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The Top 6 Digital Media Planning Faux Pas

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 09:59 AM

I’ll never forget the time I took my mother to her doctor’s appointment, and as we sat in the tiny room that was too cold and painted an odd yellow-brown color waiting for the doctor to make an appearance, a funny-maternity-shirtnurse cheerfully took my mother’s vitals. Well, this particular nurse was very... rotund, and in an effort to make some friendly small talk my mother asked her, “When are you due?” The rotund nurse explained tomy mother that she wasnt pregnant then quietly left the chilly yellow-brown room. I thought faux pas like these only happened on TV or in the movies, but nope, apparently they happen wherever my mother happens to be.

Faux pas are very unpleasant for all parties involved, so in an effort to help you avoid any unpleasantries when launching your online campaigns, here are the top digital media planning faux pas to avoid:

Living in the Past

Digital media is constantly evolving; new technologies and social outlets emerge almost daily. Any digital media plan that relies on past experiences to deliver future results is dead in the water. Those media planners left with the task of developing and executing digital campaigns need to constantly stay on top of new technologies and trends if they want to provide a return on the investment.

Assuming Anything

Most people who make assumptions do so because they’re afraid to ask too many questions or not enough questions or just one really stupid one. Done correctly, digital media planning requires many questions to be asked such as:

  • What are the campaign goals?
  • What does past research show?
  • What metrics will we use?
  • Who are our biggest competitors?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • Should this be an integrated campaign?
  • How much lead time do we need?

Digital media planners should never be afraid to speak with all team members and ask as many questions as they need to make sure they know the campaign’s objectives and can devise the most comprehensive plan to reach them.

Not Wearing Enough Hats

The role of digital media planner isn’t an easy one to fill. Online campaigns require you to understand numbers, be a critical and strategic thinker, have the ability to analyze various channels and hatsopportunities, and be a clear communicator. Good digital media planning is not taking half the budget and sinking it into an ad network; it’s about developing creative strategies and constantly testing and tweaking them for better results.

Not Following-Up

The person in charge of developing a company’s digital media plan may think once the plan is in place their job is done and it is now up to other team members to execute that plan. But this is a faux pas waiting to happen. Media planners need to stay involved during the initial launch of the campaign to make sure there are no under-performing placements in need of attention. They should also be on hand to analyze any data reports so they can adjust the campaign as needed and use the information as a way to provide feedback to the publishers with whom they work.

Launching When No One Cares

You wouldn’t think digital media planners would allow campaigns to be launched on, oh, say a Friday or during a major holiday, but it actually happens all the time. The digital landscape is far too competitive to let the ball drop over something as important as a campaign’s launch date.

Not Learning from Your Mistakes

I can tell you for certain, anytime my mother and I were around rotund women who could potentially not be pregnant I was on guard, ready to interrupt with a line about the weather should my mother even start to utter the words, “When are...” I had learned my lesson.

Digital media planning requires constant learning. And not just from things that did work, but from those that didn’t as well. Those planners who don’t find the lesson in their failures will have more of them.

Digital media planning isn’t just about placing ads online; it’s about determining how, when and where to reach your target audience while being ever mindful of ROI. The fewer faux pas made, the better the results.


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Tags: digital media planning

Newspaper Advertising vs. Radio Advertising – And the Winner is....

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 10:33 AM

In any economy, especially one that continues to limp along, advertisers are looking for solid results in exchange for their ad spend. Many local business owners have recognized that digital media isn’t necessarily the holy grail of advertising, and that tried-and-true marketing channels such as radio and print are still very viable and effective at getting their message in front of an audience.

But, between newspaper and radio, which channel offers the most advantages? We’re glad you asked.

Radio Advertising

When meeting with a salesperson for your local radio station you will no doubt find their pitch to be creative and enthusiastic. They may even play a spec ad on tape and show you graphs of listener demographics and maps that show how far their signal reaches. It is all very convincing and will most likely raise your expectations enough to hand over your allotted budget.

But let’s look a little closer at the limitations of radio advertising.

What is the actual market share offered?

