Today we have so many choices when it comes to media placement. As one of Absolute’s Marketing Advisors, I work with our clients to develop strategies that will help them reach their objectives, and typically these strategies include how we’ll approach media placement. Since we have so many traditional and new media choices out there, how do we help our clients determine how to reach their audience, assuming that their message and brand are already on target?

When considering media strategies for our clients, the first thing I do is determine who my client’s primary and secondary audiences are. This is where it gets more complex. It’s not enough to know an age group, gender or household income like we could when we only had traditional media to recommend. The blessing and the curse of the Internet as an advertising medium requires us to be better marketers. Why you ask? Because now we have ways of targeting consumers based on their behaviors with media. Much of traditional media is passive – the viewer watches, listens, reads the content and sees or hears the associated advertising. But online is very different. Much of what users see, hear or read is content that they have found due to their behaviors and an active search for something, whether that is entertainment, information or connection.

In order to navigate these seas like a good ship’s captain should, here are five of the most important questions that we as marketers and our clients need to ask in order to determine a media strategy – one that can take our boat where we want it to go:

  1. What are we selling?
    Let’s say we are selling a product that is sold exclusively online and it’s technology-related. While you might want to use a visual traditional medium like television to build the brand, showcase the features and benefits and reflect your audience in the ages of the people in your ads, your campaign will also cry out for a heavy online focus as well. Once your audience has decided that they want your product over the competition’s, chances are they will research their purchase online to make sure that your product is indeed the one they want and they will then either order it online or walk into the store to buy it. Either way, your campaign needs both types of media to achieve your objective.
  2. How well do we know our audience?
    Now let’s say that you’re selling an idea instead of a product. Maybe your company is actually a non-profit and the primary donors are women ages 35-55. How well do we know them? Is the typical donor a career woman who is also so busy that she doesn’t have a lot of free time so she spends more time on her computer than with traditional media? Maybe that question has two different answers depending on whether she’s closer to 35 than 55. Defining the audience needs to include who they are but also how they spend their time. You might even need to develop a “perfect” customer profile – also known as a persona.
  3. What do we want our audience to do? This one might seem obvious, but only if we sell a product and all we want that customer to do is buy our product for the first time. What about the customer that you want to buy from you again? Or how about the customer who bought the competition’s product two years ago and now is in the market for an upgrade? And then there are those campaigns that don’t involve purchases at all, such as an educational campaign that will result in an audience voting differently or a campaign about safety with a goal of the audience taking safety precautions. These are completely different goals that will have a big impact on the way we recommend media.
  4. How does our budget look? Considering our budget is also an important part of the media choices we make. At least as of right now, online advertising is still lower cost than traditional media whether you’re judging numbers of impressions, spots or subscribers. This is something we always take into consideration when recommending a plan. While we wouldn’t recommend a medium based on cost alone, it’s not unusual to have more than one choice that will be effective.
  5. What about the competition? Ah, then we have the sharks – oh, I mean the competition. This is a question that I encounter fairly frequently. “Do I swim with the other fish and just try to swim faster or do I find another lake altogether?” a client might ask. Well my dear client, it depends on your confidence in getting your audience to follow you to the other lake or whether your company is better off with a motor when your competition is merely sailing. We can figure that out together.

When it comes to media placement, you don’t need to navigate these waters alone. We’re here to get your business to your next destination by helping you decide what balance of traditional and new media will work best for your company.

If you have any questions about what we can do to help you decide on a media strategy, give us a call at (701) 478-1111 or email us at!