these company media assets is easy but generating quality content-rich channels requires skill. All of the content on your earned, or free, channels will represent your brand when you are unable to interact with your target audience directly. There can be a temptation to overcommunicate with some modern interactive platforms. We suggest quality over quantity for almost every business model.
Social media platforms are target-rich environments regarding curating key audiences. The audience management tools for many social media platforms have matured quickly. Utilizing these tools conservatively, and with attention to detail, can prove invaluable in the long run. Contributing to social conversations, without introspect, can have terrible consequences for the public perception of your company. Vagary recommends the proactive creation of a style guide for all your communication efforts for consistency of message.
Paid advertising campaigns come with an impression cost or a click cost, and they only run for a limited period. Inefficient ad campaigns can be costly for a small organization. Traditional media (newspaper, television, outdoor display, direct mail, radio, magazine, etc.) is still available as an advertising option but modern ad-serving platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Advertising, and LinkedIn Advertising, have inexpensive minimum-spend requirements; they also have sophisticated audience targeting features.
A discussion of your media mix selections needs to include the analytic tracking protocols. Modern media options can measure efficiency at a very low level. The data from digital media channels can provide you with a wealth of information related to your business, key audiences, and your digital ecosystem. Whether you are attempting to measure your owned media properties, your paid advertising channels, or your earned exposure, setting up your analytics reporting tool(s) is an essential step for getting the most out of your efforts. Your data will become more valuable over time.
Traditional media vehicles like magazines, newspapers, radio, outdoor display, direct mail, etc., utilize old measurement formulas to determine impressions or viewership. The addition of these types of media options to your media plan depends on your business goals. Vagary still sees value in these advertising options, but the data can be questionable. At the very least, we always suggest digitally testing creative elements like the copy, fonts, visuals, call-to-action, etc., before utilizing them in traditional media advertising campaigns.
Event or team sponsorship is considered a hybrid of public relations and advertising. Events are intimate venues that allow your brand to connect, and interact, with a specific audience or community. While the sponsorship of the event works much like advertising, the social media exposure of it can result in social goodwill and reflect positively on the sponsor. Events are a fantastic channel for building brands, but the return on the investment can be challenging to measure. The agreements with the event promoters should not be entered into lightly. Reputable event promoters will have a history of providing value and communication opportunities for their sponsors.
The decision to add each new channel to your Media Plan needs to include a discussion of the utility of each channel with regards to your organization’s communication goals. Among other things, we consider your marketing budget, your internal bandwidth and media channel expertise, your competitive set, your product or service offering, your geographic location, your target audience, and more.
After you have your Media Plan defined, it's time to decide on the way you choose to communicate with your key audiences, your style. Whether you're responding to a disgruntled customer on Facebook, a rant by an ex-employee on Twitter, or you're putting together a display ad for the Google Display Network; your company needs to be consistent with speaking points and style. Vagary will help you define a Media Plan that is appropriate for your business and your key audiences.
Contact Vagary to create a strategic Media Plan to takes communication objectives, your key audiences, and your available resources into consideration.