Behind every effective brand is a well-planned media strategy.
Still, with so many options now available - both online and in traditional media - choosing the right channels, publications and messaging for your unique business goals is a challenge in itself.
In our latest virtual GO! workshop for marketing team leaders, “How to Build a Media Strategy that Can’t be Missed,” we explored some of the common challenges and misconceptions around media as a channel - and what you need to get laid out before investing in a media strategy that works for your business.
GO! Marketing+ workshops are free, strategy-focused workshops for marketing leaders looking to invest in or uplift their campaigns and channels. To join an upcoming event, take a look here.
Media Strategy: The Basics
At the most basic level, ‘Media Strategy’ is the practice of where and how messages are going to be delivered to consumers or niche markets.
It involves identifying the characteristics of potential customers, purchasing space on the channels (or ‘media’) these potential customers are consuming, and defining the characteristics of the media that will be used to deliver the message.
Originally considered as the purchasing and advertising of more traditional, ‘offline’ media, ‘Media Strategy’ as it stands today can incorporate a huge range of channels.
This evolution of the discipline can sometimes cause confusion in how we define Media in 2022 - so, here are the basics.
What are the differences between Media Strategy, Planning, and Buying?
‘Media strategy starts at the beginning, discovering how we can unlock the potential of a campaign.
Media planning is all about the co-ordination of the strategy, and focusses on the different content and channels that are going to be used.
Media Buying is the actual act of negotiating and purchasing the space [which can be harder than it looks] on these channels and content, and focusses on the reach, impact, and value.
The last area to consider - media measurement - is the final piece of the puzzle.’
How to Build an Unmissable Media Strategy - 5 Key Considerations to Boost Your Performance
#1 - What do you *Actually* Want to Achieve With Your Media Strategy?
It can be very easy for Media Strategy to be considered as a broad, vague, ‘awareness’ piece - but if you’re looking to gain investment in your strategy (and you want to get the best return for your spend), your objectives need to go a little deeper than this.
Short Term vs. Longer Term Objectives
‘I think you've got to set objectives for short, mid, long term - if you just focus on one particular horizon, you're going to end up creating behaviours or making decisions based on an incorrect data set.
How Your Objectives Impact your Media Channels
‘If you’re looking for short-term results, the chances are that digital channels will work best.
Big brands usually want to achieve longer-term memory recognition in customers to instigate sales in the future. For this, more traditional Out of Home (OOH) media can work well.
If you need to grow consideration, use more educational pieces and partnerships. These help customers understand more about the brand better than using TV and radio for mass outreach.’
Read more - Where to get Started With Your Media Spend
#2 - How are you Setting Realistic Expectations/Benchmarks?
Sam shares the importance of having a practical framing of your strategy.
‘To understand what you can achieve, you need to understand the potential of your unique campaign.
Practically and simply, you need to benchmark yourself against what’s been done, or the industry average, and take it from there.’
‘It’s important to assess your budget and understand what you want it to achieve,’ Tanjit explains.
‘Particularly when working with media agencies, it’s important to align what success looks like for you. You can then build a strategy off the back of these conversations.’
Benchmarking Tools for your media strategy:
#3 - Which KPIs are you Using - and how Useful are They?
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to metrics, is deciding which ones are useful for you.
‘You need to focus on the metrics that matter, and don’t get distracted by the ones that don’t,’ Katy tells us.
‘We always start with a framework that quickly shows if you’ve got too many, because you can end up with a data overload.’
How Many Metrics Should You Be Measuring With Your Media Strategy?
‘Start with between three and six, spread across brand, behaviour and commercial.
Focus on what is going to drive the big business ambitions, whether that’s growth, catching up with your competitor, or whatever else it might be - but don’t overdo it.’
#4 - What do you Really Know About Your Audience?
Almost any marketer will have a strong idea of the channels their marketers are likely to be using, where that’s TV, OOH, radio or otherwise.
However, as Sam shares, it can get a little more complicated than that.
‘Don’t assume your behaviours are the same as others in your demographic - our receptiveness and ability to respond to media will change throughout the day.
Context, mood, and mindset are all really important points to understand the nuance of the media channel selection.’
#5 - Are you Missing out With Your Channels?
The ‘specialised’ nature of Media Strategy can often mean that there isn’t as strong an in-housed knowledge of these channels.
So, does this lack of visibility might mean you’re missing out?
B2B opportunities from B2C strategies
Sam mentions that, ‘there are specific traits of B2B which you may implement particularly at the execution stage around Account Based Marketing (ABM).
However, because media channels have become more accessible, some of the elements around B2C (i.e., tapping into feelings and emotional connections), are still really important for B2B.
So, you can learn a lot from fantastic consumer-focussed campaigns, and apply them to a B2B environment.’
The Accessibility of TV?
One channel that marketers often think is particularly expensive is television.
However, Katy believes that this is a common misconception.
‘When looking at surveys conducted by Thinkbox, you’ll actually find that 60% of all TV advertising spend was under £250,000 or less.
Television is doable, viable, and good for performance campaigns.’
Next Steps: When and how to seek Specialist Media Support for Your Needs
Of course, it’s not always possible to execute an effective strategy using the limited resources that are available to you.
As such, we asked our experts about where they see the real value in media strategy support.
Media Agencies can literally save you money
Katy stresses the value of negotiation and special rates that are available when using a media buying agency.
‘We’ll typically get much better buying rates [for media] than if you went direct.
In fact, most clients who deal directly with media vendors that aren’t getting ripped off will have a special department set up within their to business to do just this.
If you aren’t able to do that, you will always get better buying power and value through going through an agency.’
Media Agencies can help you benchmark ‘what good looks like’
Tanjit also highlights that agencies are able to help benchmark your campaign on what they know already works.
‘Some of that is top-line measurement based on what we already know, but it’s still data that is quite valuable.’
Media Agencies provide objective advice - and tooling
Katy highlights how agencies can help simplify the process and offer expert advice.
‘Agencies will give you the bigger picture and provide an unbiased view of your current plans.
They also have the tools to be able to track 48 sheets and TV performance, allowing you to have better buying power and value.’
Finally - Agencies are specialised in what they do
Sam rounds off by reminding us that agencies are obsessed with what they do.
‘Brands shouldn’t be obsessed about this. They should be obsessed about the product or service that they are providing. Specialists will know it better than you ever should.’
If you want to discuss the potential for working with media agencies, or want ot evaluate your current media agency performance GO! can help. Get in touch with the team for an initial, cost-free chat.