If you sit in your car and tune in all the FM and AM stations in your local area, you will find that, even in small markets, there will be 20 or more radio stations with a listening audience. This means the market share is split up into small numbers for market penetration even for the biggest radio station. There may be 50,000 households in your market, but the station you are working with may only reach 1,000 of them.

Radio-NewspaperWhy is the radio on?

Why do people listen to the radio? They either listen to be entertained or simply to have background noise while driving or doing household chores. For those who listen to be entertained, advertising is considered an interruption. For those who have the radio on simply for background noise, the advertisement goes completely unnoticed.

Satellite radio has taken off in the last five years because people are willing to pay extra to avoid the dreaded commercials. Many new cars, in fact, have satellite radio built right in.

The radio industry itself recognizes listeners don’t want to have their music interrupted by advertising, which is why many stations promote themselves as the station that “plays more music, less commercials.”

More competition drives up ad prices

The peak time for radio listening is obviously during the morning and evening commute. So, though there may be 24 hours in a day, there are really only about four to six hours where your ads might possibly be heard. Consider the fact there may be 20 – 30 local businesses all vying for the same airtime and you quickly realize why radio advertising can be so expensive.

Who makes up your audience?

Radio stations often throw numbers around and claim 75% of households are listening during the day, but who is making up this listening audience? Are you sure it’s the demographic you’re trying to reach? Many stations’ core audience is made up of 13 – 21 year olds – are these the customers you’re trying to sell to?

How much lasting power do radio ads have?A radio ad plays for 30 seconds and then it is gone

A radio ad plays for 30 seconds and then it is gone, never to be thought of again. And forget including a phone number or email address in the ad; unless you expect your audience to pull over on the side of the road and jot down your contact information, chances are they’ll never remember (that’s if they actually listened to the commercial and didn’t hit the TUNE or SCAN button first).

Newspaper Advertising

Newspapers have had their fair share of ups and downs since the emergence of digital media, but despite this, they have steadily maintained their local readership base and strength for local marketing.

Let’s take a look at the many advantages of newspaper advertising:

  1. Advertising in a newspaper is not seen as an interruption. In fact, numerous surveys have shown one of the reasons people buy newspapers is to view the ads for their local stores and businesses. Consumers do want and need to be exposed to advertising; they simply want ads on their own terms.

  2. A newspaper ad can be cut out and saved for later. This means your coupon or contact information can and usually will land on someone’s refrigerator or in their wallet or purse.

  3. Unlike radio, whose market share is often far less than first calculated, local newspapers consistently deliver to 50% or more of households. And they do it 365 days out of the year.

  4. Unlike radio, which is often playing in the background and not really heard, newspapers can deliver true consumer engagement. When a person reads an advertisement it’s because they choose to do so. They give their full attention to your message and will remember you when they need your product or service.

  5. You’ve probably heard newspaper subscriptions and readership have dropped in the last five years or so, and that’s somewhat true, but not to the extent that many would like you to believe. The other side of that coin is, the readership of the online versions of newspapers is growing rapidly, much faster than the 7% or so losses in the physical subscriptions.

You can see why many advertisers are steering away from radio advertising and back into traditional print media. Ideally, newspapers shouldn’t be your only medium of advertising, as a mix of channels always works best, but print media is a solid foundation on which you can build an effective marketing plan that will give you the greatest return on your investment.


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Tags: newspaper advertising

How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:23 AM

One of the smartest ways local businesses can create a new customer base is to design a compelling newspaper ad. Sadly, many local advertisers are greatly confused by what makes a newspaper ad compelling in the first place. Open any local paper and take a look at the ads. Most of them will be nothing more than a larger version of the company’s business card; you know – company name, what they do, contact information.

The late and great advertising executive David Ogilvy once said, “Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything.” It’s not enough to put your company information in the paper, and it’s not enough to have an image of your product front and center. What advertisers need to be focusing on is creating messaging that elicits a direct response from prospects. The business-card-as-advertisement method will do nothing in the way of compelling people to buy what you’re selling.

