Planning is essential for any venture to be successful. Media planning ensures optimal allocation of money and time to achieve the targeted objective. The ultimate objective is attraction and retention of customers who want and need what you have. These are loyal customers that proper media planning can attract, but only if it’s planned well. There are seven vital components of media planning, ignoring which can jeopardise the whole objective.
Target audience: It is the core group of people to whom you want to convey the message. By defining the TG, media planning efforts can be fine-tuned and targeted for the right kind of engagement. The classification of TG helps the media planner understand media consumption habits and accordingly choose the media mix.
Target market: It is critical to think about who will consume the content. The relative importance of each market based on market size, current sales, market potential, distribution and competitive activity need to be analysed. The idea is to get the best possible matching of media and the market.
Media environment: The media planner needs to prepare an extensive media mix in order to accomplish maximum reach and frequency. The selection should be based on it’s market strength, brand communication and product - market requirements. It’s crucial to reach more people in more ways than any single medium can encompass.
Media weight: It is the volume of audience delivered by a media campaign in terms of number of commercials and advertisements, amount of insertions, time parameters, and budget. Media weight can be either objective-led (GRP/ Reach objective) or budget-led.
Reach is to ascertain the number of people exposed to the media plan. Gross Rating Points is a shorthand measure of the total amount of exposure they want to buy from media outlets such as TV networks. Frequency is the ratio of GRP over reach. Reach indicates media dispersion while frequency shows media repetition. Media objectives often call for some combination of reach and frequency.
Scheduling: Scheduling is largely important for a brand that has a purchase cycle. For effective scheduling, spread of the campaign over time is paramount. Having decided the media mix and allocation across geography, consider when to advertise. Media planners can choose among three methods of scheduling: continuity, flight, and pulse. Continuity scheduling spreads media spending evenly across months. The flight scheduling approach alternates advertising across months, with heavy advertising in certain months and no advertising at all in other months. Pulse scheduling is a mix of the first two scheduling methods, so that the brand maintains a low level of advertising across all months but spends more in selected months.
Competitive analysis: Competitive analysis offers a legitimate source of competitive advantage. By knowing the competitor’s media buy, media selection, frequency, reach, continuity, schedules, a media plan can be so arranged as to extract maximum advantage from the media campaign.
Measures of media plan effectiveness: As media planners need to show returns on their investment, measures of the effectiveness of a media plan becomes an integral part of it. The effectiveness of media planning can be measured with indicators like execution of media placements, media vehicle exposure, comprehension, conviction and action. The effectiveness of a media plan can be judged using methods such as surveys, feedback, tracking, and observation.
(Arnab Banerjee, Executive Director, Ceat Ltd.)