Building a New Vocabulary for Media Planning

Building a New Vocabulary for Media Planning

Effective collaboration between teams is key to effective marketing. Sales and marketing; agencies and clients; agencies and other agencies— and creative and media are no exception. Sometimes that can be a challenge both logistically and mentally for the parties involved. The ad plan is the ad plan and the creative is the creative, and typically, the creative follows the advertising plan. Maybe it’s time to reframe that.

We have written about the need to talk less about “traditional” media and more about tangible media. Now we’re taking it one step further. Instead of talking about media planning and buying with terms like traditional, digital, mobile. cable, radio, etc., we need to reframe how we think and talk about ad schedules. In today’s media landscape it is more appropriate to discuss message format and distribution channels.

To do that, let’s reframe advertising outlets and options into three main categories: audio, video & display.

At first this may seem like an unnecessary change we’re making for the sake of being different—we’re not that fussy, we promise. By pinpointing the message format and combining distribution channels, we’re painting a clearer picture of how to reach the target audiences.

So what category suits your message best? Is your message more visual? Maybe display is a good starting point. Then you can layer your campaign with digital and tangible tactics to deliver that visual message in the way that best reaches the target.

This leads to a more effective campaign because the message takes center stage in the campaign, working as the primary factor that informs the strategy and tactics (closely followed of course by timing and budget).

This way, you don’t end up with display ads when what you’re trying to communicate isn’t as visual or actually needs more space—like what a video offers—to convey your message.

Or maybe advertising isn’t what you need at all and your campaign needs to include or solely use the marketing category of engagement or experiential. This includes those hybrid tactics like social (which has an ad component) or trade shows (which can include sponsorships). 

It’s really a pretty simple reframe: your campaign strategy isn’t tangible vs digital; it’s about what you’re trying to communicate and who you’re trying to reach. Once you review your campaign goals and what message you need to get across, you can determine what medium will be most effective, display, video or audio (or experiential) and how to distribute it from there.

Goodbye, Traditional Marketing; Hello, Tangible Marketing

Goodbye, Traditional Marketing; Hello, Tangible Marketing

For all the messages out there telling you traditional and print media aren’t dead, there are dozens more telling you they are. The shiny newness of digital can easily blind marketers to the value of the age-old tactics of traditional marketing — or as we’re now calling it, “tangible marketing.”

Let’s get something straight right away: we love digital marketing. But we love it as a piece of your entire puzzle — not the only one you shoehorn into each and every campaign. And for every good, reputable digital advertising company, there are again dozens more who are less-than-good. And their sales teams are calling us (and our clients) trying to sell a digital-only media plan. Our approach to a media plan takes a more 360° view of things: we’re hard-pressed to think of a client who should only use digital advertising.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s talk about why we’re calling it “tangible” media. Aside from the fact that “traditional” makes these tactics sound outdated, “tangible marketing” communicates many of the advantages of these tactics.

It’s definitely born partly of the smoke-and-mirror frustration of digital; often the only proof of performance you get are mocked-up screenshots and a spreadsheet of stats. It’s usually a good thing that you aren’t being served your own ads (depending on your targeting), but there’s something comforting in being able to touch, hear, or see your messages out in the world. And there is something vitally important about that tangibility to establish a connection with your customers.

Tangible marketing is also still (more often than not) the best way to reach the most customers at the same time. It delivers that top-of-the-funnel branding and awareness that’s critical at the beginning of a new campaign. This makes it ideal not as a total replacement for digital, but as a layered tactic.

Tangible ads can help prime your customers so that when they see your digital ad, they’ll be more ready to convert. Tangible marketing can even help drive search traffic that creates an opportunity to capture and retarget these now-warm leads with digital ads.

Even more exciting than layering tangible and digital tactics are the new marriages of digital data to tangible media targeting strategies. So now you can take digital data to build an audience profile and then target those audiences at scale. A match made in media heaven!

