8 Tips On How To Get More From Your Media Plan In 2021

Media performance is a critical driver of advertising campaign success. You know it, I know it. You know what a good media plan looks like, and you know the work, sweat, and effort required to create a great media plan and ad campaign.

2020 has been an awful year for the industry, but as we look ahead, we focus on what you can do to get as much as possible out of your media investment in the coming year.

After the year that was 2020, you deserve it!

1. Les Binet’s work on Share of Search (SOS) is brilliant and needs to be considered for your business and brand.

Binet’s work demonstrates the link between organic search volume and Share of Market across a number of sectors. This work is an updated, digital-native take on the Share of Voice link to market share that was established mid-20th century by James Peckham at AC Neilson and Professor JP Jones.

Depending on sector there is a three to twelve month lag from SOS to SOM. In other words, whatever your SOS trend is now will predict your SOM in the coming months.

Armed with this foresight, the key question for a media planner is what does this mean for my brand? And, more specifically, what can I do to improve on the prediction?

Media spend is an important factor in this equation but not an easy lever to pull for most businesses.

Of more interest to your planner should be: Is your media strategy delivering results? Is the implementation of your media plan delivering cut-through and salience?

Forecasts and predictions are there to be beaten, how you answer those questions will dictate SOM.

2. Start with Why has now become Start with the End in Mind - focus on your outcomes. Business results matter more than ever now. Obvious? Try to remember that next time your agency disappears in to chin-stroking triviality.

3. Understand where your media gains will come from.

According to PHD’s BrandScience typically there are 5-10% gains that can be made in media pricing. But those gains can only be achieved through contract renegotiation or a pitch, both of which carry their own costs.

The largest gains in performance come from improved media planning, what Brand Science define as micro, macro, and strategic optimisation.

Here the gains range from 15–30% for each part and are multiplicative – the more you improve each component the higher the overall return.

4. The appliance of science

Through the work of Binet & Field, Sharp, Ritson, IPA, WARC and many others there is a huge amount of known facts. Researched, demonstrable and repeatable facts that will improve campaign performance when used correctly.

Perhaps its because we’re in a ‘creative sector’ that all too often we ignore or misunderstand the facts and what science has taught us.

Imagine going to see a doctor to be told you’ve been diagnosed based on the doctors ‘gut-feel’ and anecdotal feedback rather than based on medical science. Yet we frequently take this approach to media planning.

2021 will be the year of science, let’s make sure that applies to media planning as well.

5. Sort out your organisational drag. This is our favourite tip as organisational drag is endemic across most scaled businesses (client, agency, media owner).

6. Improve your agency's accuracy - (don't change the agency)

Work with these numbers. A £1m campaign running for a month, returning an RoI of 1.5 over 12 weeks (month+8 weeks) = £1.5m in sales, or £125k per week, £3,400 per hour.

In this example the cost of having your marketing team spend one hour on queries is £3,400. Multiply that up for all the queries across a year and it easily becomes the equivalent of a Brand Manager’s salary (if not the Marketing Director’s). Let that sink-in, potentially the equivalent of several people you employ have no other job than sorting our mistakes by your media agency.

What makes that worse is that, the same lack of over-sight and QA process will almost certainly apply to the delivery (planning and buying) of media, limiting campaign performance.

Queries are frustrating for everyone. Run the numbers for your own campaign, and then have a friendly little chat with your agency.

7. Improve your agency's empathy - (don't change the agency #2)

How well does your agency know your product, service, and organisation? Openness to experience and learnings taken from experience create a much stronger and deeper understanding and insight.

A deeper understanding of the brand experience, particularly from a consumer’s perspective, is a multiplier of planning performance. The opposite is also true, a lack of empathy with the brand and consumer experience will limit performance.

For most brands this is an easy win and a basic expectation that those involved in planning for the brand have tried the product or service. Admittedly not possible for all brands, but it is for the vast majority.

8. Ignore Covid (a least for a moment). The fundamental principles of advertising and media planning haven’t changed. It is still about reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message. Covid has made this easier: TV good, cinema bad. But as we go in to the next normal it is more important than ever to make sure the fundamentals are in place, and strong.

9. A cheeky extra little treat! Our best recommendation for staying ahead of your competition and finding growth in your media plan is to get in touch and let us carry out a Beta Firinn media audit. Media improvements guaranteed.