How research influences media planning.
In each member of our eight-person (and growing, apply here!) media team, there’s a hunger to dig into the data – a genuine curiosity to learn everything we can about the role of paid media in each client campaign – as well as a desire to fully embrace the persona of each targeted audience. Yes, we’re proud numbers nerds.
So, when it comes to media planning for our clients, we’re happy to seek out relevant, confirmed intel that validates and guides the direction of a campaign, provides confidence in the media mix chosen, and increases the strength and integrity of each recommendation.
“The more you dig, the more you dig up.”
These are the words we live by in the media department. Simply put, it means that you should do all you can to know all there is to know about your client, their industry, and the job at hand.
Part of the digging process generally involves secondary research, which is the collection and analyzation of published data that shows established patterns in consumer behavior. As an agency, we particularly favor syndicated consumer research tools. This form of secondary research allows our experience and expertise to bring to life what our target audiences express to be the average day-in-the-life for them and for their households. We also utilize first-party data, like insights from our clients and vendor partners, and third-party data, such as consumer purchase history.
Guess less. Explore more.
When developing a media plan, it’s easy to go with your gut or assume that other people are doing the same things you are. Let’s say someone is close to your age or has the same marital status (and perhaps even the same number of children). This might lead you to think they must be doing X and Y – but there’s no way they’re doing Z because, well, you aren’t. And while you may certainly end up being right, it’s far better to have the research to back up those hunches rather than just assuming your experience speaks for all.
Removing the guesswork is actually extremely freeing, especially since it takes the pressure off personal recommendations and shifts it to the target audience and what they’re saying. In other words, the key to being successful with media planning is simply listening to those you’re trying to reach.
Exploring the consumers’ opinions, buying habits, unique preferences, and future goals helps reveal how to truly connect with the audience. Being open-minded about what you’ll find once you dig into the research is what makes the whole process even more beneficial – even exciting!
The media toolbox.
In order to ensure we have the greatest access to insights across all audiences, we subscribe to numerous industry tools, including:
- Nielsen Scarborough: provides us with market-level data, including demographics, psychographics, socioeconomics, local points of interest, and media consumption habits.
- GfK MRI-Simmons: gives us national and market-level data, while also offering unique intel through Digital Life, Teen, and Kid Studies.
- Ipsos Affluent Survey: has national data as well as the heaviest populated, top-ranking markets focused on a deeper dive into the assets, investments, and decision-making of higher income audiences.
- eMarketer: a hub for national and international insights that highlights trends and projections of consumer media habits, and even top concerns carried by chief marketing officers that keep them up at night.
- Kantar Stradegy: supplies a detailed look at the playbook of our clients’ competitors by tracking their media spending and reporting on the data to include tactics, markets, and product categories being promoted.
In addition to outstanding assets like these, we have the benefit of having an in-house analytics team (the “A-Team,” if you will) stacked with some of the most impressive talent you’ll find. Combining their quantitative, qualitative, and historical performance data with insights from our syndicated research tools provides a more informed media plan. The input from the A-Team also enables us to give informed projection estimates and even predict anticipated campaign outcomes for our clients.
When you have the right tools and the right people using them – along with clients who truly understand and appreciate the value of research guiding the way – you get to a point where everyone feels personally connected to the media approach and has a sense of ownership over the plan. And for us, that’s the holy grail.