Media planning is intricate process that involves a lot of moving parts. The steps outlined in this article are being followed by all major agencies today. Smaller agencies, with more limited resources, should follow these best practices as long as time and budget permits.

In planning an advertising campaign, the first step should be to clear you mind if all preconceived notions about previous campaigns and start fresh.

The next step should be to find a scientific method of testing the real strength of different advertisement methods and media, such as TV, print, radio, outdoor and digital.

This takes a four-pronged approach:

Step 1 – Learn Your Options

Even before putting the media plan together you should have options for your media needs.

  • Who are your media vendors?
  • What are they offering?
  • How effective is the advertising they are offering?

Step 2 – Learn Bonus Features

Sometimes it’s good to offer your client something they did not expect. Think of it as a cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae.

  • Will you be able to offer added value in terms of impressions?
  • Are you able to offer dashboards?
  • Are you able to offer monthly reporting?
  • Will you able to support 24/7 customer support for your clients?

Step 3 – Learn To Allocate Budget

Once you have found what vendors on your go-to list, start playing with the budget. Try to find the best placement to showcase the product/service you are promoting while reaching the right audience.

  • Which media moves the needle this year?
  • What is the best placement for client’s creative?
  • What are the media trends in the next five years?
  • Which media do the customers use on a regular basis?

Step 4 – Learn From Results

As you do this, you will be testing whole media such as newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, direct mail and so forth, against one another for future attempts at selling similar products or services. In other words, you are not only testing individual newspapers or radio stations against one another, you are, at the same time, testing newspapers as a class against magazines against direct mail, and so on, to learn how they rank in providing cost-effective sales results.

Finding the right balance between the service, the media, and the audience in your media plan takes time. This systematic four-pronged approach will save you some time, especially if you answer the questions provided above.

Happy media planning!