So when the next rep cold calls you and works hard to convince you that digital ads are the only way forward, remember to consider it in the context of your goals, your sales funnel and your existing strategy. How would this tactic support your goals? Are you ready for that stage of the funnel, or do you need more awareness? Is your digital ecosystem set up to make the most of these possible clicks?

Ready to take advantage of this marriage of digital and tangible tactics?

Results You Can Touch: The Continued Success of Print Media Advertising

Results You Can Touch: The Continued Success of Print Media Advertising

There’s no question that digital media is pretty well-ingrained in our culture, leaving many to doubt or dismiss the efficacy of print advertising. But as you’ll see below, print media is still capable of delivering an impact that can be difficult to achieve digitally. And its audience may be wider than you think – 90% of adults 25+ still read magazines (GFK MRI Spring 2016). So how and why is print media advertising thriving?

According to Statista, between 2002 and 2015, nearly 2,000 new magazine titles were launched. Magazines with long, storied histories branched out (GQ Style). Some, like Domino, came back after a long hiatus and much demand.  Even brands built on the web (AirBnB and Pulse) or television (HGTV) launched print titles to satisfy their eager audiences.

Data shows that 95% of Americans under the age of 25 still read print magazines. [Source: MNI]

Essentially, none of these new magazines would exist if there weren’t demand. And where there is market demand, there are advertisers. But we’re a fickle bunch, and we won’t continue to use a tactic that doesn’t produce results. So how exactly is print media containing to provide value to advertisers and brands in this increasingly digitally-focused age?

For one thing, print ad recall has been shown to be a whopping 75% as compared to digital’s 44%. What makes digital ads so much harder to remember? One reason is time.

Say you’re arguing with your friend about another hard-to-remember fact from high school. You open up your mobile web browser and Google the question. You click the first result that looks likely to offer the right answer. Did you see the banner ads down the side of the page you land on? The in-read videos? If you’re focused on your question, probably not (unless it’s a really good, relevant ad).

But when a reader picks up a magazine, they’re more focused on the topic at hand. Because magazines tend to center on a specific industry, activity or niche, your audience is already pre-qualified (provided your brand is complimentary to that niche). And because the reader is carving out time to read the magazine (unlike another absent-minded Google search), it’s more like that you’ll have access to their undivided attention.

So whereas people are becoming more attuned to glaze over yet another banner ad, reading a magazine they care about might make them look at ads in a more favorable light (especially the relevant ones that fit the fabric of the magazine).

ROI Magazine Advertising

The ROI of magazine advertising is almost double that of digital ads. [Source: MNI]

The increased recall and appreciation for print ads can be a result of longer times spent with magazines, the difference in their level of focus, and the physical engagement of their senses. In fact, one study suggests that a truly compelling print ad can even create a false memory of having tried the product.

But as much as all this means that you shouldn’t jump ship entirely to digital for your brand’s ad campaign, neither does it mean the opposite.

Digital and print each have their place in a campaign. Considering the totality of a user’s experience with your ads can help tailor and improve your advertising efforts. A print ad that demands the reader’s attention and energy has a much higher chance of endearing your brand to them than a leaderboard banner ad that has to compete with everything else on the page. It may even have a higher chance of inspiring action.

So as with every aspect of your campaign, consider your goals, audience, assets, and budget and decide how much room your media plan has for print. One thing is for sure: print media is still producing results when applied strategically.

Special shout-out to our friends at MNI for sharing these stats with us.

BKI Hot Takes: Why Radio is More Important Than You Might Think

BKI Hot Takes: Why Radio is More Important Than You Might Think

As marketers, we are always in danger of relying too much on our personal preferences as opposed to our professional knowledge. Our instincts may tell us that “no one” reads the newspaper or “everybody” is online all the time, but is that true of your audience or just of you? Article after article drills this belief further into our brains. And while it may be true of some traditional media that overall consumption is down, some at least are far from dead. Let’s look at how one juggernaut—radio—might still be more relevant than you think.

