It’s that time of year again. Whether you love it or hate it, media planning season is upon us. It’s time to start crunching numbers and evaluating needs for 2014. Even the best media planners can get stuck in the same patterns year over year, gradually decreasing the effectiveness of the plan. Never fear, our media conscious friends! Applying a few simple principles can keep you out of complacent planning!
1. Look Back Before You Move Forward
Before you rush into 2014, take some time to evaluate the performance of the 2013 plan. How did the overall plan perform again the goals and objectives? How did individual mediums and vehicles do? Identify strengths and weaknesses of the plan that can help evaluate components of the new plan.
2. Gut Check Your Goals
The marketing environment changes so rapidly it’s often dangerous to just pick up last year’s goals and objectives. Look at internal sales data, evaluate the market place, changes in the target audience, opportunities within your vertical, etc. Put all this together to decide on realistic stretch goals that align with your overall marketing strategy.
3. Be Open Minded
It’s so easy to just keep the same old placements that have worked in the past. But it’s also a quick way to have a plain-jane copycat media plan. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping elements that have performed well, make sure they’re still appropriate for this year’s goals. And always open yourself up to new mediums or vehicles. Force yourself to explore new opportunities to see if you can turn a well performing media plan into an even higher impact plan.
4. Don’t set it and forget it
Your plan should be a living, breathing document. Build in contingencies and opportunities for adjustments if some elements aren’t performing well. Yes, there are some things you’ll have to lock in with a long-term contract. But you can also create opportunities to run shorter test campaigns and/or opt-out of planned placements.
5. Remember the Big Picture
While you’re analyzing all the budget line items and new vehicles to add, don’t forget to tweak the timing of your placements. Aligning media placements with larger marketing plans (events, promotions, etc.) can make a huge difference in the overall performance of your plan.