Media Blah Blah Blah: Media Matters

There is so much talk in the media space these days that it’s hard to make sense of it all.  Figuring out how to spend our dollars wisely to best reach our moving target, and still get them to experience our brand, and buy our product, is a feat unto itself.  So what is a marketer to do?

Today’s consumers are in control…of what they watch, what they buy, what they don’t buy and how and what they communicate with their friends.  They are slicing and dicing their information.  They are visual.  They want to play.  They want to click.  They want to interact.  They want the ability to customize their entertainment - and their life. They are impatient and in control.  Pertinence matters. 

As a marketer, it’s our job to engage them…with our message and with our brand.

Throw into the mix television; magazines; newspapers; radio; online; in-theatre; outdoor; advergaming; blogging; VOD; texting; couponing; product placement; promotion; direct mail; sweepstakes; geo and behavioral targeting; social networking; viral marketing; key word; search engine optimization; and blah blah blah, and we have a dizzying array of choices…and voices. The lines are blurred as we struggle to drive our message and our brand to an audience who is now in control of the gate.

If you are targeting kids - and their parents - your product message and the media vehicles you use to distribute that message are different today than they were yesterday.  Recognize it.  Adjust.  No matter what media mix you’re concocting - whether you’re delivering your message nationally, regionally, locally, or even nationally with a local overlay, the media message itself is fast becoming more localized, more personalized, more humanized.

The secret to smart media planning and buying is keeping it simple…and logical…and targeted…and personal…and pertinent.  Today’s consumer is smart, anxious, impatient and tired of being sold to.  They are in total control of the media they consume.  The old rules of the game no longer apply.

Old school media thinking is not enough to build today’s winning brand.  The “good old days” of throwing ALL media dollars against TV to see what sticks is no longer the sole basis of a smart campaign.  Not when ROI is the phrase that pays.  Today, different budgets and different challenges require different solutions.  Yet reach is still reach.  Our dollars have to reach our fragmented audience and drive them to learn more, to take a step closer, to engage with our brand, and to buy our product(s).

To ensure smart media planning, we must maintain media relationships, sharpen our negotiation skills, strengthen our buying power and build efficiencies, and negotiate the all important value added merchandising into our buys.   But in this changing and changed world of splintered media choices and fragmented audiences, we need to break down the challenge, slow down the process, and think logically about our audience, our planning and our placement.   

It’s time to rethink the campaign.  Align with distribution.  Put your money where your market is.  Go national or go local.  Or go both.  But go.  Test, read and roll.  Manage your buy.  Test, test, test.  If you’ve driven awareness have you driven the sale?  If not, evaluate and reallocate.  Go back to basics.  Bring down awareness spending and increase drive to retail.  Blend your spend.  Measure click through rates. Pay attention.  Analyze and optimize.  Sure, bring in the experts - but it’s up to you to look at the full picture and take responsibility.  Be accountable.  Your plan will be better because of it.  

David Becker, President, Blue Plate Media Services

Published  05.15.08