Rarely do we (especially in an agency) find ourselves precisely in the center of the target audience for the brands we work on. But ironically, our strategy recommendations might be adversely affected when we are. Making assumptions based on our own personal preferences is simply too easy; most marketers don’t even realize they’re doing it. From choosing a color palette for your brand to defining your message to selecting the right platforms for that message, each person on the team will have an opinion based more or less on data than existing prejudices and expectations.

For example, more often than not the suggestion of adding radio to the marketing mix is met with at least some hesitation or skepticism: “But I don’t listen to the radio.” Yet a 2017 metrics report from Nielsen (the ratings gurus themselves) has shown that radio remains one of the top vehicles to reach consumers, no matter the platform. 93% of Americans tune into radio each week. And while many of that 93% of listeners also watch television or engage with smartphone apps, radio reaches millions more. Interestingly too, if you tally up up the number of minutes per week consumers spend consuming broadcast radio (AM/FM) versus streaming audio (e.g. Pandora), broadcast radio outpaces streaming by 14:1.

93% of Americans tune into radio each week

Another common reaction to radio is that it only works for awareness and doesn’t drive action; and even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to measure it. However, a study by the Radio Advertising Bureau showed that radio can even drive search traffic – a 29% increase across 8 brands studied. By delving deeply into search analytics and aligning it with specific days and dayparts during which radio was running, then weighting it with frequency of the campaign, they were able to discern a lift in the volume of searches for each brand.

As unexpected as these statistics may be to some, they certainly demonstrate the danger of judging our audience by our own media habits. Conversely though, we should also be cautious of being too reliant on generalized data to make decisions—even if radio is still relevant overall, the RAB study also showed that some industries see better direct results than others. Certain creative, too, is more likely to drive customers to your site, such as making an offer or personalizing and localizing your message.

While traditional may not yield the same type of easy-to-obtain, tangible, measurable results that digital does, at least we know that people are listening.

Your Most Effective Media Placement

Your Most Effective Media Placement

It’s Fall! That means gorgeous leaves, crisp air, pumpkin carving, and the beginning of TV Sweeps! The end of October kicks off that infamous period during which local television viewers are measured. During this time TV Networks try to gain viewers and increase audiences. Networks are known to pull stunts and show off big names. But what does that mean for your business?

Media planning and buying is a core competency for our agency. We work with clients to build an advertising campaign that achieves their business goals. Advertising schedules are tailored to reach the brand’s target audience in the right place and time. So should you go jumping the shark, or will a less outlandish strategy work for you?

Truth is, no one jumps the shark anymore, not literally anyway. The term originated from a stunt pulled by Fonzie on Happy Days where he jumped a shark on his motorcycle during an episode. These days the advertising landscape is a whole lot broader than three big television networks, so it’s much more important to position your brand consistently where your target will not only see and/or hear the message of it, but will engage with the message.

Here’s the goal of media planning and buying: you want your advertising message to get the most impressions at an efficient cost. That looks different for everyone. You have a target audience, and you’re aiming for the bullseye. So we take a look at the whole marketing picture in order to construct a successful approach for you. Advertising on television during Sweeps may not be the most effective place for your brand to be. where your brand should be.

Sweeps is not what it used to be. It started in the 1950s as a way to determine television ratings across the country. The landscape of ratings is now less focused on four Sweeps periods and, with the introduction of People Meters, has a more consistent approach. With the popularity of streaming entertainment like Netflix and Hulu, Nielsen is now including those in their measurement. There are also many other ways consumers are getting their news and entertainment: Print and Digital newspapers and magazines, websites, apps and radio.

This fall, when you’re watching a big name celebrity on your favorite show, or trying to keep up with all the new programming during sweeps, remember that your brand is unique. You have a story to tell, a message to communicate, and with the right approach, you can hit your target audience in the sweet spot. Contact us and we will help build the best media placement campaign for you.


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