Managing the Madness

It’s that time of year again! It’s 2012 planning season, and for most media professionals it means you are deep into identifying your next game-changing strategy. In theory, you are building a foundation for everything you do throughout the rest of the year. I would implore you to think about how often you go back and “touch the stone” on your strategy every three, six, and nine months down the line.

What I am finding on a regular basis is the transition from strategy to media plan execution is often quite convoluted. The basis of our jobs, whether brand or agency, is to make smart business decisions…but are we getting lost in execution?

I can’t count the number of times a day I hear, “Well, we are recommending running on this property or placement because of ‘historical performance’ or ‘strong CTR’ or ‘a good CPM'” and I think “So what?” All these variables are important for your day-to-day management, but I would suggest quantifying them against the high-level goals to determine the value of your recommendations.

Evaluation, Execution, and All the In-Between

It’s easier said than done, I will be the first to admit. I would suggest answering a few questions. Questions likely encountered at the beginning of the business relationship can direct planning across long-term and short-term projects. Here are just a few:

What is the industry? Seems pretty basic, but to immerse yourself and your identity, you should understand the ins and outs from an operational, business, and functional perspective. Digital has facets that can help even operational aspects of a business, so understanding leaves potential for added value.

Do you know your business objective? What are you selling, whether tangible goods or brand perception? Knowing where you are against that goal will aid in informed media decisions?

Most importantly, who is your consumer? And no, they are not just “adults 25 to 54.” What drives their decision to engage with your product? How do they consume media and what is the mindset during that time? It could be one or many segments based on the communication. The method should be channel-agnostic and tied to a seamless dialogue with your audience.

Do you know the current marketing and digital landscape? From competition to the economy to changes in buying options, this does have an impact on delivering to your audience and accomplishing your business goals. This is where efficiency and performance forecasts have a role.

What is your geographic footprint? Many business are segregated by national and regional efforts, but that should not be transparent in your communication to your audience. Try to think about what approach you can employ to offset the division.

What is your budget? In most instances, all of the above is a monumental task limited further by a set amount of funds. Using a smarter approach will hopefully make the budgets work harder.

The ground rules I listed above are only complicated further by a fast-changing media landscape. There is a new site category and technology solution entering the market every day. I am hoping by enlisting a smarter evaluation method, you will have more time to spend on keeping track of these changes. One can always dream.

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