Having been in media for 18 years, I’ve seen some frightening media plans in my time. I’m telling you, they are bone chilling. I’ve narrowed it down to three common mistakes which often lead to gut-wrenching statements like “I don’t see the value of advertising.” [*shiver*]
While the tools in our toolbox may have changed over the years, the fundamentals still ring true. Here’s what not to do.
1. Spread yourself (and your dollars) too thin
Time and time again, I have seen companies advertise in every market segment that their products reach. They will run a couple of ads here and then a couple of ads there. Then they come to the terrifying conclusion that advertising doesn’t work.
Frequency is key. Rather than trying to hit every market with just one or two ads, it’s important to prioritize your markets and determine where your dollars will generate the greatest impact. People are inundated with messages daily. Americans are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. It will take multiple messages and touchpoints before an action is taken, so focus on one market segment at a time.
2. Misunderstand your audience
I’ve heard it all. “Well I don’t read magazines, so we don’t need ads there.” Or “I don’t listen to the radio.” “I only get my news from social media.” I’ve even heard, “Our top executive reads this publication, and we need to have an ad there.”
It’s important to take a step back from our personal media preferences and think about our target audience. What are the demographics of your audience? How do they learn about their industry? Who is involved in the purchase-making process, and who influences that decision? What are their media consumption habits? What do they find valuable?
Remember it’s not about you. It’s about them. You need to create a plan that utilizes various media tactics to reach them throughout their decision-making process.
3. Run one single creative
It’s scary to think after all of that research and planning that you haven’t seen an increase in brand awareness or a lift in site traffic. You created the “perfect” media plan. You’ve figured out your target audience. You have a program that has a high level of frequency with a variety of media tactics. What could be wrong?
The final piece to the puzzle is your creative. The media plan and creative must work together to generate impact. It’s important to keep your messaging fresh and have multiple ads to break through the clutter. By utilizing more than one ad, you can test various messages and calls to action. It’s important to be nimble and be able to adjust your messaging and campaigns based on performance to maximize your investment.
It’s Halloween, but if you avoid these three mistakes, you won’t end up in the Media Plan Graveyard of years past.
For more spooky tales of marketing boo-boos, see these social media sins.