Killer Online Media Strategy

Last week we talked about the elements of a good media strategy, at least from the traditional advertising agency’s point of view. This week I’ll tell you how to adapt this structure to produce a killer online media strategy.

To review, the elements of the traditional media strategy document are:

  • Marketing Objectives and Strategies
  • Media Objectives and Strategies
  • Target Audience
  • Plan Considerations
  • Considered Vehicles
  • Budget
  • Next Steps

The traditional strategy document kicks off with a restatement of the marketing objectives and strategies for the effort, followed immediately by a discussion of the media objectives and strategies.

What differs when you add interactive media to the mix? In these two sections, not much. However, one important distinction is that your interactive effort will be much more trackable than a traditional advertising campaign might be. With that in mind, it makes sense to set numeric goals for the campaign in your media objectives section.

A traditional media objective might be to generate as many sales of a product as possible, but an interactive media objective should spell out exactly how many sales we should aim for with this campaign. This makes it easier to gauge success during and after the campaign.

When we use interactive media in an advertising campaign it is important to discuss the different aspects of interactive that make it unique. So when we discuss the target audience and plan geography with a client, it makes sense to also discuss the Internet’s unique audience targeting capabilities. In many strategy presentations I’ve added an entirely new section to the presentation — the Targeting Strategy.

After demonstrating to your client that you know whom the target is for his product or service, you need to demonstrate that you know how to reach that target online as efficiently as possible. Taking into consideration the geography of the effort, the target’s surfing habits, and the different ways to use adservers to target ads to your audience, show the client exactly how you would reach his audience online.

For instance, a campaign for an automobile dealership on Long Island might use IP address targeting to minimize the number of ads seen outside the LI area. Additionally, you would likely want to target the ads by serving them on car related sites; to maximize the chance of addressing a new car buyer while he’s researching his purchase. It’s always important to remember that technology can target only so well. There’s no substitute for contextual relevance in advertising.

Your discussion of considered media vehicles should be more detailed than it might be in a traditional media strategy document. Not only do you need to show specific media vehicles like Excite and Women.com, but you need to discuss the editorial environments within each media vehicle that would be appropriate for your client’s message.

Once again, if the campaign is for a Long Island car dealership, you want to discuss the different content areas within Excite that are appropriate, such as the automobile category and the keywords “car,” “Lexus,” “Porsche,” and so on.

Since you have quantifiable objectives stated in the very beginning of your strategy document, it’s appropriate to show the client how you might purchase your media in order to reach those goals.

If your effort hopes to achieve 100 new car sales for your Long Island car dealership with a budget of $100,000, you know that your target cost per sale is $1,000. If you bought the media for this campaign at $10 and assumed a 0.1 percent click rate and a 0.5 percent conversion rate, you would get only half the sales that you need to achieve for success. Maybe it might be better to purchase this media on a cost-per-click or cost-per-sale basis. In either case, you need to discuss a buying strategy with your client to reassure him that his money is not being wasted.

Don’t forget your proposed “budget” and “next steps” sections and your media strategy should set the stage for a terrific media plan and a successful campaign.

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