There is so much buzz running around about “integrated media plans”. What does that term really mean? By definition, integrated means, “to put together parts or elements to make them whole”. So how do you choose the right combination to create the perfect “integrated media campaign”?
I’ve spent a couple decades as a seller of media, and I’m now a buyer of media. Over time, I have seen so many fads or new ideas come, go as well as some that make it and stay. One thing that really seems certain for media planners, buyers and business owners is that integrated media has to begin with value.
For the sake of brevity, let’s assume you have already conducted your research, and you know exactly how your prospective customer enters the consumer buying journey, funnel, round-about, whatever you like to call it. You feel confident you understand how the product/service awareness works, and you have a great handle on how your prospective customer conducts evaluation as well as how much time they will spend evaluating options before making a purchase.
You have determined if reviews or other product/service research is a buying factor for your prospective customer. You have even thought out of the box and realized there are probably dueling categories of products/services you are also competing against to sell your product. A great example is a customer who has a desire to purchase a recreational leisure product for their family, and they are trying to decide between a billiard table, a jacuzzi or a shuffleboard game (yes your competition may expand greater than your competing brands). You have all your ducks in a row, and you are ready to put together your integrated media plan – so now what?
Oddly enough many business owners think it’s all about the newest, latest, greatest technology that will solve the need for enhanced sales growth. I hear from customers all the time that say, “I’m ready – let’s move into digital,” but they don’t really have any idea why we might want to consider that move.
The best integrated media plans usually come from knowing the buying decision journey of the business customers, and following those prospects as they move about. How close can we get to them? Can we directly engage with them? How do we break through the clutter of competitive and non-competitive media messages and make our voice heard as well as remembered? How do we begin conveying our value proposition to these prospective customers? What will give was the best chance to have meaningful dialog so the customer will understand they will benefit from doing business with us or buying our products?
An integrated media plan isn’t about how fancy or flashy you can incorporate traditional media, digital media or any other kind of media. Integrated plans are the outcome of finding the best value for your media message. The goal result is to amplify a media message with the right tools, voice and frequency that causes the action you originally desired to successfully happen.
When you buy media you should first consider the cost per thousand of reaching potential customers. As technology has improved, you can now layer on top more targeting to seek out your more likely prospective customer. Is it worth a greater cost per thousand to get in front of more targeted potential customers? That will depend on how more likely they are to become a converted customer. Then you consider the ability to engage with those potential customers. If you speak to these prospective customers in a particular environment, will they be more likely to notice your business, like and believe what you have to say?
Follow your customer and create a media buy best suited to get the message in front of your best possible customers. At the end of the plan, you will probably find you built a great mix of new media, old fashioned proven media products and innovative ideas to stand out from your competition.
Now you have a good chance of breaking through that advertising clutter to actually be heard and have your customers take action! Follow your customer- not trendy new media products- and you will grow your bottom line.
Kim Holzer is Brand Strategist and Owner at Krush Digital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OKC). Krush is a strategic media messaging company with a core focus on helping customers build up brand awareness and integrate with direct marketing sales goals.