Do you PLAN your company’s media or are you just buying space based on what the media outlets are putting in front of you?

Many organizations spend thousands of dollars researching their competitors only to drop the ball when it comes time to roll out that great new campaign. The fact is that creative matters MUCH LESS than strong ad placement. You know the saying, “If a tree falls in the woods…” So, if a beautiful ad is designed and then placed where the target audience doesn’t see it, does it make a sound? No. Not one sound. Wait, I do hear something…

Do you hear that noise? Those are crickets.

Media planning and placement is a skill, simply put. Often, I encounter people that claim they purchase their own media for their organization or the task is simply tacked on to someone’s already lengthy to-do list in the company. The assumption for many leaders is that someone in their organization is spending a few hours a month to place some ads and throw out few billboards, and the media buying effort is then complete. If this sounds like your organization, save your money and don’t place anything. You are throwing money down the drain.

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

Let’s assume that you are attempting to reach young males, 25-30 years of age, with an income of $35,000+ to come into your business and buy your merchandise or services. 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 audience still goes to for most mid-to-high level purchasing decisions. If you sell cars or houses, this is ten-fold.

How many of us have parents up into their 70s and 80s 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 product’s 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. Don’t assume that older Americans are not online because they are. However, these older consumers use the internet differently than the younger generations. A qualified media planner will know how and when to reach them, both online and off.

Hire a professional and give the process of media placement the attention it deserves. Media, done well, costs money. Media done poorly costs a fortune. You need a strategic media plan, a budget, measurable benchmarks, and auditing to ensure that you end up with media that hits the target for the money you have invested. Otherwise, you are just buying space. And expensive space at that.


Betsy McCloskey

-Betsy McCloskey, Principal/Partner

Plaid Swan is a full-service
marketing communications firm,
providing national media services to
many companies across the United States.