Do you PLAN your company’s media or are you just buying space?

Many organizations spend thousands of dollars researching their competitors then off to a design firm they go to create a catchy tagline and graphic to start the new business flying in the door.

Do you hear that noise? Those are crickets.

Media planning and placement is a skill. It just simply is. Often I encounter people that share with me that they purchase their own media for their organization or the task is simply tacked on to someone’s already lengthy to-do list in their company.  The assumption for many leaders is that someone in their organization is spending a few hours out of the month to place some ads and throw out few billboards, and the media buying effort is then complete. The sad fact is this may very well be true. If this is you save your money and don’t place anything. You are throwing money out the window and not getting much of a return, so just bank the cash.

I hate throw water on the myth, as my firm does award winning design like most, but the fact is that creative matters MUCH less than strong ad placement. “If a tree falls in the woods”….if a beautiful ad is designed but placed where no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? No.

We all hear that newspapers are dying and traditional television is out and while I agree that these mediums are getting less views and readership than they did 5 years ago, they still matter. Why?

Let’s assume that you are attempting to reach young males; 25-30 years of age; income of $35,000+ to come in to your business and buy your merchandise. Digital and social media are the natural forums that come to mind, correct? The challenge with limiting your media mix to new media only is that you have kicked one of your target’s primary INFLUENCERS out of the equation. The parents. The people your desired audience still go to for most mid-to high level purchasing decisions.

How many of us have parents up in to their 70’s and 80’s that still rattle off where to get the best price for that new gadget we are considering? Over Christmas this year, my 87 year old father told me who had the best price on a large ticket item I am considering and I assure you he didn’t see it on Facebook. I checked and he was dead on- not only on the pricing but on the products rating with Consumer Reports. I had never heard of the company that he mentioned. I will now be purchasing from them.

These are the people reading newspapers and watching cable TV. These Influencers are an extension of your sales team and therefore need to be considered in your media mix. Now, am I recommending that you spend a large portion of your budget on traditional media? Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly depends on many factors. Keep in mind, this works both ways if your target audience is elderly. Don’t assume that older Americans are not online, they are. However, they use the internet differently than the younger generations. A qualified media planner will know how and when to reach them on and off line.
But regardless, hire a professional and give the process the attention it deserves. Media, done well, costs money. You need a written strategic media plan, a budget, measurable benchmarks, and auditing to claim that you actually place media. Otherwise you are just buying space. And expensive space at that.