Media planners make three crucial decisions: where to advertise (geography), when to advertise (timing), and what media categories to use (media mix). Moreover, they make these decisions in the face of budget constraints. The actual amount of money that an advertiser spends on marketing communications can vary widely, from billions of dollars for multinational giants such as Procter & Gamble, to a few thousand dollars for local “mom-n-pop” stores. In general, companies spend as little as 1% to more than 20% of revenues on advertising, depending on the nature of their business. Regardless of the budget, some media options are more cost effective than others. It is the job of media planners to formulate the best media strategies — allocating budget across media categories, geographies, and time. Let’s look at each of these three decisions in turn, and then consider cost effectiveness.
Which media should the advertiser use? Media planners craft a media mix by considering a budget-conscious intersection between their media objectives and the properties of the various potential media vehicles. That is, they consider how each media vehicle provides a cost-effective contribution to attaining the objectives, and then they select the combination of vehicles that best attain all of the objectives.
When making media mix decisions, planners look to a whole spectrum of media, not just to traditional media vehicles such as TV, radio, and print. That is, media planners consider all the opportunities that consumers have for contact with the brand. These opportunities can be non-traditional brand contact opportunities such as online advertising, sweepstakes, sponsorships, product placements, direct mail, mobile phones, blogs, and podcasts. The scale and situations of media use are especially important when evaluating suitable brand contact opportunities. For example, product placement in a video game makes sense if the target audience plays video games. Sweepstakes make sense if many of the target audience find sweepstakes attractive.
3.1.1 Mix Strategy: Media Concentration vs. Media Dispersion
A media planner’s first media mix decision is to choose between a media concentration approach or a media dispersion approach. The media concentration approach uses fewer media categories and greater spending per category. This lets the media planner create higher frequency and repetition within that one media category. Media planners will choose a concentration approach if they are worried that their brand’s ads will share space with competing brands, leading to confusion among consumers and failure of the media objectives. For example, when Nestle launched its 99% fat-free cereal Fitnesse, the similarity of ads actually increased the sales of the competing Kellogg’s Special K Cereal.
Media planners can calculate or measure share of voice to estimate the dominance of their message in each category of media they use. Share of voice is the percentage of spending by one brand in a given media category relative to the total spending by all brands that are advertising in that media category.
A company can create a high share of voice with a concentrated media strategy. That is, the company can be the dominant advertiser in a product category in the chosen channel. Moreover, because only one set of creative materials will need to be prepared, a concentrated media strategy lets advertisers spend a higher percentage of their budget on frequency and reach. But a concentrated strategy is also an “all-eggs-in-one-basket” strategy. If the particular ad is not well received or the particular media category only reaches a fraction of the intended target audience, then it will perform poorly.
In contrast, media planners choose a media dispersion approach when they use multiple media categories, such as a combination of television, radio, newspapers and the Internet. Media planners will use dispersion if they know that no single media outlet will reach a sufficient percentage of the target audience. For example, a concentrated approach using only ads on the Internet might reach only 30% of the target consumers because some consumers don’t use the Internet. Similarly, a concentrated approach using national news magazines might reach only 30% of the target audience, because not every target customer reads these magazines. But a dispersed approach that advertises in print magazines as well as on Web sites might reach 50% of the target audience. Media planners also like the dispersion approach for the reinforcement that it brings — consumers who see multiple ads in multiple media for a given brand may be more likely to buy.
Table 5 illustrates the media concentration and media dispersion approaches to the media category allocations for three hypothetical brands of fatigue relief medication. Advertisers of Zipium took a media dispersion approach by allocating the budget relatively evenly across all four media categories, while advertisers of Pepzac and Enerzid took a media concentration approach by spending the budget in one or two media categories.
Hypothetical Media Mix and Share of Voice
|Competing Brand||Television||Magazine||Direct Mail||Internet||Total Spend by Brand|
|Total Spend by Category||$750,000||$500,000||$200,000||$900,000||$2,600,000|
|Brands’ Voice in Each Category|
Notice the share of voice figures for the three brands in television. Zipium gets a 40% share of voice in television because it spent $400,000 out of the total of $1 million spent on television advertising by fatigue remedy medications. Pepzac gets 60% because it spent $600,000 out of the $1 million spent on TV. Enerzid receives a 0% share of voice in TV because it spent no money in that media category. Pepzac enjoys a dominant share of voice in television because it has the highest percentage of spending in that category.
Looking across the other media categories, we see the effects of a concentrated versus dispersed media approach. Although Zipium spends the greatest amount of money, it only achieves dominant share of voice in one of the four media categories due to dispersal. Each of the other brands also dominates one category. For example, Enerzid concentrates all of its spending on the Internet. Thus, although Enerzid has a small budget, it manages to dominate that one category through its concentrated media approach.
