“The players may have changed, but the game remains the same.”
Not sure who to credit with those words, but they accurately represent today’s media landscape. In my world of paid media advertising I manage a constant flow of new media tactics crossing my desk. You might assume that these media properties are based on brand new ideas. I’m here to suggest they’re probably not.
While the latest vehicles may appear bright and shiny, in most cases, their “newness” reflects updates to function rather than purpose. Media deliverables, whether they exist in the realms of social, content, search or display, must constantly advance to stay compatible with today’s ever-evolving information platforms. Savvy media companies have figured out how to deliver customer brand messages to the places where their prospects consume information – and over the past several decades, especially, that consumption has occurred increasingly via the Web.
So, the delivery mechanisms have changed, but the purpose behind using them has not. I’ve facilitated my share of strategy sessions and I haven’t met a client yet who doesn’t expect her investment in paid media to result in some sort of measurable conversion – whether it’s a simple contact form request or a full-scale purchase. It’s my job to recommend the best route to get to that final outcome. Despite variables like the size of a media budget, level of brand recognition out of the gate, and the product or service’s key attributes, I’m confident that I can make the needle move in the right direction because I have a deep understanding of the process, along with so many exciting media options at my fingertips.
I focus my energy on evaluating the fundamentals of a new media property before I will recommend it. Most of the time, during this examination, I recognize similar characteristics to earlier generations of media vehicles. Within today’s digital media universe, there are tactics better suited to raising brand awareness and others more inclined to support a direct call to action. It really depends on what the client’s end goal is and how much time or money they are willing to spend to achieve it.
The most successful campaigns I’ve created have included a combination of push and pull tactics, and feature layers of tried and true vs. cutting edge media vehicles. There are still many valid reasons to recommend traditional media, and I don’t believe just because media is new, that it is automatically better. Media planning is a complex and fascinating exercise linked to human behavior and I’m all about mixing it up to achieve my clients’ goals. My core knowledge base along with a willingness to explore new ideas keeps me on the front lines as a media planner today.