Media planning that requires knowledge of both marketing and mass communication skills is the process of determining deals with the biggest portion of the advertiser’s budget in terms of cost for buying placement of advertisement.
Media planners have two main roles of analysing the market and evaluating media channel effectiveness in order to place the advertising message before a target audience. The findings from the research influence the creative and media plans for all aspects of marketing communication including advertising.
Traditionally, media planning was essentially based on a client’s media strategy. The ad agency was responsible for developing the media plan, which was usually devised jointly by the agency’s media department, the account and creative teams, and the marketer’s brand management group. Once the plan was formed, a media buying unit, sometimes attached to the ad agency, executed it. Now, an advertising client is just as likely to outsource media planning to an agency, as it is to develop its own plan. Because of these shifts, the line between media planning and media buying has become hazy.
Some experts describe media planners as the hub or central point in the advertising wheel, where all campaign elements symbolized by the spokes of the wheel are joined. The basis of this opinion is the sheer volume of data and information that media planners must gather, sort, and analyze before media decision-making can begin. In many ad agencies, account planners collect, gather, and analyse some of this market and creative information, especially if it relates to the target audience, message design, or brand image.
Each prospective customer for a product or service has an ideal time and place at which he or she can be reached with an advertising message. This point can be when the consumer is in the “search corridor” the purchasing mode-or it can occur when the consumer is seeking more information before entering the corridor. The goal of the media planner is to expose the target audience to the advertiser’s message at these critical points.
This ideal point is called an aperture. The most effective advertisement should expose the consumer to the product when interest and attention are high. As the figure below demonstrates, aperture can be thought of as the home run swing in baseball. Like a bat hitting a ball for a home run, aperture is the point at which the advertising message connects with the consumer at the best possible time and place for maximum effect.
Locating the aperture opportunity is a major responsibility of the media planner. The planner must study the marketing position of the advertiser to determine which media opportunities will do the best job. Finding aperture opportunity is a complex, difficult assignment. Success depends on accurate marketing research, appreciation of the message concept, and a sensitive understanding of the channels of mass communication.