How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads

Direct Response Advertising to the Rescue

The sole purpose of direct response advertising is to get the reader’s attention, interest, and desire immediately, and then get them to take some form of action. Effective direct response ads get the reader’s attention through a compelling headline. They create interest by manipulating human emotions (in a good way) and touching on the reader’s problems. Desire is then created by offering solutions to those problems and the call-to-action follows through by making that solution highly desirable and an absolute no-brainer.

Direct Response Ad Breakdown

There are various components to an effective direct response ad, but for the purpose of this post, let’s focus on the big three: the headline, the offer and the call-to-action.


Extra! Extra! What makes a compelling headline? Well, let’s first discuss what doesn’t make a compelling headline. We’ve already discussed that a company name does not a compelling headline make. The reader (A.K.A. prospect) could care less what you call yourself; all they want to know is what can you do for them.

The reader will use your headline to decide if they want to read further and know more about your offer. In a way, you could say your headline is an ad for the ad itself and will communicate clearly to the reader that reading the rest of the ad will benefit them in some way. So make sure to craft your headlines with the reader’s problems and ambitions in mind. Don’t know your prospects’ pain and ambitions? Then you need to do more research on your market and come back to the headline when you know more about your audience.


Your offer will never be effective unless the body copy of your ad makes an incredibly convincing case as to why someone should want your product or service. Then and only then should you offer to sell the reader a solution to their problem and at a specific price.

Compelling offers are simple and don’t confuse the reader with too many choices of pricing or components. In order for your offer to be effective, simply state what benefits the buyer receives when they purchase the product or service, what results they can expect because of this purchase, and finally, mention the price at the end.

How to Create Effective Direct Response Newspaper Ads - CTACall-to-Action

This is the RESPONSE in direct response advertising. Your call-to-action must force the reader to respond to your compelling and appealing offer. More often than not an advertiser will create copy that has given all the information necessary to make a buying decision, but in the end, the ad failed to tell the reader exactly how they needed to respond. The call-to-action puts the “How” in “Howdy!” Tell your prospect exactly what you want them to do and be as clear as possible. If you’ve written the rest of your ad right, then you’ve earned your right to sell and a good many of your prospects will buy.

In advertising, nothing else matters but results. Creating a brand may be okay for the big shots with the big ad spend, but for local businesses with tighter budgets, it is more beneficial to create reactions and get responses.


Image credit: Instant Income

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Tags: direct response advertising

Why Print Ads Beat TV Ads Every Time

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

What do you suppose would happen if print advertising and television advertising went head-to-head, or rather, foot-to-foot in the World Cup finals? Print ads would score more goals and beat TV ads hands down, er, feet down.

Here’s why:

Print Ads Have Real Speed

Now I’m not a real soccer fan myself, as you can guess from my faux pas of calling it “soccer” instead of “football.” At any rate, from what I understand of the game, the idea is to get the ball waaaaaay down the field and into the goal, and from what I understand of sports in general, the best and easiest way to do this is by using speed.

Print Ads Have Real SpeedNot only do print ads allow you to get your brand’s message out quickly, they also make it easy to change those ads as quick and often as necessary. Let’s stick with our World Cup analogy and suppose your company sells sporting merchandise. If, over the weekend, team USA wins the World Cup, you can run an ad in Monday’s sports section of the local paper offering championship apparel for sale. TV ads, on the other hand, take far more time to produce and get on the air, so the opportunities to take advantage of news and events that are trending are far fewer.

TV Ads are More Affordable

Producing TV commercials is costly, not to mention the fact that once your costly ad is made, you then need to buy even costlier airtime to get it in front of your audience. Print ads come in a variety of sizes making almost anyone’s budget able to purchase space.

Any Time Exposure

Print ads allow for unlimited “any time” exposure. While TV ads are scheduled and only shown a certain number of times per day, prospects have the potential exposure to print ads at virtually any time. As long as newspapers and magazines will be left on coffee tables, kitchen tables, bus seats and taxi cab seats, your ads can be viewed multiple times by multiple readers.

On top of that, giving out a phone number or web address on a TV commercial will send people into the other room looking for a pen. But how easy is it for people to simply cut out a newspaper ad with all of the vital information right in it? Real easy.

