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A Media Planners Guide to a Kick-Ass Media Plan!

January 27, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Views: 98

I am sad. I am sad that most agencies (big and small) under appreciate and often times, cheapen, the research, process, and work that actually goes into an effective media plan.

As I write this, I would like to share with all other media planners out there, that somehow we can proactively counteract this trend.

Try explaining to your clients the anatomy that goes into an effective media plan. Remember, anyone can learn to do a media plan but not anyone can master the art of creating an effective one!

Media planning is the combination of research and analytical talent, skill with numbers and, dare I say, tough negotiation chops!

So please, have a look through and feel free to shoot me an email for any comments and suggestions on how we can improve more on our craft. By the way, thank you to Mr. Harry Gold for being the inspiration of this column.

"Strategy and tactics. Remind your client of your agreed approach to the planning process.

1. Target audience. Set the stage by reminding all the players who you're going after in the plan.

2. Audience research. Be able to talk about all the research you did on your target audience's online and offline behavior. This will give more impact on your media planning process and choices.

Metrics for Success. Otherwise known as the Score card; These are the metrics and definition of success of the online campaign.

Performance Split. Some of your placements and campaign may be more for branding. Be able to

establish the branding metrics and institute the initiative that some placements (that you'll call out in the plan) can't be viewed through the same lenses applied to the campaign's performance portion (conversion, etc.).

Universe of Opportunities. Show the client all the sites you looked at, not just the ones in your plan. Demonstrate that you left no stone unturned in your research, and highlight the sites the client asked to be included.

Vetting process and RFP list. Explain the selection criteria you applied to all the sites in the universe of opportunities and show the sites you requested an RFP from. Factors often include index, Alexa rating (percentage of traffic within a category), competitive presence, editorial quality, and the like.

Examination and evaluation process. Before you jump from the RFP list to the plan you want, describe the vetting process you applied to the proposals you got. Factors here clearly differ from the factors that went into the building the RFP list. They include price, innovation, value-added placements, performance clauses, and so on.

Final plan summary. This is where the spreadsheet comes in. This is a roundup of all the sites that made the final cut. If you have branding and performance campaigns, split them up here. Include site names, impression and click levels, placement details, flight schedules, and price. Total and average everything neatly at the bottom.

Client schedule. Interject with a client schedule here to set up your flight schedule. Show anything that will impact your plan's flight schedule -- events, product launches, marketing/offline campaign calendar, seasonality, holidays, and so on.

Flight schedule. Create a line or bar graph (or other graphical representation) showing impression levels and clicks, and plot items from the client schedule. Break it in two if you must, as the performance campaign may have different peaks and valleys or consistency levels than the branding campaign.

Integration. Show any linkages you created with the offline portions of integrated buys you did with the offline planning teams.

Hero slide. This is where you show the client why they hired you. Did you get 40 percent of rate card on a site? Get $25,000 worth of value-added placements? Knock a competitor out of a prime slot? Bought something new and cool? This is where you call it out!

Up-sell slide. I've yet to have a budget where I could do everything I wanted to. Here you show what you would do if you had more budget. You never know if money can be freed up somewhere else. Why not have an online home for those funds ready to go?

Plan details. This is often in the addendum as it can be a lot of information. However, when you get questions on a particular placement or site, and you will, this is where you turn. I like to have my team show screen captures of the sections and positions we bought and sample ad units. We also include the site's description and the justifications as to why we selected the site.

Competitive placements and creative. Certainly competitive creative and offers need to be shared with the client and creative team as soon as possible so they can incorporate then into what's being done on the creative side. However, I often find it a helpful addendum item in the plan as well.

Don't forget to send well-worded rejection letters to the sites and reps who took the time to send you proposals. They will appreciate it, I assure you. Also, send thank-you notes to the sites that gave you a great deal and made you look like a hero."

Thank you again Harry. I will incorporate your thoughts in my future media plans.

Maria Paula Tolentino Online Media Planner & Buyer

Source: EzineArticles
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