Media Planning 101

Media 101: How To Choose Which Ones To Use?

By Staff Writer
In October 18, 2012
1952 Views

Nothing is simple in life or media planning. There are many considerations such as client goals, budgets, geography, and target audiences. Yet, when first faced with a blank sheet of paper on which to create a media plan, there are basic guidelines that can help you choose the right media. Here is a primer on media types and their strengths and weaknesses.

TV & Cable Media Planning

Pros

  • Broadest reach possible, reaching almost every US Household
  • Very high viewership (a single exposure can reach a mass audience)
  • Sight, sound and motion combine for strong impact and can create emotion
  • Can use to demonstrate product or service
  • Strong branding
  • Connection with high profile or targeted programs
  • TV has broadest reach and lowest clutter; Cable offers more targeted networks, but much more ad clutter

Cons

  • High out of pocket cost for :30 spots
  • High production costs
  • Weak summer ratings
  • Ratings decline as younger viewers shift to other devices for viewing (mobile, iPads, online, etc.)
  • Ad-skipping equipment/options (although some studies do show branding still possible as viewers do remember seeing McDonald’s logo or can of Coors Light even when fast-forwarding.)

Radio Media Planning

Pros

  • Targeting
  • Mobility (in-car listening high)
  • Listening loyalty to stations/DJs (average person has a 3-station preference)
  • Cost-effective
  • Those with limited budget can often get stations to record reads at no cost and need only develop a radio script
  • Promotional and merchandising opportunities

Cons

  • Audio (no visual to help impact audience)
  • Ads can get lost in clutter of some stations
  • Difficult to build reach, easier to use this medium for frequency

Magazine Media Planning

Pros

  • Can have high readership level
  • Able to target based on magazine type and its readership qualitative data
  • Strong visuals can catch attention (and 4C much better quality than in newspaper)
  • Allows for in-depth product explanation
  • Long shelf life
  • Offers price shopping/coupons

Cons

  • Many ads in magazine/on website can cause clutter
  • Can be high out-of-pocket cost for larger or unique size units
  • There are so many magazines that choices may seem to be too many
  • Lead time for a monthly print magazine is long (so no easy, quick changes)
  • Long shelf life doesn’t allow for short-term sales/coupon offers

Newspaper Media Planning

Pros

  • Immediacy
  • Older, but loyal audience who regard what is in newsprint as credible
  • Daily newspaper can reach a relatively large audience in a market
  • Can place a newspaper print ad more quickly and efficiently than magazine
  • Good for prime shopping/coupons

Cons

  • Circulations are declining
  • Difficult to target a specific consumer
  • Skews older (50+)
  • Limited negotiability

Outdoor Media Planning

Pros

  • Effective for short messages and simple ideas
  • Attention grabbing
  • Low CPM due to the large daily audience
  • Message available throughout 24-hour day
  • Can target specific locations

Cons

  • Difficult to communicate any product or service details
  • Prime locations can be expensive and go quickly
  • Short exposure time of 6–8 seconds
  • Unable to change message quickly on a print billboard
  • Effectiveness can be affected by the environment, weather, etc.

Direct Mail Media Planning

Pros

  • Can target consumers using multiple factors
  • Results can be easy to track
  • Helpful in reinforcing existing relationships
  • Unlimited message length
  • Price shopping /coupons

Cons

  • Costly (rising postal costs and production and paper costs)
  • Low response rate (2–3% is normal)
  • Can be considered “junk mail” by a consumer and never even read
  • Only as good as your mail list

Online Media Planning

Pros

  • Able to sell and communicate directly with customers (users can interact with your ad)
  • Able to reach engaged consumers 24/7
  • Easy to change message or track and optimize most successful message/creative
  • ROI accountability with click-thru rates and time spent with ad

Cons

  • Must have a viable website to link to (and user-friendly, or consumer will not return)
  • Advertising clutter
  • Advertising can be considered intrusive
Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!