The media concentration approach is often preferable for brands that have a small or moderate media budget but intend to make a great impact. For example, GoDaddy.com, an Internet hosting service, bought two spots in the Super Bowl in 2005. Because of the controversial nature of the ad, Fox Networks canceled the second run of the ad. The controversy over the pulled ad resulted in more than $11 million of free publicity. The single paid ad plus heavy media coverage of the incident greatly increased the awareness of GoDaddy. The spot also earned GoDaddy a 51% share of voice, a percentage which some say is the largest share of voice attributed to any Super Bowl advertiser ever.
3.1.2. Media Category Selection
Whether media planners select media concentration or media dispersion, they still must pick the media category(ies) for the media plan. Different media categories suit different media objectives. Most media options can be classified into three broad categories: mass media, direct response media, and point-of-purchase media. A media planner’s choice will depend on the media objectives. If the media planner wants to create broad awareness or to remind the largest possible number of consumers about a brand, then he or she will pick mass media such as television, radio, newspaper and magazine. If the media planner wants to build a relationship with a customer or encourage an immediate sales response, then direct response media such as direct mail, the Internet and mobile phone are good choices.
For example, online ads for car insurance such as link directly to the application process to capture the customers right at the time they are interested in the service. Finally, if media planners want to convert shoppers into buyers, then they might use point-of-purchase media such as sampling, coupons and price-off promotions. In short, each of these three categories of media serve a different role in moving the customer from brand awareness to brand interest to purchase intent to actual purchase and then to re-purchase. An integrated campaign, such as the one described for P&G’s Fusion shaving system, might use multiple categories — combining national TV ads to introduce the product, Internet media to provide one-to-one information, and in-store displays to drive sales.
The creative requirements of a media category also affect media planners’ decisions. Each media category has unique characteristics. For example, television offers visual impact that interweaves sight and sound, often within a narrative storyline. Magazines offer high reproduction quality but must grab the consumer with a single static image. Direct mail can carry free samples but can require compelling ad copy in the letter and back-end infrastructure for some form of consumer response by return mail, telephone or Internet. Rich media ads on the Internet can combine the best of TV-style ads with interactive response via a clickthrough to the brand’s own Web site. Media planners need to consider which media categories provide the most impact for their particular brand. The costs of developing creative materials specific to each media category can also limit media planners’ use of the media dispersion approach.
3.2. Geographic Allocation Decisions
In addition to allocating advertising by media category, media planners must allocate advertising by geography. In general, a company that sells nationally can take one of three approaches to geographic spending allocation: a national approach (advertise in all markets), a spot approach (advertise only in selected markets), or a combined national plus spot approach (advertise in all markets with additional spending in selected markets).
Media planners will choose a national approach if sales are relatively uniform across the country, such as for Tide laundry detergent or Toyota automobiles. A national approach will reach a national customer base with a national advertising program. For many other products, however, a company’s customers are concentrated in a limited subset of geographic areas, which makes a spot approach more efficient. For example, the sales of leisure boats are much higher in markets such as Florida, California and Michigan due to the large water areas in these markets. A spot approach will target these states. For example, a leisure boat manufacturer such as Sea Ray might use a spot approach to target Florida, California and Michigan while not advertising in other states like Iowa or Nebraska.
Media planners perform geographic analyses by assessing the geographic concentration of sales in two ways. The first method is called the Brand Development Index (BDI) of a geographic region. BDI measures the concentration of sales of a company’s brand in that region.
The second method is called the Category Development Index (CDI) and measures the concentration of sales of the product category (across all brands) in that region.
Media planners use BDI to measure a brand’s performance in a given market in comparison with its average performance in all markets where the brand is sold. Mathematically, BDI is a ratio of a brand’s sales in a given geographic market divided by the average of its sales in all markets. BDI is calculated for each geographic area (Market X) using the following formula:
BDI = ———————————————– X 100
Market X’s Share of U.S. Population
Consider the BDI for visitors to the state of Louisiana — the geographic concentration of people who travel to Louisiana for business or pleasure. The BDI for Houston is 658 because Houston is 1.8% of the U.S. population, but Houstonians make up 11.8% of visitors to Louisiana (100 * (11.8%/1.8%) = 658). Because Houston’s BDI is higher than 100, it means that many more Houstonians come to Louisiana than the average from other cities. In contrast, the New York City area has a very low BDI of only 10 because even though New York City has 7.2% of the U.S. population, this city contributes only 0.7% of visitors to Louisiana.
This disparity in BDI influences Louisiana’s advertising strategy. Media planners will tend to allocate more resources to high BDI markets (greater than 100) than to low BDI markets. The point is that even though New York City has a much larger population, it has a much lower concentration of travelers to Louisiana. Given that the cost of advertising is often proportional to the population it reaches, advertising in New York City will be far more expensive than advertising in Houston. Because such a low percentage of New Yorkers travel to Louisiana, advertising to New Yorkers will be less effective than advertising to Houstonians.