People Just Like Print Ads BetterWhy Print Ads Beat TV Ads Every Time

People have never really much cared for TV ads. In fact, I am certain that is why remote controls were invented, so an individual could flip past the commercials from the comfort of their recliner. And now, with DVRs and streaming video, prospects can ignore TV commercials altogether.

People tend to like print ads, though, because they are non-intrusive. Print media allows readers to have control over when they view the ads, completely eliminating interruptions.

Choice of Location

Oftentimes you have no control over which time slot your TV ad is aired. Handing over big money and hoping for the best ROI – that’s just ASI (ad spend insanity). When it comes to print ads, you have control over where the ad is placed, which allows for the highest chance of visibility and biggest ROI.


Watching television is a very passive experience that many people do while doing something else, for example, talking on the phone, folding laundry or surfing the Internet. Newspaper and magazine readers, on the other hand, are truly focused on the content and engaged with the messaging.

Because of this personal and tactile experience with printed material, print ads build your brand through the credibility of the publication and readers consider your brand as a leader in your industry.


In many ways, print is an ideal advertising medium because it is engaging, creative, available in both large and small numbers, and offers flexible options for all kinds of budgets. If you haven’t incorporated print into your marketing mix, what are you waiting for?


Image credit: Annie LeibovitzBundesliga

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Tags: print advertising, print ads

Why Walter White Would Have Made One Heck of a Media Buyer

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 10:29 AM

I admit, I am coming late to the “Breaking Bad” party, just like I came late to “The Sopranos” party and “Downton Abbey” party. But hey, I arrive eventually. So as I’m watching an episode of Breaking Bad the other night on Netflix (I’m only on season two, so please don’t tell me what happens) it occurs to me Walter White would have made one heck of a media buyer.

Why Walter White Would Have Been a Good Media BuyerI mean, it has been said media buying is an art as much as it is a science – kind of like cooking pure crystal meth, wouldn’t you agree? Great media buyers are experts in their field, have the ability to identify new opportunities, and are fearless negotiators, which is why I posit that Walter would have been great at it.

Here are some other reasons:

He wasn’t afraid to take risks

Walter was a risk taker – he had to be. He had an important goal and he wasn’t afraid to try new things (or get into new trouble) in order to reach that goal.

By the same token, in order to set a client’s brand apart and identify a competitive advantage, buyers must also be open to taking necessary risks by testing new platforms, technology and media. Many buyers stick to safe bets that won’t get them in trouble, but playing it safe never leads to marketing innovation.

Age was on his side

How many times did Walter have to school younger Jessie on the smartest, most logical way to go about cooking and selling crystal meth? Yo, Jessie may have had youthful enthusiasm yo, but it was Walter who had what only age can give you – the ability to think and reason and make smart decisions based on good ol’ life experience.

According to Salary.com, 65% of media buyers in the United States have less than five years of experience, and 28% of them have a year or less. While the majority of these buyers have a natural talent and enthusiasm for the service they provide, there is nothing like working with a media buyer with years of experience behind them, which allows them to make the best decisions on their client’s behalf.

Walter didn’t rush things

Everyone knows cooking crystal meth is an art form that takes time – you simply can’t rush it.Media buyers are patient

When it comes to testing the value of a new media channel, it takes patience. A good media buyer won’t expect a new partner to deliver unreasonable results within unreasonable time limits and with a tiny budget. Good buyers make sure their testing is based on actionable data not a random number of days or amount of ad spend. Patience is necessary when trying to determine which new channels to add to a client’s media portfolio.

He was a great negotiator

Remember when Walt had just shaved his head and he went to speak with that drug lord Tuco to do some major negotiating? Who knew chemistry teachers could be so badass? The only thing bad about my chemistry teacher was his breath.

A good media buyer will also have badass negotiating skills and buying influence in both national and local markets. Since buyers often place ads for several clients at once, it gives them a total spend that is much larger than a single company might bring to the table. This level of spending gives them some real negotiating power when it comes time to talk contracts.

