Media as a strategic tool

31st Dec 2008
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This series of articles will try to provide

a comprehensive overview of the various aspects of media as astrategic tool.

We would also be looking at the emerging media environment and the

opportunities and challenges it brings for anybody seeking to build a brand.

The effort would be to make this column an interactive forum where our readers

can discuss media related issues and seek answers to specific queries related

to their brand's media strategy.

Developing the right marketing

communications mix is one of the crucial decisions facing an entrepreneur as he

expands his business. An optimal media mix helps to take the brand to the next

level while ensuring that scarce resources of a fledgling business are not

wasted. The basic aspects that media strategy needs to cover are touched upon

briefly as follows:

  1. Target consumer understanding: Creating a portrait of the potentialcustomer would help identify the media touch-points for reaching her.
  2. Demographic and sociographic profiling of the prospective consumers in terms of
  3. factors such as age, gender, education, family background, occupation, etc.
  4. would help in arriving at a distinct and well-defined group that one needs to
  5. reach out to.
  6. Category understanding: The competitive space in which a product /service operates is an obvious influence on all the aspects of its marketing
  7. mix. The entrepreneur has to make a decision about where to position his
  8. offering in the competitive landscape. From a media standpoint, defining
  9. this competitive set helps to assess the 'noise' levels that one is up against and also provides cues on whether one
  10. should 'go with the flow' or "against the tide' in terms of their media
  11. strategy.
  12. Media / Channel Understanding: Matching the needs of a brand to thecharacteristics of the available media options is intrinsic to the media
  13. strategy. The nature of the brand message and how it lends itself to any media
  14. will be an important determinant of media choice. The affinity of the target
  15. audience towards particular media, the strengths and weaknesses of the
  16. available media options, their geographical coverage, and the return on
  17. investment provided by them are just some of the many factors that will impact
  18. media choice.
  19. Budgeting: Taking a cue from the famous statement, if one half of theadvertising budget is anyway wasted, it is imperative that the wastage be optimised. Spending too little is as much a pointless exercise as is spending
  20. too much on media. While several scientific as well as not so scientific
  21. techniques are commonly used for budget setting, intuitively, the media budget
  22. has to be cognizant of the above mentioned aspects.
  23. Communication planning: Once the above aspects of the media strategy havebeen worked on, the specific communication plans can be detailed. This would
  24. entail details such as specific media vehicles, the reach and frequency
  25. targets, the periodicity and duration of the campaigns, the desired response
  26. metrics like awareness, etc.
  27. Media strategy evaluation: Constant evaluation and updation of themedia strategy is needed to keep it relevant in a dynamic market scenario. Use
  28. of innovative and clutter breaking media options is often a compulsion in a
  29. market cluttered with brands seeking your target audience's share of mind.

The above is a

broad overview of the steps involved in arriving at a media strategy. However, the specific aspects that need to be focussed on will vary on a case to case basis, depending upon the stage at

which a brand / product is. Perhaps, the definition of 'advertising media'

itself might need to be relooked at for fledgling brands which might not have

deep pockets but believe in the strength of their proposition and have a

compelling story for their prospective customers. But, that is a discussion for

another time.

Aparna Thakur

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