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media buying

Challenges to Media Planning

A Media Planning and Buying Agency Improves Your Chances of Campaign Success

Many companies place their own advertising media, and a lot of them take the proverbial spaghetti and throw it at the wall, trying a variety of media tactics without considering an overall strategy.  What many don’t realize is the amount of research, experience, and time it takes to pull off a successful multi-channel marketing approach. This is where a strong media planning and buying agency will save you from the pitfalls of media planning and bring you from initial concept to provable success. A well-executed media plan will put your product, service, or proposition in front of the right people, at exactly the right time. This yields better results and return on investment (ROI) for your company. Here are some challenges that a media planning and buying agency will help you navigate.

So, What is Media Planning?

Put simply, media planning is the strategy by which you develop and deploy your paid messaging. This includes the timing, placement and audience for your message. Media planning is the careful research, analysis of channels and markets and strategic planning of how and when your paid content reaches your audience.

All of this, of course, must conform to any budget constraints and with strategic goals in mind.  The ability to balance these variables and the available tactics is both an art and a science.  A seasoned agency can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls in the media planning process.

Know Your Audience

Arguably the most critical aspect of media planning is knowing your audience.  What appeals to them?  What does their daily routine look like?  When are they most likely to be online to see your ad or in the car to hear it over the radio?  What kind of messages do they dislike?  Creating audience personas and knowing them inside and out is a foundational piece of your strategy.

Insufficient information regarding your audience will wreak havoc on your return on ad spend.  For example, the best possible messaging and timing will not yield any results if it is served to an audience that is not interested in that offer.  A capable media planning and buying agency will conduct in-depth analysis of your target customer and apply prior experience to build a successful strategy to reach your audience.  From effective calls-to-action to the latest consumer habits, an ad agency with this expertise will help you find exactly who your product or service should reach.


Timing is (Almost) Everything

When it comes to media planning, timing is everything.  After finding your perfect audience, timing will be the key to campaign success and maximizing return on ad spend.  There will be a time that you will need to make some tough decisions.  When and how often would you like to hit your audience with messaging while still staying within your budget?  Would you rather spend your budget in a couple of weeks to make sure your audience sees and hears your ad with great frequency?  Or would you rather it spans several months or perhaps even the whole year?

Different times of the year may affect the amount of competition you may encounter and pricing of placements. Tweaking those times, or “flights”, on your own is tedious and requires a lot of legwork. A media planning and buying agency will weigh all the options and recommend flights that make sense for your budget while still optimizing for results.

Keep an Eye (or Two) on Performance

In multi-channel media planning, a variety of metrics must be monitored to ensure your budget is being spent appropriately. For example, tactics with bidding involved, such as Facebook ads or programmatic media, are subject to market forces.  Depending on how you pace your budget, this may cause you to expend your budget faster or to simply get in front of fewer eyeballs than you originally projected. 

Conversely, placing media with fixed rates, such as a negotiated television buy, gives you more assurances on the placement side but is subject to audience fluctuation.  Ratings estimates are exactly that—estimates.  A good media planning and buying agency performs the careful monitoring needed to ensure ratings and delivery goals are reached.

Optimization Isn’t Just a Buzzword

The most time-consuming aspect of executing a thorough media plan is measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns.  There is a continuous cycle of research and analysis that is done on each campaign as they run and then an integration of what’s learned from them. Depending on the results, certain changes may need to be made to stay within budget, make sure you spend evenly, to lower bid prices or to maximize results.

These tweaks will optimize the campaign to better realize the goals you developed at the start.  A media planning and buying agency will also have tools at their disposal to do the data research, but it takes more than software to read these campaigns.  A keen eye for the marketplace and experience with various channels make agencies the perfect partner in ensuring campaign performance.

Choosing a Media Planning and Buying Agency

Now that you see the importance of hiring an agency to help you with media planning, how do you choose one?  To start, you should have a firm grasp on your goals. Once your goals are clear, you can start with getting recommendations from agencies.  Some agencies specialize in one vertical or media but not others.  Many agencies are just digital buyers or play in traditional media.  A full-service agency has expertise in both digital and traditional media.

Strategic Marketing is a full-service agency with over 28 years of experience.  We strive to be a true business partner for our clients; we treat your business as if it were our own; we treat your money as if it were our own.  We know that we’re successful only if you’re successful. To find out more, contact us today at 561.688.8155 and see how our agency help will improve your ROI on paid media.