The Springboard

15th Jan 2009
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The previous article covered the basic aspects of formulating a media strategy. It must be pointed out that the starting premise here is that the strategic use of media must flow from the marketing strategy that has been decided for the brand. Consequently, a common thread should flow right

through the overall business strategy (such as consolidation, expansion, profit growth, etc.) and subsequently through the marketing and media strategies. A thorough ‘situation analysis’ of the market conditions is

a must before arriving at the marketing plan for a brand. The pointers listed

in the last article are, in fact, extrapolated from such an analysis.

Therefore, it is imperative for the marketer to assess the available data and,

if possible, even conduct research to unearth information about the market

context with respect to its history, the

distribution channels, the consumer profile, the product/service value

perception, the advertising and media scenario, etc. While the value of

intuitive judgements cannot be negated, empirical data on the above aspects is

of immense help to the marketer in decision making.     

Coming back to the issue of planning media, before we begin

seeking answers to the media related issues for our brand, the fundamental

questions listed below should be answered:

a)     

What

is the basic objective of the marketing strategy?

Outline specific and measurable

short term and long term goals for the brand. These could be with respect to

sales volume, market share, profit growth, brand positioning, brand image,

product line expansion, etc. The marketer has to prioritise his objectives and choose

from the various alternative courses of action that can help realise these

goals.

b)     

What

is the basic idea to be highlighted?

The creative strategy will flow

from the decision on the basic selling idea. Is the communication going to be

about a particular product feature, the price, the availability, a specific

problem solution or a particular user group – these and other such questions

will need to be answered.

c)      

Where

will business be sourced from?

This will help in identifying the

prospective customers in terms of their demographic / sociographic profile as

well as their current consumption patterns. (Profiling

of audiences will be dealt with in detail in subsequent articles). Further,

decisions on the best distribution strategy and the competitive stance in the

market will also be based on the answers to the above question.

d)     

What

will be the overall strategy w.r.t. sales, product and marketing expenditure?

Formulating the broad strategy on

the above would entail answering questions on the relative importance of the

various aspects of the marketing mix. Is

the dealer push for the product going to drive sales or will it work on a consumer

pull created through advertising; are product changes or line extensions needed

to improve sales or will price changes help to achieve the desired results;

what is the optimum amount to spend on advertising at different stages of the

product life cycle : these and more such dilemmas should be addressed

through the overall strategy.

Once the overall marketing strategy

has been sorted out, the advertising and media strategy can be drafted as sub

segments to the same. It’s pertinent to note that conventional mass media might

not be the panacea for all marketing strategies.  The advertising media in that case would be

more targeted as a well-defined set of prospects have to be reached out to.

While we generally tend to think of

advertising media in terms of TV, Radio, Print, Billboards, Internet, etc. we can’t

ignore the fact that the products and their users themselves act as an

advertising media through their very presence. The importance of generating a

positive word-of-mouth and creating strong user communities can, therefore, not

be underestimated when we think of appropriate advertising media for our brand.

  

Aparna Thakur has been a passionate follower of the business of media. A gold medallist from the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), Aparna has worked at the leading communication agency, Lintas Media Group, on media strategy for businesses like ICICI Prudential, UTI, Idea Cellular, Videocon and Parle Agro. She has also worked as the media evangelist for the Private Treaties team at the Times Group. Currently on sabbatical post motherhood, Aparna remains a keen observer of communication trends and looks forward to contributing to thoughts on the same.

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