The largest category in your advertising budget is likely
to be your media costs--the money you spend on air time
on radio or for ad space in newspapers, magazines, and
more. Because of this, you need a sound plan to manage
that investment. Set goals. Describe strategies for achieving
them. Organize the day-to-day tasks of carrying out the
strategies. The tool you'll need to do this is a media
plan that begins with an overview and works its way down
to the details. It will help you with every phase of your
Media planning is the process of choosing a course of
action. Media planners develop yearly plans that list
each media outlet--print or broadcast. Planning then gives
way to buying, each separate contract is negotiated, and
The media plan is a document in sections. A ring binder
notebook is a good way to keep a media plan, because it's
easy to update and easy to refer to. Or if you prefer
to work on computer, use separate folders and files. The
sections in your notebook will be:
- Media outlets (newspapers, etc.). This section
lists all of the media in which advertising will be
- Goals. This section describes the goals of
the advertising, and explains why and how the plan meets
- Audience. In this section, collect all the
information you can about your target audience. You
will want statistics by demographics or lifestyle; your
professional association can help you find this information,
as can trade journals or your banker.
- Strategy. Write a statement of strategy backed
up by a rationale. The action steps you describe here
will guide a year's activity.
- Budget and calendar. Outline what money is
to be spent where, and when.
The document you've compiled in this notebook guides
you in the execution of the plan throughout the year.
Over time, these plans provide a history of your advertising.
If you make alterations to the schedule in the course
of the year, record those decisions in your notebook.
Ring binders make it easy to update your plan as it evolves.
When you've finished this section, you will have an overview
and the tools you need to create a media plan for your
business. Let's start with basic vocabulary. The term
you'll hear most often is CPM, or cost per thousand.
CPM analysis is the method media buyers use to convert
various rate and circulation options to relative terms.
CPM represents the cost of reaching one thousand people
via different types of media. To calculate CPM, you find
the cost for an ad, then divide it by the total circulation
the ad reaches (in thousands). By finding this information
and calculating this cost for each of your options, you
can give them a numerical ranking for comparison. CPM
is a basic media concept.
Print advertising prices are based on the circulation
of the publication in question. Publications will quote
you a circulation figure based on paid subscribers. The
audited circulation figures are verified by monitoring
organizations. The publications will try to convince you
that actual circulation is higher by including the free
copies they distribute and pass-along readership. Sometimes
these claims are valid--for example, magazines distributed
on airlines get at least eight readers per copy. Still,
be wary of inflated circulation figures.
Audience is the equivalent of circulation when
you're talking about broadcast media. Audience size varies
throughout the day as people tune in and tune out. Therefore,
the price for advertising at different times of day will
vary, based on the audience size that the day-part delivers.
Penetration is related to circulation. Penetration
describes how much of the total market available you are
reaching. If you are in a town with a demographic count
of 200,000 households, and you buy an ad in a coupon book
that states a circulation of 140,000, you're reaching
70 percent of the possible market--that's high penetration.
If, instead, you bought an ad in the city magazine, which
goes to 17,000 households, your penetration would be much
less--8.5 percent. What degree of penetration is necessary
for you depends on whether your strategy is to dominate
the market or to reach a certain niche within that market.
Reach and frequency are key media terms
used more in broadcast than in print. Reach is the total
number of people exposed to a message at least once in
a set time period, usually four weeks. (Reach is the broadcast
equivalent of circulation, for print advertising.) Frequency
is the average number of times those people are exposed
during that time period. To make reach go up, you buy
a wider market area. To make frequency go up, you buy
more ads during the time period. Usually, when reach goes
up, you have to compromise and let frequency go down.
You could spend much money trying to achieve a high reach
and a high frequency. The creative part of media planning
comes in balancing reach, frequency, and budget constraints
to find the best combination in view of your marketing
In developing your media plan, you will:
- Review your marketing objectives through the "lens"
of media planning.
- Review the options available.
- Evaluate them against your objectives.
- Set your minimum and maximum budget constraints.
- Develop a schedule describing ad appearances in each
- Summarize your plan in the form of a calendar and
- Negotiate with media representatives to execute your
By Source Streetwise Do-It-Yourself Advertising