What does good media planning entail?
A media planner’s job is to manage advertising measures in a way that brings consumers and brands together. That demands a lot from media planners:
- knowledge of current and fast-paced industry trends
- ability to work with all relevant tools
- knowledge of relevant channels and their individual strengths
- coordination of various tasks
- flexible and quick response to changing circumstances
- handling time-consuming tasks such as campaign management, troubleshooting and reporting
Many more points, hard skills, and soft skills could be added to this list. However, it quickly becomes clear that the success of every advertising campaign relies heavily on the competence and experience of the media planner.
But what are the two key aspects that determine whether a media campaign will work at all? The answer: creativity and knowledge about the target group! To meet these two prerequisites for an effective advertising campaign, a competent media planner needs both a solid, current database and one essential resource: time. And that is exactly what’s usually lacking due to the diversity and structure of the job requirements.
Ad tech: A blessing or a downward spiral?
We use the word “advertising technology”, adtech or ad tech for short, as an umbrella term for various types of analytics and digital tools. They all serve the purpose of directing advertising campaigns to individuals or specific target groups. It includes ad technology products such as monitoring systems, data management platforms, analytics software, and attribution solutions.
Data allows us to monitor, adjust, and improve ongoing campaigns in real time to get the most out of each advertising campaign. Adtech solutions promise just that – simplification, automation, optimal campaign management, and thus maximum success.
But in the end, technology can only address problems as long as we continue to reproduce the existing targeting pattern and campaign strategy through the lens of data-driven optimization. It requires awareness, willpower and time to break free from these patterns, routinely question procedures, and consciously tear down structures.
Use adtech wisely: don’t replicate, innovate
If we really want to improve our campaigns, it’s worth breaking away from previous campaign structures and critically examining them based on recent data.
- Does our brand message still reflect the interest of the target group?
- Does the target group we defined at an earlier stage even exist in this form anymore?
- Are the answers to the question our message addresses now different in this market?
It takes time to answer these questions using existing and current data – no doubt about it. But it’s the only feasible way to create better advertising that strikes an emotional chord with the recipient.
After all, good advertising is not about reaching as many people in the target group as possible in a short time. It's about entertaining, surprising, inspiring, and perhaps even allowing whoever the message reaches to discover something new, something that will stay with them for a long time and give them a lasting, positive brand experience.
This is also the aim of sensibly used adtech. It provides us with the data we need to develop effective target group definitions, innovative campaign strategies and creative messages in the first place. If we don’t use this data intensively enough to figure out how to tap into new communication channels, new messages or new target groups, it is virtually worthless and the use of adtech at all comes into question.
What we need is creativity and innovative spirit to come up with more than just a typical media mix, as many adtech solutions do, and instead devise creative media solutions. Using creative media in a way that the target group does not expect is a creative process that adtech itself cannot provide. However, it can quantify and predict the success of developed campaigns and show personalized content to different users – whether as part of OoH advertising or a dynamic web radio spot.
What must ad tech achieve?
Smart adtech solutions are not necessarily ones that deliver as many and as extensive datasets as possible. Instead, they are solutions that use automation to eliminate, to the greatest extent possible, daily tasks that eat up a media planner’s time. This approach leaves time to delve into the underlying data, evaluate and interpret it, and use the results to conduct precise media planning and develop creative campaigns.
The second key task of ad-tech solutions is to bring strategic planning and media buying processes closer together. In reality, teams from both departments often work together but don’t have enough interaction. Often, it is not possible to quickly allocate a larger media budget to a channel that temporarily attracts the attention of the target group. By combining planning and sales with adtech solutions and automating them, we can achieve optimal campaign performance in real time, without the need for time-consuming monitoring, communication, or correction. Smart use of adtech saves a considerable amount of time in this respect.
During an ongoing campaign, and especially after it, it is essential to be able to thoroughly evaluate and assess the findings from digital media purchases that were actually made in order to analyze the success of the campaign. That is the only way to draw conclusions about the actual behavior of the target group and how the message conveyed is received, which is vital for planning the next campaign. The time saved in the previous steps should be used wisely for this purpose.