BDI doesn’t tell the whole story, however, because BDI only measures the concentration of current sales. BDI doesn’t reflect the concentration of potential sales as measured by sales of the entire product category. So, media planners use another number, CDI, in addition to BDI when allocating resources for spot advertising. CDI is a measure of a product category’s performance in a given geographic market in comparison to its average performance in all markets in the country. The sales of a product category include the sales of all the brands (the company’s and competitors’ brands) or at least all major brands that fall in the category. The CDI formula is:
CDI = —————————————————- X 100
Market X’s Share of U.S. Population
Notice the similarities and differences of the CDI formula compared to the BDI formula. The denominator of the CDI formula is the same as that of the BDI formula, but the numerator for CDI is the share of the product category in a given market. For example, if the sales of the product category in Market X account for 2 percent of its total sales in the U.S. and the population in that market is 3 percent of the U.S. population, then the CDI for that market will be 67, which is 33 percent below the average of 100. That means a poorer-than-average consumption of the product category, which means that Market X may be less promising for spot market advertising. On the other hand, markets with a high CDI (higher than 100) may be a better market for that product category.
Because BDI and CDI can vary independently, media planners use both numbers to guide allocation decisions. In general, BDI reflects the concentration of existing sales while CDI reflects the concentration of potential sales in a geographic region. Returning to the example of leisure boats, we find that states such as California, Florida, and Michigan have high CDIs. Yet the maker of a line of small boats that aren’t suitable for the ocean may have very high BDI in Michigan but a very low BDI in California and Florida. Because a BDI or a CDI for a given market can each be either above or below the average, there will be four possible combinations, as shown in Table 6. The four combinations represent two extreme cases and two mixed cases. At the one extreme, in a market with both a high CDI and a high BDI (both above 100), media planners will seek to maintain high market share (implied by high BDI) and might even consider more advertising to gain market share because of the good category potential (implied by high CDI) of the market. At the other extreme, in a market with both a low CDI and a low BDI, media planners may eschew spending their advertising dollars there due to the low concentration of potential consumption — the small boat maker may ignore New Mexico.
Four Scenarios of BDI and CDI
The mixed cases represent situations in which the percentage of brand sales in a region differs significantly from the percentage of category sales. A market with a high CDI and a low BDI deserves serious consideration because it suggests a large opportunity for increased sales. Before devoting advertising dollars, the company will want to understand why it has such poor sales of its brand (low BDI) in an area with high category sales. For example, the maker of small boats may learn that Californians don’t buy the brand’s boats because the boats are unsuitable for the ocean. If the causes of the poor brand performance can be identified and solved (such as by changing the product or finding better distribution), then more advertising should be worthwhile.
A low CDI and high BDI represents the enviable position of selling well in a market that does not otherwise buy products in that category. A market with low CDI and a high BDI requires continued advertising support to maintain the superior brand performance.
One approach to resource allocation uses a weighted sum of BDI and CDI — spending money in each geography in proportion to a combined BDI plus CDI score. With this approach, media planners need to first assign a weight to the BDI and to the CDI. These two weights represent the relative importance of the BDI and CDI, and the sum of two weights should equal 1. On the one hand, media planners might choose a high weight on CDI if they feel their brand is representative of the broader category and they expect their brand to attain a geographic pattern of sales that matches that of the category. On the other hand, they might place a high weight on BDI if their brand is unique, the category is very diverse, or the company wants to grow sales among current customers.
Consider a hypothetical example in which a media planner thinks the BDI is three times more important than the CDI in allocating spending. He or she would use a weight of .75 with the BDI values and .25 with the CDI values of each geography to calculate a weighted sum and a percentage for each of the markets. Then, she can use the percentage as a base for spending allocation in each market, as show in Table 7. That is, Market A will receive 16 percent of the media spending, Market B will receive 22 percent, and so on. All the percentages added together will equal 100 percent.
Hypothetical Spending Allocation in Markets with 75% BDI and 25% CDI
|Geographic Market||BDI||CDI||75% Weighted
Media planners can use another index — growth potential index (GPI) — to assess growth opportunities in geographic markets. GPI is simply the ratio of the CDI over the BDI and is one way of quantifying the discrepancy between category sales (the potential sales for the market) and brand sales (current sales) to measure of the growth potential of a brand in a market. The formula of the GPI is as follows:
Market X’s CDI
GPI = ———————- X 100
Market X’s BDI
For example, if Market X has a CDI of 120 and a BDI of 80, then the GPI will be 150. This high value of GPI suggests a growth potential of 50% in this market — that if the brand sold as well in that market as it does nationwide, sales would grow 50%. Of course, media planners should examine the specific conditions of a high GPI market before allocating resources to assess the true possibilities for growth. When a brand sells in many markets, the GPI can facilitate the selection of markets for additional spot advertising spending.
