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May 22, 2024

Media Buying vs Planning: Demystified!

Jennifer Sutton, CEO of Bright Marketing, a results-oriented agency for growth-stage companies, knows the challenges e-commerce brands face. With 30 years of experience in agency marketing, creative development, and consumer insights, Jennifer has witnessed the evolution of media consumption – but the core principles of marketing haven’t changed.

[00:00] – Lack of Thinking in Business
[00:50] – Introduction to Jennifer Sutton
[01:32] – Jennifer’s Background and Bright Marketing
[02:21] – What is a Full Service Ad Agency?
[03:55] – Lack of Thinking in Marketing
[05:17] – The Role of Ad Agencies
[06:18] – Smaller Businesses Bringing Marketing In-House
[07:56] – No Formula for Media Buying
[09:07] – Lack of Data-Driven Decision Making
[09:29] – Defining Media Planning and Buying
[11:18] – Understanding Media Buckets and Data
[12:29] – Summarizing Brand, Marketing, and Media
[13:31] – Clients Thinking They Have an Advertising Problem
[15:43] – Selling Benefits Over Features”
[17:19] – Defining Your Core Message and Value Proposition

While the “Mad Men” era of full-service agencies might seem glamorous, today’s marketing landscape requires a different approach. Gone are the days of generic templates and a lack of consumer understanding. Today’s success hinges on:

  • Collective Creativity: Working within an agency fosters a cross-pollination of ideas, preventing creative stagnation.
  • Disciplined Problem-Solving: Deep dives into your brand’s specific challenges ensure solutions are tailored, not one-size-fits-all.
  • Objective Insights: It’s hard to see your brand objectively. An agency provides a fresh perspective to uncover hidden opportunities.

While the allure of a “secret formula” for media buying exists, the reality is far more nuanced. Success hinges on understanding your audience, their consumption habits, your unique offering, and crafting a compelling brand message.

The good news: advancements in tools and consumer data provide powerful insights. However, many businesses struggle to leverage this data effectively. This is where understanding media planning and buying comes into play.

Unveiling the Powerhouse Duo: Media Planning vs. Media Buying

Media Planning: The strategic roadmap for your brand message. Here, you define your ideal customer, their online behavior, and the best channels to reach them. This includes exploring options like influencer marketing, sponsorships, television advertising, digital media, and search engine marketing.

Media Buying: The tactical execution of your media plan. This involves negotiating placements, securing ad spots, and managing your media budget across chosen channels.

It’s crucial to understand that media planning and buying are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have an effective media buy without a solid plan, and vice versa.

Beyond the Formula: Building a Brand Story with Impact

Often, clients approach agencies with the belief they have an “advertising problem.” However, the root cause frequently lies deeper – a brand issue. At Bright Marketing, we believe in building brands first:

  1. Business Objectives: We translate your goals into a consumer-centric perspective, crafting a brand story that resonates.
  2. Marketing Strategy: This defines how you’ll communicate your brand message.
  3. Media Planning: We determine the optimal channels to ensure your message reaches the right audience at the right time.

This approach falls under a framework called the “Marketing Mix Model,” which encompasses various channels categorized as:

  • Earned Media: Organic brand mentions (e.g., reviews, social media buzz)
  • Paid Media: Advertising placements you pay for (e.g., social media ads, influencer partnerships)
  • Owned Media: Content you control (e.g., website, blog posts, email marketing)

The key takeaway? There’s no one-size-fits-all formula. Understanding the various levers and utilizing data is critical, but it’s just the first step.

From Data Overload to ROI Optimization: Setting Realistic Expectations

While data provides valuable insights on cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), and return on ad spend (ROAS), many businesses struggle to use it effectively.

Here’s a common scenario: A client frustrated with their current ad spend approaches Bright Marketing seeking a “better ROI.” Analyzing their data, we might reveal industry benchmarks they haven’t considered, leading to a reset of expectations.

However, low ROI often points to a deeper issue: a disconnect between brand message and target audience. Factors like a weak value proposition, competitor messaging, or ineffective creative can all contribute to underwhelming results.

The Pitfalls of Templates and AI: Why Human Creativity Matters More Than Ever

The rise of automation tools and templates has undoubtedly impacted marketing. While these tools offer operational efficiencies and shortcuts, overreliance on them can lead to generic, uninspired messaging.

At Bright Marketing, while we leverage AI tools for optimization, we firmly believe in the power of human creativity. Here’s why:

  • Crafting a Compelling Message: Identifying your brand’s core message, ideal target audience, their problems and desires, and how your product transforms their lives requires deep understanding – a human strength.

Download Our Free Branding Playbook

We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide packed with actionable insights to help you develop your brand story and marketing strategy. This digital (or physical) resource is yours for free! Get your copy here.

CTA 2: Schedule Your Complimentary 1-Hour Strategy Session

Let’s talk about your brand’s unique challenges and growth aspirations. Our team of experts will craft a personalized strategy to help you achieve your e-commerce goals.

Schedule your free consultation here.

Connect with Jennifer Sutton on LinkedIn

Gain valuable marketing insights and connect with Jennifer directly here.

By partnering with Bright Marketing, you’ll gain access to a wealth of experience, data-driven insights, and human creativity – the perfect ingredients to propel your e-commerce brand to new heights, even with limited capital. Let’s unlock your brand’s true potential together!

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Michael Veazey


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