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4 Things to Consider When Developing a Media Strategy

by Caitlin McCrary

Behind every successful media plan is a carefully thought out and well-planned media strategy. Before moving forward with selecting the channels or tactics to execute, a media strategy needs to be developed that identifies the campaign’s objectives, goals and target audiences.

Having a concrete media strategy in place will help to achieve the campaign goals much more efficiently and effectively and will make the media plan more successful! We’ve listed out the key components below that should always be involved in the development of a Media Strategy.  

1. Set Measurable Goals and Objectives

This is the first and most important step that should be taken while developing a media strategy. Here is where you determine exactly what you want your media plan to achieve. Are you looking to increase awareness in a certain market or are you looking to increase sales by X percentage points? Establishing key objectives and goals will help to influence and determine the best tactics that need to be implemented in order to achieve these goals. It also helps to influence the messaging points, and creative executions, that will need to be communicated through the media plan to motivate your target audience to take the desired action. 

It is also important to make sure that the goals you set are measurable and specific. We recommend defining SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Set KPIs here as well so that you can measure the success and performance of your media campaign and the tactics included. 

2. Identify and Research Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is essential in developing an effective media strategy. In addition to understanding your audience’s key demographic traits, really dive deep to try to get to know and understand your target audience. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where and how do they spend most of their time? 
  • What does a typical day look like for them?
  • What are their interests?
  • What media channels do they use?

Create custom personas of your target audience so that you can better understand who they are, what their wants and needs are as well as their motivations. Understanding who they are and their motivations will help you to determine the best channels/tactics to use in your media plan to hit your target audience at various stages throughout the funnel.

“It’s hard to target a message to a generic 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two. It’s much easier to target a message to Jennifer, who has two children under four, works as a paralegal, and is always looking for quick but healthy dinners and ways to spend more time with her kids and less time on housework.”

Elizabeth Gardner

The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can develop an impactful media strategy and campaign that will help you to achieve your business goals and objectives. 

3. Determine Your Media Budget

Having a media budget in mind will help to determine the expectations of the media plan as a whole. Go back to your media/marketing objectives and determine if they can be realistically achieved with the budget you have in mind for the media campaign. If the objectives and goals seem a bit out of reach, you may need to rework the budget or the goals/objectives to set realistic expectations. 

A predetermined budget will also help provide direction for the tactics that can be included in the plan and cost allocations among each. You will know what tactics you can realistically afford and the tactics that are best tailored for your budget to reach your target audience. 

4. Establish the Main & Key Messaging Points

Knowing the key messages you want to convey to your target audience will also play a role in the media strategy development by informing and providing direction for the media tactic selection. For example, if you are hoping to drive conversions among a specific target audience, you may not want to reach your audience on a platform that is better suited for broad awareness campaigns. 

You will most likely need to craft several messages either tailored to each target audience or to target various stages of the funnel.  Make sure your messaging contains a direct call to action that is able to be clearly communicated through your media campaign. When a user comes across your ad, they should instantly know the direct action you are encouraging them to take whether that be to download a report or buy your product. 

Once you’ve addressed these four key fundamental components, you will be well on your way to developing a thorough and comprehensive media strategy.  Always remember, building an intentional and solid media strategy is essential to developing a successful media plan. Once your media plan has launched, tracking and capturing your data will help you check back to #1 to ensure you are achieving your goals and objectives! 

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