He saw the big picture

While Jessie often had tunnel vision when it came to scaling the business, Walt had an easier time seeing the big picture: the need to independently ‘curate’ ingredients, tap into locations and opportunities for selling, and raise prices on their goods.

Media buyers have the ability to see the big picture in a way that an individual sales rep can’t. The buyer has done critical research and knows their client’s target customers and marketing goals, and can place orders based on meeting their clients advertising needs at the best possible prices.

You may not be able to hire Walter to buy media for you, but you can look for a buyer who is also not afraid of risks, has patience and experience, is a great negotiator and possesses the ability to see the big picture.



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Tags: media buying, media buyer

Print Advertising Trumps Digital Advertising

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 @ 01:54 PM

Pssst... Have you heard the news? Print is dead. If you really believe that I’ve got some old ENRON stock I’d like to sell you. Sure, many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because that’s what people do when something new and shiny comes along. When I got my first Rubik’s Cube for Christmas, I hardly ever played with my Slinky anymore, but that doesn’t mean the Slinky stopped working. It was still very much a dependable toy, yearning for someone to push it off the top stair.print-advertising-trumps-digital-advertising

And print is still a very dependable and necessary component of an ad campaign. In fact, there has been a bit of a resurgence in print advertising because advertisers recognize the fact that, in a crowded online market polluted with banner and display ads, print is a legitimate alternative for branding and engagement.

According to an article on Folio, there have been almost twice as many magazines launched in 2014 (45) as there were in 2013 (23). Indie publishers like Monocle, PORT, and the gentlewoman have gotten into the print game and Newsweek returned to print with a big launch at SXSW. Even large digital publishers like Pando and POLITICO are trying out print for the very first time.

So why this resurgence, and why are so many well-established digital publishers turning to print media for the first time? Because they understand print advertising offers some advantages over digital advertising.

For example:

newspaper-print-advertisingPrint is Tangible

As advanced as technology has become, human beings still have quirks; namely, we like to touch things. A print piece is tangible: a physical thing we can hold on to, flip the pages, dog ear an article we want to come back to. Magazines and newspapers are ‘things’ that stay in houses and offices for months and years while digital ads disappear into cyberspace. Also, it’s very difficult to swat a fly with a digital ad.

Print is Trusted

Let’s face it: the web is littered with pop-ups and banner ads. Add to this digital congestion people’s fear of spam and viruses and you understand why some are simply too weary to click on much of anything. There is no imminent threat in a print ad, unless it’s one of those horrible perfume samples that give me an instant headache. Magazines and newspapers are trusted and because of this, the ads found inside are trusted as well.

Target Marketing

Print media offers highly targeted marketing possibilities. Placing ads in specialty magazines allows you to reach niche audiences while newspapers offer myriad segmentation capabilities.

Print Readers Have BIG Attention Spans

Think about how you normally surf the web: you’ve got five or six tabs open at once, you’re instant messaging one friend while checking out another’s vacation photos on his Facebook page, and the TV’s blaring in the background. Chances are you’re not very focused on or receptive to all the digital advertising you’re coming across. But when people read the newspaper or a magazine, they tend to be focused on what they are reading and only what they are reading.

Folio Magazine reported on a Ball State University study that illustrated when magazines are read by consumers, they are the exclusive medium 85% of the time, meaning, when someone reads a magazine, they are typically not multitasking.

Less Competition

Since a majority of businesses are relying solely on the Internet for their marketing, print publications offer less advertising competition so your ad will shine. And that same print ad may very well have cost you far less because everyone is spending big ad dollars online so print sales reps are more willing to work out deals with advertisers.

print-advertising-newspaperFrequency and Reach

Magazines and newspapers offer a longer lifespan than most other advertising media. They are generally kept for a longer period of time and are passed around between family members, friends and colleagues.

A Dedicated and Loyal Readership

Many advertising avenues are considered intrusions by consumers, but magazines and newspapers attract loyal readers who trust the source and welcome the information provided with open arms and eyes.

“Influentials” are Influenced by Print

According to an MRI Survey of the American Consumer, so-called “influentials,” those who have the power to sway other consumers, are influenced by print, with 61% reporting being influenced by magazines and 53% being influenced by newspapers.

