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Media Planning

The Media Planning Process

A media plan is a document which specifies which media and vehicles will be purchased when, at what price and what results we expect as a result of our efforts.  It can include flow charts, details of specific magazines, reach and frequency estimates and budgets.

The main steps of Media Planning

  • Assess the communications environment
  • Define the target audience
  • Set the media objectives
  • Select the media mix
  • Buy the media

Media Objectives

Your media objectives should be concrete, measurable and realistic!  Here is what goes into media objectives:

Frequency of Media

Frequency indicates how many times a consumer of the target group is exposed to your message (on average) within a set time period.  The $64,000,000 question of course is - how many times should you expose your customers to a message?  Research shows that increasing the frequency initially leads to increased recollection.  However, if the message is repeated too many times, it can lead to boredom and irritation.

There is a theory called 'economic signalling theory' which suggests that customers view repetitive advertising as a sign of quality in the brand.  The more a company spends on advertising, the more their confidence and trust in the quality of the brand and therefore, the better the product is perceived to be.

Reach and Weight of Media

Total reach is the number of people who have been exposed to your message over a specific time period.  There can be a big (and important) difference between 'reach' and 'useful reach'.  Reach is the number of consumers who see your message, but useful reach is about the number of consumers from your target audience who see your message!

Continuity of Media

For how long will your media campaign run?  This is a continuity question, and you've got 3 choices:


This means you spend a continuous amount throughout the whole campaign period.  This can be more effective for larger projects where budgets aren't tight and a high return on investment is forecast.

Pulsing Schedule

A continuous level is maintained throughout with but during particular periods higher levels of advertising are used.  This may be more relevant for seasonal businesses for example where higher returns on investment are expected at different periods of time from marketing spend.

Flighting Schedule

During some months, no advertising takes place, but when it does it is very concentrated.  This option can be employed when there are limited marketing budgets to attempt to maximise return on investment from short bursts of activity.  It depends on the business as to whether this approach is a good long term solution.

Cost of Media

The cost of the media is usually represented as the cost per thousand (CPT), meaning the cost of reaching 1,000 people (or 1,000 useful people!).  The CPT is calculated by dividing the cost of the medium by the total reach and multiplying by 1,000

Selecting Media

In choosing the right media for your marketing campaign, you can consider reach, frequency, selectivity, geographic flexibility, speed of reach, message life and seasonal influences.  You might also think about qualitative criteria such as image-building capability, emotional impact and medium involvement.

As a design agency, we design all sorts of creative marketing including direct marketingdirect mailpoint of saledigital printlytho printingoutdoor printing and large format printing.

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