3.3. Media Schedule Decisions
Having decided how to advertise (the media mix) and where to advertise (allocation across geography), media planners need to consider when to advertise. Given a fixed annual budget, should all months receive equal amounts of money or should some months receive more of the budget while other months receive less or nothing? Media planners can choose among three methods of scheduling: continuity, flight, and pulse. Continuity scheduling spreads media spending evenly across months. For example, with an annual budget of $1,200,000 a year, continuity scheduling would allocate exactly $100,000 per month. This method ensures steady brand exposure over each purchase cycle for individual consumers. It also takes advantage of volume discounts in media buying. However, because continuity scheduling usually requires a large budget, it may not be practical for small advertisers.
The flight scheduling approach alternates advertising across months, with heavy advertising in certain months and no advertising at all in other months. For example, a board game maker like Parker Brothers might concentrate its advertising in the fall when it knows that many people buy board games as gifts for the holidays. Or, with the same budget of $1,200,000, for example, a different brand could spend $200,000 per month during each of six months — January, March, May, July, September and December — and spend nothing during the other months, in hopes that the impact of advertising in the previous month can last into the following month.
Pulse scheduling combines the first two scheduling methods, so that the brand maintains a low level of advertising across all months but spends more in selected months. For example, an airline like United Airlines might use a low level of continuous advertising to maintain brand awareness among business travelers. United Airlines might also have seasonal pulses to entice winter-weary consumers to fly to sunny climes. In budget allocation terms, a consumer goods brand may spend $5,000 in each of the twelve months to maintain the brand awareness and spend an additional $10,000 in January, March, May, July, September and December to attract brand switchers from competing brands. The pulse scheduling method takes advantage of both the continuity and flight scheduling methods and mitigates their weaknesses. However, this does not mean it is good for all products and services. Which method is the most appropriate for a given campaign depends on several important factors.
How do media planners select among continuity, flight, and pulse scheduling approaches? The timing of advertising depends on three factors: seasonality, consumers’ product purchase cycle, and consumers’ interval between decision-making and consumption.
The first, and most important, factor is sales seasonality. Companies don’t advertise fur coats in summer and suntan lotions in winter. Likewise, some products sell faster around specific holidays, such as flowers on Mother’s Day, candy on Halloween, and ornaments around Christmas. Companies with seasonal products are more likely to choose flight scheduling to concentrate their advertising for the peak sales season. Other goods, however, such as everyday products like milk and toothpaste, may lack a seasonal pattern. Everyday goods may be better served by a continuity approach. Media planners can use a breakdown of sales by month to identify if their brand has seasonal fluctuations, which can serve as a guide for the allocation. They can allocate more money to high-sales months and less to low-sales months.
The second factor that affects when advertising is scheduled is the product purchase cycle: the interval between two purchases. Fast-moving consumer goods such as bread, soft drinks and toilet paper probably require continuous weekly advertising in a competitive market to constantly reinforce brand awareness and influence frequently-made purchase decisions. In contrast, less-frequently purchased products such as carpet cleaner or floor polisher may only need advertising a few times a year.
A third factor that affects media scheduling is the time interval between when the purchase decision is made and when a product or service is actually bought and consumed. For example, many families who take summer vacations may plan their trips months before the actual trips. That is, they make purchase decision in advance. Thus, travel industry advertisers will schedule their ads months before the summer, as we saw in the Wyoming example. Destination advertising has to be in sync with the time of decision making, instead of the actual consumption time.
New product launches usually require initial heavy advertising to create brand awareness and interest. The launch period may last from a few months to a year. As mentioned earlier, P&G launched its Gillette six-bladed Fusion shaving system with advertising on Super Bowl XL, the most expensive form of advertising in the world. If consumers like the product, then personal influence in the form of word-of-mouth or market force (brand visibility in life and media coverage) will play a role in accelerating the adoption of a new brand. Personal influence and market force are “unplanned” messages, which often play an important role in new product launches. Media planners should take advance of these “unplanned” messages in a new product launch campaign.Tagged with: advertisement media • advertisement media strategies • advertisement strategies • advertising media decisions • advertising media mix • advertising media strategies • advertising strategies • canada advertising approach • canada advertising media strategies • canada media strategies • dedia dispersion • geographic media • geographic strategies • intro to media • media • media approach advertising approach • media category • media category selection • media concentration • media decisions • media dispersion • media dispersion approach • media mix • media mix decisions • media schedule • media schedule decisions • media selection • media strategies • mix strategy • strategies • usa advertising approach • usa media strategies