As you can see, print definitely has some advantages over its little brother digital. This isn’t to say digital shouldn’t be a part of your overall marketing strategy. No matter what the mix, print and digital can effectively work together and create a marketing solution that drives online and offline sales. At the end of the day it all comes down to reach, frequency and engagement. Using print advertising to initially engage a prospect then backing up that engagement with digital solutions that enables further interaction will give far better return on investment than using print or digital communications alone.


Images courtesy of Sanja Gjenero, rgbstock.com, gotmesh.org

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Tags: print advertising

Why You Should Include FSIs in Your Next Media Buy

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 @ 11:55 AM

Free standing Inserts, or FSIs for short, are those colorful brochures you find in newspapers that offer everything from sales on electronics to grocery store specials to coupons for gardening products and printing services. Big box stores like Home Depot, Target and Walmart advertise with them because they know firsthand inserts are an effective channel for driving major traffic and generating sales.

If you aren’t currently using FSIs in your marketing, here are some reasons you should consider including them in your next media buy:


Newspaper inserts are not solely used by huge retailers but can be leveraged by any size business because they are very affordable. Consider the significant savings on postage alone (inserts are about 10 times cheaper than traditional direct mail) and you see the potential they have to broaden a brand’s reach at a price that’s “doable.”

Affluent Audience

In a 2011 survey conducted by Ad Age, 86% of Americans with an annual income of at least $100,000 said they read the print version of the newspaper. By using free standing inserts you can get your message in front of an affluent crowd that has a disposable income.

Cross-Channel Results

Insert media are able to drive consumers to multiple pathways based on your campaign’s specific goals. Consumers can reach you by phone, via a website or landing page or by mail – it’s your choice.

Highly Targetable

Inserts allow brands to reach specific consumer segments. You can choose saturation placement or segment your market through ZIP codes or delivery zones.

Extremely High Open Rate

Because inserts are delivered in a well-known and respected source, they have a much better chance of being seen by consumers who trust their local newspapers. Also, the receiving environment of inserts is often less cluttered than the mailbox, making FSIs more effective at delivering brand messages than direct mail.           

free-standing-inserts-FSIsMaximum Impact

Because newspaper inserts offer advertisers category exclusivity, meaning there can be no competitive advertisements included within the same insert space, a brand’s message can have maximum impact on consumers.

An Implied Endorsement from a Trusted Source

Because free standing inserts are included in another company’s communication, there is a high level of trust associated with the partnership. Consumers simply have a more favorable view of inserts than other forms of media because they inherently trust their local newspaper.

Scalable Campaigns

One of the biggest ways advertisers blow through their budget is by rolling out a campaign before it has been thoroughly tested. FSIs are an efficient way to reach consumer segments with scale because you can easily test an insert’s effectiveness at a smaller volume and then increase the volume once you see how well that message has performed.

Highly Measurable Results

Insert media can be easily tracked, measured and analyzed to determine the impact it had on your overall campaign. Advertisers can gauge which newspapers are the most effective, what their cost per acquisition is and direct their ad spend in the successful markets only. If you can’t measure results, how will you know if you’ve reached your objective?

The benefits of using free standing inserts in your marketing are numerous: from offering a phone and web channel response mechanism to providing better tracking and segmenting capabilities, as well as the ability to get your message in front of an affluent audience ready, willing and able to spend their disposable income. If you haven’t incorporated FSIs into your media buying strategy yet, what are you waiting for?



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5 Strategies for Effective Digital Media Planning

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 @ 12:19 PM

Digital media have given advertisers new levels of precision and relevancy and created the potential for deep customer engagement. The Internet is an exciting convergence of classic and new media formats that offer a wealth of channels to choose from and a change in the tracking and accountability of marketing. Today’s advertisers can harness the power of this digital media landscape and drive massive business growth in a way previously unseen. But to do so, a solid and cohesive plan must be developed before any campaign is launched.

