Media Through Paid Channels

Ensuring the 3Rs of Media Through Paid Channels

A few weeks ago, we talked about our agency restructure to focus on Paid, Owned and Earned media, with promise of more details on each individual discipline.

The purpose of this restructure was to ensure the customer — or, rather, the client’s customer — is always at the forefront of what we do and how we communicate.

Clients – and agencies – always have a vision of what will make an impact.  A highly visible placement, such as a digital takeover splash page or the back cover of a magazine, can be tempting. But we are not the customer. What is the right way to reach them? Just because there is the potential for a lot of eyeballs, doesn’t mean they’re the right ones.

Planning for Paid channels is just as important as the negotiating and buying process. Following are the three key tenets that lead our Paid team’s customer-first approach to media planning.

Right Person

First and foremost, Paid media needs to appear where it has the best chance to reach the target audience. But who are they? Before they embark on a media plan, the Paid team asks ”what data do we have to clearly locate the right audience for the message?” We prioritize these data-driven methods:

  • 1st Party Data: Data collected or owned by the client with which we’re working, including customer data, sales data, sales leads and prospects, competitive and market share data, website analytics, etc.  
  • 2nd Party Data: Another source’s 1st party data about your customers. This includes lists rented or purchased for marketing needs.
  • 3rd Party Data:  Information aggregated from multiple sources by an entity that doesn’t have a relationship with customers but that provides scale not available with 1st party data

Right Time

Once we’ve identified the current and prospective customers, our Paid team looks at when customers will be the most receptive to our clients’ messages. Today’s media is much more permission-based, asking customers to engage, and timing of this request is vital to success.

We ask a lot of questions to identify that ideal opportunity to engage:

  • Which media channels dominate the customer’s time? 
  • How do the customer’s media use habits shift during the day? The year?
  • What purchasing cycles are apparent in the customer’s behavior?
  • How are current economic conditions impacting customer expenditures?

Right Place

The third component that is vital to any media planning process is determining where customers will be. For example, a few decades ago, just about every noon news broadcast in rural areas included the daily farm report. That’s when farmers almost always came in for dinner. As farmers’ schedules became more erratic, noon farm reports went away as farmers were watching less. Some questions that help us determine the right place are:

  • Which channels does the customer use to stay informed? Which do they rely on to make decisions?
  • In the always-connected environment, is the target audience depending on mobile for personal or professional use?  
  • Are the media channels designed for this customer pursuing a digital-first publishing approach?
  • How does the customer’s use of multiple media channels (web sites, TV, print, social, etc.) contribute to fragmentation of the core audience? 

This is an overview of our approach to putting the customer first in Paid Media. Every customer-first campaign manifests itself in paid channels differently, based on how they are shaped by objectives and strategy. But when we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and follow the data, we can always find the perfect intersection of our message with their needs.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts when we’ll talk more about our Owned and Earned teams. We’ll talk about how they are different from the conventional Creative and PR departments, especially when it comes to content development.


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