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Media vital to marketing mix

Posted 18 September 2014.

​by Jane Stanley

​Last week, media’s best and brightest came together to celebrate the most outstanding media ideas from the past 12 months at the CAANZ Beacon Awards.

In recent years, the event has been the catalyst for some interesting industry debate. In particular, “what constitutes a good media strategy?”

In today’s world, the media landscape is no longer dominated by traditional paid channels. With the rise of consumer-empowered social media channels and technology driving richer, deeper media execution such as digital outdoor and similar developments, this question isn’t as simple to answer as it once was.

The question of paid media is interesting. Should brands invest as much in paid media with the rise of importance of owned and earned channels?

This year, FCB Media’s winning ‘Best in Show’ work for Noel Leeming used the power of paid media to bring to life consumer endorsement to create the impact needed and some impressive results.

Conversely, the Silver winner in the ‘Best Small Budget’, Maybelline’s ‘Nailing It’, also by FCB Media,largely used the power of bloggers to change market share in a very stagnant category.

In my opinion neither approach is right or wrong. Rather, it comes down to the position of your brand, the objectives of the individual campaign and the target consumer.

Last year, our agency planned two very different media strategies for key brands within the DB Breweries portfolio. For one, where we had so much brand love already, we took a slightly risker strategy of using earned media first and foremost to build initial buzz and awareness. For another brand, where we needed to educate people about a range, we focused on high-reach paid channels to do the job as we needed to create that instant impact. Both strategies contained elements of paid, owned and earned media – it was just about where we put the emphasis.

Channel complexity hasn’t changed the rules of great media. In terms of defining whether you have a great media strategy, it comes back to time old basics of communication planning first and foremost.
Any brand needs to ask five key questions of a media strategy:

Does it fully support the overarching strategy for the brand?

The way you behave in media can say as much about your brand as any strapline on your brand ad.

Can it deliver to objectives of individual marketing brief?

There is no point in creating a potentially slower burn buzz-building campaign in earned media if you need to create immediate impact with, say, a new product launch or protect market share due to a competitor attack.

Does it live and breathe the creative idea as well as the creative content does?

A media strategy should be a lot more than populating lines on a media schedule. How you bring that idea to life across channels working with publishers and platforms is essential. For example, last year’s Cannes winners, IBM’s ‘Smart ideas for smart cities’, converted outdoor posters into useful items such as shelter from the rain, a ramp on a stairs. simple but extremely effective.

Are the channels right for the target audience you are speaking to?

Yes, it’s an obvious one but I still see briefs that have all audiences aged 18 to 54. Breaking down your audiences into bullseye groups will ensure greater media efficiency and effectiveness.

Is the activity measurable?

With the rise of digital platforms and improved software technology, accountability in media is now easier to achieve than eer before. It just means setting asidesome of your marketing budget to pay for the data solutions available.

Media is still a vital part of the marketing mix.

So has anything changed? For me, the main thing that has changed is the people at the table. Previously, you would have had a media generalist advising across all channels. Today, you need media specialists with the depth of understanding across the media channels you are operating in. So rather than having a media jack-of-all-trades, you now need a search specialist, mobile specialist, content specialist, social media specialist and more.

But, importantly, these specialists need to come together seamlessly as an integrated team otherwise you will be coping with multiple media strategies and no central idea.

The strength of any media strategy will only come to fruitiion when you’ve connected best-in-class media talent in a seamless way.