Here are five strategies for effective digital media planning:

Start with Traditional Market Research

That’s right. Although the technology – all those digital bells and whistles – continues to change and evolve, the truth is every campaign’s success depends on the data derived from good ol’ market research. Only by uncovering data sets and understanding your customer can you possibly plan on how, 5 Strategies for Effective Digital Media Planningwhen and where you will reach them.

Starting with customer insights allows you to create an image of your ideal consumer. From there you can examine where they go on the web, what they do there and how they behave. Next, consider what your goals are for customer engagement and determine the experience they should have interacting with your brand.

Know What Metrics You’ll Use

The good news is digital media offers you a plethora of metrics to track your campaigns. The bad news is digital media offers you a plethora of metrics to track your campaigns, and figuring out which ones to use can be a bit daunting. Should you gauge your success or failure on impressions and clicks, an array of brand engagement metrics, or some new model that unlocks the specific effect of each media channel?

The selection of metrics should really be developed from your business’s goals of the campaign. Sure, click-throughs will tell you how many people are seeing your ads, but what are they really doing and thinking after they see them? Just because you can literally count something doesn’t mean it should be counted for anything. Focus on your goals and select a set of metrics that may combine data about new leads, visitors and actual sales.

Set Your Campaign Objectives and Make them SMART

The more you focus on your true marketing objectives, the more effectively you can develop the right campaign strategy and select the right formats. Marketing objectives will most likely fall into one of three smart-goals-digital-media-planningcategories: retention, acquisition and brand objectives. Being clear about your objectives will allow you to craft the right message. But let’s be clear about setting objectives – they need to be strong and tangible – which means they need to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. An example of a SMART objective is, “Our goal is to reach 50,000 of our target audience and introduce our new product line in the first week after launch.

Choose the Right Format

Remember how daunting it was to select the right metrics? Well, be prepared to be potentially bewildered by the array of formats that make up the new digital media mix. You may decide to go with banner ads, sponsorships, email marketing or social media marketing, to name a few. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses so you will want to evaluate each with a focus on the relationship between media owner sites, the brand site and other channels.


Integration means much more than just making sure your online ads match your offline ads in messaging and design; it means going further in delivering greater interaction with audiences and looking for ways technology can give your messages greater impact. Savvy advertisers take advantage of the Internet’s power and constantly look for ways the audience can interact with their message.

Digital media provides a rich choice of formats, targeting and messaging. Harnessing this potential means building on the principles of traditional media planning and using new tools, metrics and properties which can deliver your message with greater speed and relevancy. Use the strategies outlined above to increase the effectiveness of the digital media planning process.


Image credit: Creative Commons Intent by Michael Coghlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Tags: digital media planning

How to Place Newspaper Ads like a Pro

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 10:54 AM

Despite what you may have heard in recent years, advertising in the newspaper is still a highly effective way to get your message in front of your target demographic. In fact, in a 2013 online survey conducted by Nielsen, on behalf of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), it was revealed that American adults rate newspapers – both the print and online versions – as the most effective advertising source How to Place Newspaper Ads like a Probeating radio, television, and yes, even the holy grail: the Internet. The survey specifically pointed out that local newspaper advertising topped the ratings for likelihood to notice ads and make a purchasing decision.

So great, newspaper ads still work. But if you’re like a lot of CMOs and small business owners, you don’t know the ins and outs of the newspaper advertising world. You also don’t have an unlimited advertising budget. When you buy ads, you’ve got to make sure you see a return on that investment.

With those two points in mind, here are some things you should consider so you can place newspaper ads like a pro:

How Exactly Will You Buy Your Ad?

To get the most out of your budget you’ll need to decide how you’ll buy your ads. There are essentially two ways to buy newspaper ad space: you can either commit to spending a specified dollar amount over a period of time (typically one year), or pay according to how frequently your ad appears in the paper.

NOTE: The first option allows you to set a yearly advertising budget and use it as you see fit. The more you commit to, the lower your ad space will cost. The savings may turn out to be only $0.25 per ad, but that can really add up over a year’s time.

How Will Your Ad Actually Look?

When you decide to move forward and buy ad space you’ll be shown your “proof,” which is typically just your ad on a piece of white paper. Sure, it looks great on that piece of paper, but how will it actually look in the newspaper surrounded by other ads and news stories?

