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Media Planning | The #1 Guide

In this guide, I’ll share with you how to use structure and develop a winning media planning framework.

Online marketing today is highly competitive. And so, you’ve got to be able to put your marketing investment in the right place. If you’re starting out or have an established marketing team, you still need to know exactly how to spend every marketing dollar. And yes, you’ve got allocate some money to test new marketing channels and strategies. But for the most part, the majority of your media planning needs to be based on what will catapult your business forward.

Regardless of what type of business you’re in, you need to create and invest in different media types such as written content, audio (podcasts), video marketing, image posts, webinars, etc.

Media whether it’s social media, digital advertising and any other form, is the only you can boost brand awareness, engagement, conversions. And that in turn translates into revenue for your business.

But to get the marketing returns you expect, you need to do proper media planning.

What is a media plan?

A media plan covers the types of media you will create, where and what channels you’ll use to publish it, and how you’ll publish it. This allows you to have a great overview on how your marketing strategy is implemented and how you’re going to reach, engage and convert your audience to customers.

In some cases, a media plan will be focused on large business initiatives such as a Go-To Market campaign but at times, a media plan can be focused on smaller or narrower parts of the business such a media plan for your new podcast.

For a media plan to be successful, it needs to address

  • Who your target audience is
  • What channels are going to be used
  • How much impressions, clicks, visits you want to generate
  • What business outcomes and KPIs you want to achieve
  • How are you going to generate your creative assets
  • Media Buying Budget
  • Timeline
  • How it aligns with your entire marketing strategy

Benefits of Media Planning

There are several advantages in having a strong media plan. Media planning helps you identify

  • Areas you might need help with
  • Skills you are strong in
  • What human resources you’ll need
  • How much marketing investment you need

In a nutshell, media planning increases the chances of success of your marketing campaigns and marketing strategy in general. In addition, it helps with the following:

  • Understand your target audience on a deeper level
  • Assessing and analysing the various media channels you’ll focus on
  • Determining the timing and frequency of the content you’ll share with the world
  • Be more organised and effective on a monthly basis
  • Measure and track the success of your strategies

Media Buying

Whilst media planning focuses on the plan that will achieve the goals of your marketing strategy, media buying is focused on where and how much you’ll invest. Media buying is about calculating, forecasting and measuring the advertising cost and making optimisations and changes along the way.

Media buying is referred to as paid media. That could be a Google Ad campaign, Facebook Ad campaign, Native Ads, Influencer Marketing sponsorships or even radio advertising. All your combined advertising cost goes under the umbrella of media buying.

Free media like organic social media posts for example, is not part of media buying. For a business to be successful and scale fast, you’ll need both, free media and paid media.

And for media buying and paid advertising to be effective, media planning is quite crucial. That’s another reason media planning is quite important because it allows you to understand how much you need to spend on advertising to achieve your business goals given the results you can and are getting from free media.

The Media Planning Process

There are 6 main steps for any media planning process to be effective which I’ll go through with you.

Step 1 – Determine your business goals

The first step is to understand and be clear on the goals and objectives you have. For example, you might want to increase brand awareness, so you’ll decide that you want to get 50% more visibility in the next 3 months across your target audience. Or you might want to increase your online sales by 20%. Whatever these goals are, you need to be very clear on then.

Step 2 – Run the numbers

The next step is to look at the data from your current and past campaigns and understand the status quo. You’ll need to combine that with additional market research and tools that can help you understand the potential of the channels and tactics you’re going to implement. For example, the Facebook Audience targeting tools allow you to know the audience size based on the criteria you set and Google Ads have forecast tools that help you understand the demand and volume for search queries. There are a ton of online tools that can help you with that.

Step 3 – Create the plan

Put the plan together and don’t try to perfect it. A perfect plan never happens. Execution is more important. Once you hit the ground running, you’ll be able to make tweaks and improvements. A good plan needs to address the who, what, where and when. Make sure your plan is as detailed as possible.

Step 4 – Get the resource you need

Once you create the plan, you’ll know what resources you’re lacking or need more of. For example, your media plan might be heavily focused on video marketing which means you’ll need to invest more in video shooting and editing and possibly, creative directors. Whatever it is, make sure you have all the resources you need before you start.

Step 5 – Implement the plan and measure success.

Get started. Start actioning the plan according to the timelines you set. Create your performance marketing reports which you can review on a daily and weekly basis to stay on top of the performance of your campaigns.

Step 6 – Make adjustments

Your performance marketing reports will allow you to see where the gaps are, what’s working and what’s not. You’ll need to give everything you planned to do, a shot before you decide to make changes. However, when you have sufficient data, make sure you act on it.

Author avatar
Rani Arsanios
Founder and Director of SAVV Digital, Rani has spent over 15 years working and consulting brands and business globally on how to improve and optimise their sales and marketing capabilities.

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