Innovate or Stay the Course – A Media Planner’s Thought Process

A media planner’s main goal is to make sure brands stand apart from their competition. In the pay-to-play world we live in, sometimes brands must differentiate to succeed. Looking for a disruptive and immediate – yet risky – path to take to achieve success quickly? Create radically innovative campaigns.

Media planning is a strategic, collaborative process. Once the research is complete, the target audience defined and budget confirmed, it is time to craft an innovative plan that will take the brand from how it is currently perceived (or lack thereof) to how it wants its consumers to view it.

But wait.

Drastic innovation is expensive, risky and time-consuming. Larger brands have an innovation strategy for their media activities. According to industry sources, a leading beverage company allocates 70 percent of their media budget to proven media campaigns – continuing what is working and optimizing it. Another 20 percent is allocated to innovation – new enhancements in their plans year-over-year. The final 10 percent is reserved for revolutionary ideas – high-risk, high-reward. This strategy ensures the brand’s media endeavors remain successful, even if all test-and-learn tactics fail.

This strategy is taking off with other brands with similar goals. However, for brands with smaller media budgets, this strategy may not be the best use of resources. Not all brands can risk nearly one-third of their budget on unproven ideas. What’s more, brands with smaller budgets may not be able to afford to spread their budget to test various new tactics. What is a brand to do?

If event marketing works for your brand, stay the course – optimizing each event along the way to continually improve your ROI. Moreover, if you see that educational videos are moving the needle for your competitors, find a way to do it better and win back your audience (and part of their audience, too!).

Within the often-risky space of innovation lies the beauty of working with a media planning department at an agency — we can do the heavy lifting by weighing the odds of a media plan’s effectiveness using industry market research and campaign analytics. Whether your brand is staying the course, drastically evolving or both, we can help make an informed decision, driven by market research and years of experience.

There is a time and a place for innovation. But there are also tried and true ways to get your brand in front of the right people, at the right time, efficiently and effectively, at the budget you desire.

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