How to create an effective media plan using Digital Marketing: Manek Madhusoodanan

When the media plan is focused and its execution is backed by measurable metrics, the results drive business growth writes Manek Madhusoodanan, AVP - Regional Head (West), Big Trunk Communications.


Every organization will have a suite of products or services that drive revenue, business and growth. The budgets allocated for marketing the product and service to the target audience with the objective of influencing a purchase decision must be optimally consumed. The media plan entails allocation of the budgets towards marketing the product or service in the most contextual manner to the target audience.

When the media plan is focused and its execution is backed by measurable metrics, the results drive business growth. The value that a successfully executed media plan can create in terms of branding, mindshare and customer loyalty is significant but may not be directly measurable.

Digital Marketing – Has it made traditional advertising obsolete?

While traditional advertising gives a huge fillip to a brand’s reach in just a few seconds or minutes, digital marketing is increasingly making its presence felt in media plans.

A few factors that enable digital marketing to leave a mark on media plans is:

✔ Retargeting and Remarketing: Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing enables you to etch a clear journey for your target audience and take them on a guided tour along the way. You can easily attract them through an email or social media campaign, get them to land on a desired marketing asset, engage them with a specific call to action, and then keep positioning your brand to them on the internet till you manage to convert the prospect or suspect into a customer. With internet penetration and videos becoming ubiquitous, the ease with which stories can be depicted through visuals is phenomenal.

✔ Measurability: With digital marketing, you can clearly measure the impact of your campaigns and the corresponding spends allocated to it in the media plan. This enables media planners to better gauge the RoI of the upcoming campaigns and sharpen their media plans accordingly.

✔ Contextuality and Consistency: Digital media enables you to target the audience based on behaviour, demographics etc. Due to this, the targeting is not only correct but also contextual. The consistency of messaging to an audience that is engaged contextually amplifies the conversion of prospects into customers and customers into brand loyalists.

How much do Organizations spend on Digital Marketing?

This is a question that would have tickled a lot of brains. I will break it into two parts to help you comprehend this better. Firstly, the total marketing spend of an organization is about 5%-15% of the total revenue. The proportion varies as per industry types. Consumer facing industries will spend in the higher side of the range while B2B may be more conservative. Let’s assume 10% for our calculation.

Secondly, the digital marketing budget in the overall spend is around 10% to 50% depending again on the nature of business and industry type. If we take a reasonable average, it still works out to around 20%.

Thus, Digital marketing spends are around 2%-5% of the total revenue of the company. Well, that’s a huge proportion of money for any business and hence media plans should introspect, analyse and encompass a very good digital marketing plan.

Devise a Great Media Plan Using Digital Marketing with our COMMIT Approach

We have devised an approach that we call COMMIT. It defines the six steps that enable you to create a highly optimized and RoI positive media plan as below:

Consulting Phase: When you are working on the media plan for the year, it is best to work with experts who can give honest opinion and constructive criticism to fine tune the plan itself. A good digital agency will enable the customer to understand the most optimum way to utilize the budget and build a media plan. Based on their past experiences and the brand nuances, such media planner would be able to define the apt marketing mix in terms of channels such as social media, videos, email campaigns etc. and enable you to learn from their previous experiences while devising a media plan.

Objective and Goal Setting: The collaborative consulting should clearly define your goals as a client and that of your brand. Does the client want to increase visibility or get more traffic to the website? Does the client want to increase sales and generate more leads? Getting the objective right is the most vital step to creating a good media plan. The exercise should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound. For example: Increase Web Sales by 10% in the year is a SMART objective but Increase Traffic to the website is not a SMART one.

Metrics to Measure Success: Based on the objective, it is important to define metrics to measure success. These metrics must be compared with industry benchmarks to understand if the bar has been set high or low. Metrics can vary depending on objective. For brand awareness, it could be cost per thousand impressions, (CPM), for lead generation campaigns, it can be measured as Cost Per Lead (CPL). You could also work on cost per click and other such models based on objectives but it is great to define the metrics in the media plan before the execution begins to gauge success of campaigns and more importantly fine-tune it when required.

Map your Target Audience: If the media plan targets the audience that resonates with your brand, you create symphony. Digital Agencies that collaborate with clients and understand the pulse of their target audience have a higher likelihood of success. A media plan that understands the behavioural aspects, characteristics, demographic traits, spend patterns, and preferences of their customers will be better optimized to generate optimum RoI for marketing spends.

Identify the Apt Media Mix: If the target audience has been mapped well, the corollary would be a good media mix. For example: If the brand is targeting millennials, it would veer more towards videos, topical content, etc. while a core technology product would divert more spends to blogs, webinars, and Technology Q&A sessions with experts on social media channels.

Track, Monitor, Analyze and Optimize: Once the above is in place, campaign execution and analysis takes over. Tracking such campaigns on digital media generates enormous amounts of data which can be used to fine-tune campaigns. Furthermore, digital allows you to run A/B tests on the same target group at the same time to compare campaigns ideas and learn faster. Digital enables companies to experiment fast and learn faster. Thus, their time-to-value and time-to-success is significantly lesser than traditional marketing models.

If you are committed to our COMMIT model, then the only decision (probably the most important) to be made is:

Should you do the media planning and execution in-house or should you outsource it?

The final call here again depends on the nature of the business. However, if there are no compliance mandates that prevent you from outsourcing, you could reap rich benefits by getting in expert digital marketing companies. These experts can enlighten you with valuable inputs on each media channel, empower you with better messaging and collateral and help you leverage their purchasing power with Google Display Network, Facebook and LinkedIn Marketing, Email campaigns etc. to enhance returns on your marketing spend.

To conclude, we would recommend that you COMMIT to create an apt media plan and engage an expert digital marketing outfit all along the journey to maximize business growth and brand recall from your media plan and marketing budgets.

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