Paid media planning strategy: How to navigate changing trends
Since the printing press was invented in 1436, media has been constantly evolving. Consumers have more and more places to go for entertainment and education. That should mean advertisers have more opportunities to reach target audiences. However, trendy strategies and a fractured media landscape can make it more difficult to get in front of the right people at the right time.
The funny thing? A saturated media landscape isn’t even a new problem for those who tackle paid media planning strategy. More than 100 years ago, Lessing-Flynn Founder Paul Lessing wrote, “Don’t try to use all the media in the world. They can start new publications faster than you can buy space in them.”
It’s a centuries-old problem that only gets more complicated each day. So, what can marketers do? Use our tips to help craft a timeless (trend-proof) media strategy.
Start with tried-and-true strategy
While the types of media placements have exploded, the basics of paid media planning strategy have remained largely the same over time. Marketers create media plans to put their brands (or clients) in front of target audiences. In these strategies, timing is essential. Planners use their in-depth industry knowledge to understand where audience members are in the buying cycle and what media placements can do to help move them closer to a purchase decision. Even with a solid strategy, this can be a long game for media planners. Different types of purchases will require more time for nurturing leads.
Professional planners know not every type of media needs be included and they don’t let trendy ideas distract them. Their strategies are focused on data and measurable results, helping move brands toward their goals. If a new ad technology fits the bill, great! If not, they won’t shoehorn it in just to say they did something innovative.
Keep an eye on trending topics
Now that we’ve covered the importance of a solid strategy, it’s time to examine why media trends matter. First, nearly all the advertising efforts we consider standard were trends at one time. Even newspaper ads were a novelty once (though it’s been a while).
Some tactics currently considered trendy could end up as a staple in your future paid media planning strategy. Just take the conversation around third-party cookies. If you weren’t paying attention the last few years, you might not have noticed that they’ve essentially come and gone (since Google is the only major browser still leveraging them). You certainly wouldn’t have been taking steps to implement cookie-less targeting—leaving you several steps behind the competition.
Being trendy doesn’t make a tactic inherently good or bad. And you can certainly try new things. Just don’t drop your carefully curated plans for what everyone else is doing.
Understand the inner workings of new marketing technology
By now, it’s clear that ad tech companies offer plenty of options for paid media. Understanding the mechanics of different technologies will help you understand how you might leverage them to work for you.
Take weather-triggered ads for example. At first glance, a weather-dependent ad experience seems like it’s limited to consumer products like clothing or food (think: winter coats during a cold snap or ice cream during a heat wave). But knowing what the technology can really do — trigger targeted ad placements based on local weather events — allowed the Lessing-Flynn team to push agricultural equipment made to speed up forage drying after rain.
Rather than follow the crowd and throw your budget at the latest and greatest tech, take the time to find whether there’s a fit for your brand.
Consider how measurable your efforts are
Within the huge availability of both digital and traditional media placements, your ability to track results will vary. Naturally, digital options lend themselves to measurement. For many marketers, that ability to track conversions and optimize campaigns is enticing. But that doesn’t mean traditional tactics — like billboards or linear (non-streaming) TV — aren’t valuable. It all depends your brand and your goals.
The same applies to new trends and technologies. If you’re ready to try something new, think about whether you want something you can directly measure or if you’re willing to try a tactic that’s less closely tied to results.
One last thing…
An important thing to note about paid media planning strategy: There’s no one right way. If you had two experienced media planners craft a strategy for the same client, you’d probably get different results. And yet, both approaches would have merit.
If you’re looking for a sign it’s time to try something new, this could be it. And if you think it’s time to call in the experts, Lessing-Flynn is here for you. Get in touch to talk media strategy.
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