“The medium is the message.” When media theorist Marshall McLuhan made that statement, he believed the medium was more important than the content it presented. While I don’t agree with McLuhan, I do think the media you choose is just as important as the content presented. Media is what gets your message out to your target audience. Choose the wrong media and your campaign’s dead in the water, no matter how creative it is.
But, how do you create an effective media strategy?
1) Define your target audience.
Before you do anything, you need to figure out who you want to reach. Targeting people based on age, gender and marital status is a start but it doesn’t tell you anything about these people: the activities they enjoy, what they like to read, where they like to go. Your goal is to know your target so well that you can talk about them like they’re your best friends.
2) Research your target audience’s media habits.
Find out what media they use and how often. Are there industry publications that are popular with the demographic you’re targeting? Are there events or places they frequent? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start looking for media vehicles that match your audience’s interests.
3) Decide if you want reach or frequency.
Ideally, you want to reach as many people as possible as many times as possible. But, if you don’t have a huge marketing budget, you usually have to choose one over the other. To me, it depends on what you’re offering. For instance, if you’re selling pizza, you’d opt for reach. Most people like pizza so mailing out coupons all over the city will probably translate into more pizzas delivered. However, if you’re selling energy-efficient technology, you’d be better off opting for frequency. Your goal is to build relationships over time with the people interested in that type of technology. That means you’ll advertise in places that engage your target audience instead of trying to reach the widest audience possible.
4) Get creative.
Sometimes the best way to reach an audience isn’t through traditional channels like radio, print or direct mail. Alternative methods can often be cheaper and more effective. Think Facebook contests, mobile apps and blogging. Think advertising on pizza boxes, bar coasters, public bathroom mirrors and urinals. Think vehicle wraps, bike jerseys and golf balls. Think street teams and sponsoring community events. There are a million ways to get your message out, you just have to think creatively.
5) Let the pros handle your media buy.
Hate to be biased here but agencies have long-standing relationships with the media and can get discounts regular people can’t. You’ll get more for your money going through an agency.
Follow these tips and you’re well on your way to a successful media plan that gets the right message to the right people.