Here’s what you do – cut the proofed ad out of that white piece of paper and paste it over an existing ad of the same size in a recent issue of the paper. How does it look? Is it easy to read? Does it stand out from the crowd? Is it too big? Too small? Often your ad will look great as a proof, but you’ll find it looks horrible when it actually gets printed. This step will save you the pain of learning that too late.

To Color or Not to Color?

splash-of-redIs it worth it to invest in color? Industry estimates vary, but color can improve response rate quite a bit. And it doesn’t have to be a full color ad; just a splash of blue or red can draw the reader’s eye to it. So, if your budget allows, play with color and see for yourself if you don’t get a higher response.

Consider Using a Media Buying Agency

Placing advertising has become such a complex endeavor that hiring a professional media buyer is often the smartest and most cost-effective choice. It takes quite a bit of thought and time to make the right media placement decisions, and an expert will know how to spend your valuable advertising dollars judiciously.

Another reason to consider using a media buyer is because even the most well-researched and effectively created campaigns, placed correctly, and at the lowest possible cost may not always generate the desired response. When this happens you need to have a system in place that can precisely gauge what went wrong on the most granular level. A good media buyer knows how to hold the media accountable for results and isn’t shy about doing so on your behalf.

Buying ad space in the newspaper can be a challenge as well as a gamble if not done properly. Hopefully these tips give you some insight so you can purchase newspaper ads like a pro.


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Tags: newspaper advertising, newspaper ads

Five in Five: Interview with Advertising Leader Janice Hermsen

Posted by Hannah Hill on Thu, May 29, 2014 @ 11:33 AM

Mediaspace Solutions’ Five in Five interview series highlights individuals in the advertising and marketing field and their path to success. Interviewees answer five questions, varying in scope, and it is our hope that you are able to take something away from each post in the series. Subscribe to our RSS Feed so you can stay up to date on ‘What’s On Tap’ and be notified when the next Five in Five interview is published.

Today’s interview features Janice Hermsen. Janice is an entrepreneur, publisher and writer based in Reno, Nevada. Planning and marketing are top priorities in Hermsen’s activities and she helps her clients, both businesses and individuals, achieve their goals.

Five in Five: Interview with Advertising Leader Janice Hermsen

1. What's the one mobile app you can't live without?  

My PayPal Here app is invaluable at the many offsite book signings we do at LeRue Press. If we can’t collect the money, all the marketing and advertising in the world is useless. Then to spread the word during our events, the Facebook and Twitter apps run a close second. There are so many good apps; it’s hard to choose just one.

2. How do you get your news?

As a columnist and radio host, I have many sites that feed into my email with press releases from around the world. In addition, I watch television, listen to the radio during my commute to and from work (when I’m not listening to an audio book) and read blurbs from the Internet as I see them on a friend’s Facebook wall. Surprisingly often, my Facebook page is the first place I see a story.

3. What is the toughest lesson you've learned in your career?

Diversify or die when it comes to business. With the recent recession, it has proven to be a lesson I’m glad I learned before it came around again. Through diversification, our printing business expanded to offer more products and added publishing (both self-publishing and traditional). The first time I encountered the need for diversification was in the early 80s. I was selling real estate at the time in a very tough economy with skyrocketing interest rates.

4. What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

I love Raisinets. I don’t eat them often anymore, but if I’m willing to splurge on something sweet, Raisinets are one of my favorite treats. My other guilty pleasure is watching cheesy disaster films (Airport, Earthquake, you know, the end of the world type movies) while I eat my Raisinets! My secret is out!

5. How do you spend the first hour of your day?

The first hour of my day is spent exercising and emailing, usually all at the same time. I love to walk but when I can’t, I use my husband’s Gazelle (that I said he should NOT buy) while checking my email and watching TV (usually news). I recently purchased a tablet so it will be a lot easier to do both these tasks at once. I find this is the most important part of my day to prep and organize, then hit the ground running.

That concludes our Q&A with Janice. Check out the entire Five in Five series here and come back soon so you don’t miss the next one.


Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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