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MBA Notes - Media Planning Process

Question - Define media planning, also explain steps in development of media plan.

The word Media came from the Latin word "Middle". Media carry message to or from a targeted audience and can add meaning to the message.

Media Planning, in advertising, is a series of decisions involving the delivery of message to the targeted audience. Media Plan, is the plan that details the usage of media in an advertising campaign including costs, running dates, markets, reach, frequency, rationales, and strategies.

Steps in Development of Media Plan

1. Market Analysis
Every media plan begins with the market analysis or environmental analysis.Complete review of internal and external factors is required to be done. At this stage media planner try to identify answers of the following questions:
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What internal and external factors may influence the media plan?
  • Where and when to focus the advertising efforts?
The target audience can be classified in terms of age, sex, income, occupation, and other variables. The classification of target audience helps media planner  to understand the media consumption habit, and accordingly choose the most appropriate media or media mix.

2. Establishing Media Objective
Media objectives describes what you want the media plan to accomplish. There are five key media objectives that a advertiser or media planner has to consider - reach, frequency, continuity, cost, and weight.
  1. Reach - Reach refers to the number of people that will be exposed to to a media vehicle at least once during a given period of time.
  2. Frequency - Frequency refers to the average number of times an individual within target audience is exposed to a media vehicle during a given period of time.
  3. Continuity - It refers to the pattern of advertisements in a media schedule. Continuity alternatives are as follows: 
    • Continuous: Strategy of running campaign evenly over a period of time.
    • Pulsing: Strategy of running campaign steadily over a period of time with intermittent increase in advertising at certain intervals, as during festivals or special occasions like Olympics or World-Cup.
    • Discontinuous: Strategy of advertising heavily only at certain intervals, and no advertising in the interim period, as in case of seasonal products. 
  4. Cost - It refers to the cost of different media
  5. Weight - Weight refers to total advertising required during a particular period.
3. Determining Media Strategies
Media strategy is determined considering the following:
  1. Media Mix - From the wide variety of media vehicles, the advertiser can employ one vehicle or a mix suitable vehicles.
  2. Target Market
  3. Scheduling - It shows the number of advertisements, size of advertisements, and time on which advertisements to appear.
    • Seasonal Pulse: Seasonal products like cold creams follows this scheduling.
    • Steady Pulse: According to this scheduling one ad is shown over a period of time, say one ad per week or one ad per month.
    • Periodic Pulse: A regular pattern is followed in such scheduling, as in case of consumer durable, and non durable.
    • Erratic Pulse: No regular pattern is followed in such scheduling.
    • Start-up Pulse: Such scheduling is followed during a new campaign or a launch of a new product.
    • Promotional Pulse: It is for short time, only for a promotional period.
  4. Reach and frequency
  5. Creative Aspects - Creativity in ad campaigns decides the success of the product, but to implement this creativity  firm must employ a media that supports such a strategy.
  6. Flexibility -  An effective media strategy requires a degree of flexibility.
  7. Budget Considerations - In determining media strategy cost must be estimated and budget must be considered.
  8. Media Selection - It covers two broad decisions - selection of media class, and selection of media vehicle within media class.

4. Implementation of Media Plan
The implementation of media plan requires media buying. Media Buying refers to buying time and space in the selected media. Following are the steps in media buying:

  • Collection of information: Media buying requires sufficient information regarding nature of target audience, nature of target market, etc.
  • Selection of Media/Media Mix: Considering the collected information and ad-budget, media or media mix is selected which suits the requirements of both - target audience and advertiser.
  • Negotiation: Price of media is negotiated to procure media at the lowest possible price.
  • Issuing Ad - copy to media: Ad-copy is issued to the media for broadcast or telecast 
  • Monitoring performance of Media: Advertiser has to monitor whether the telecast or broadcast of ad is done properly as decided.
  • Payment - Finally, it is the responsibility of advertiser to make payment of media bills on time.
5. Evaluation and Follow-up
Evaluation is essential to assess the performance of any activity. Two factors are important in evaluation of media plan:
  • How successful were the strategies in achieving media objectives?
  • Was the media plan successful in accomplishing advertising objective?
Successful strategies help build confidence and serve as reference for developing media strategies in future, and failure is thoroughly analyzed to avoid mistakes in future.


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