Media plan decides how advertising time and space in various media will be used to achieve the advertising objectives and marketing objectives of the company. The basic goal of media plan is to find out that combination of media which enables the advertiser to communicate the ad-message in the most effective manner at lowest cost. An advertising plan is decided by the advertiser to achieve advertising objectives. Advertising objectives are decided keeping in view the marketing objectives of the company. Media plan is based on advertising plan. In other words media plan is a part of the overall advertising plan.
Media Planning Process
(1) Getting Knowledge About Target Audience – The first step in media planning is to know the target audience and their features viz. their age, income level, sex, education level, personality, lifestyle, tastes, preferences, interest, etc. Only after collecting all such information about the target audience the advertiser can select appropriate media. Different customers differ with regard to age, income, education level, sex, personality, attitude etc. If target audience are educated, then print media can be selected. If audience are illiterate then broadcast media will be suitable. If target customers are kids, then cartoon related T.V channels are appropriate. If target customers are young, then T.V, magazines can be selected. If number of target customers is more, then mass-media like T.V., newspapers will be suitable. If number of target customers is less, then direct mail-media, tele-advertising (contacting telephonically) will be appropriate.
(2) Considering Various Factors Affecting Media Planning – There are various factors which affect media-planning. The media planner must consider these factors for media planning. These factors can broadly be classified in two categories.
- Internal Factors – These factors are related to the advertise of advertising-budget, size of organisation, image of organisation, nature of product for which advertising is to be done,distributing strategy of organisation potential market area etc. If size of ad-budget is more, then costly media like T.V, can be selected. If size is small, then cheap media will be selected. If advertising is to be done for industrial product, them professional magazines are selected, while for consumer goods, mass-media is selected.
- External Factors – These factors include media adopted by competitors, media-cost, media-coverage, media-image, availability of new media like internet etc.
(3) Identifying the Geographical Area – Total geographical area of target market is identified. Then such areas are identified in which sale of advertiser’s product is more. In these high potential areas, higher advertising budget is allocated and advertising is done through popular media, at small intervals of time so that advertiser can take edge over competitors. For low potential market area, smaller advertising-budget is allocated.
(4) Establishing Media Objectives – Media objectives are defined so as to attain marketing and advertising objectives of organisation. These are the goals to be attained by media-planners. Various media-strategies are designed to attain media objectives Media-objectives should be defined in quantitative terms to be achieved in a specified period of time . For example , to cover 75 % of target market within a period of three months through television is a clearly defined media-objective. If ad-objective is to inform the target customers, then print-media will be appropriate. If quick communication of ad-message is required, then newspaper will be a good selection. If ad-objective is to persuade the target-customers, and the advertiser plans to give emotional-appeal to convince the target customers, then broadcast media (T.V) will be a good selection.
(5) Selecting Suitable Media – For selecting appropriate media, different media are compared on the basis of cost per reader, cost per viewer, media-image, etc. While selecting media, the advertiser should ensure that media matches with features of target audience. The selected media should match with message-requirements, e.g. if message involves demonstration, then media with audio visual effects will be selected. While selecting suitable media, availability of media should also be kept in mind. It is possible that a particular media suits our requirements, but it is already booked, so some other media will have to be selected.
(6) Selecting Optimum Media-Mix – If the advertiser feels that no single media is sufficient in itself in achieving advertising objectives then different media can be used in combination and their optimum mix is decided by the advertiser. By combining different media, advertiser can increase coverage and improve the chances of achieving advertising goals. Overall ad-budget also influences the ratio of different elements of media-mix. For example, to achieve advertising objectives and after considering advertising budget, the advertiser may decide a mix of 45 % television , 20 % newspaper , 10 % magazine , 15 % outdoor media and 10 % internet media . Different advertisers may decide different media – mix depending upon their requirements, but media-mix should be such that advertiser can communicate advertising-message to the target audience most effectively and at lowest possible cost.
(7) Selecting Suitable Media Vehicle within Each Selected Media – After selecting media, appropriate media vehicles are to be selected. For example, after deciding that advertising is to be done through newspaper, it is decided that in which newspaper it is be done-whether through Indian Express, Tribune, or Hindustan Times, etc. If it is decided that advertising is to be do magazine/magazines then out of various magazines, appropriate are selected. If advertising is to be done through television, then it is decided that at which T.V. channel or in which T.V. programme advertisement is to be given. Suitable media vehicles are selected to attain media objectives.
(8) Media Scheduling – In media scheduling, decisions regarding date or time when these advertisements are to be shown are taken. In media-scheduling, time-gap in two advertisements is also decided. Purpose of media-scheduling is to issue advertisements at appropriate time with appropriate frequency so that target audience can be contacted at minimum advertising cost. It helps to control wasteful advertising expenses. If advertisement is related to product to be used by school/college going children, then it is better to show the advertisement in the evening time in T.V. programmes. If the product is of seasonal nature, then ad should be shown more frequently in the season period and less frequently in the off season period.
(9) Executing Advertising Programme – After selecting media and deciding its schedule, advertising departments given the task of designing suitable advertising copy and executing it in the selected media. Some companies assign this task of designing advertising to professional advertising agencies.
(10) Follow-Up and Evaluation – After implementing advertising programme, advertiser evaluates its effectiveness to know whether media objectives have been achieved, whether media-plan has contributed in achieving overall advertising-objectives. Answers to these questions help the advertiser to know success or failure of media strategy. If our media strategy is not effective, then corrective actions will be taken for future media planning, so that in future, better media-plans can be made.