Westwood One

5 Strategies for a Healthy Media Plan

Guest post by Bob McCurdy, Founder Uppingthevolume, with Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer, Cumulus | Westwood One

May 17, 2016

I was channel-surfing the other day and came across a show where the host was giving tips on how to live a healthier life via a commitment to a balanced diet. To paraphrase, her advice was:

1. Don’t go overboard. Don’t overindulge.

2. Don’t skip meals.

3. Strive for a balanced diet.

4. Take smaller portions.

5. Limit the alcohol.

These same balanced dieting principles could also apply to any 2016 media plan.

1. Don’t overindulge on one advertising medium: over-investing causes diminishing returns.

A good meal is composed of several courses, just like a good media mix. Overdoing it in one medium, no matter how effective the medium, is not good.  

The chart from the Advertising Research Foundation’s “How Advertising Works” study shows the diminishing ROI impact of spending too much in digital. The more digital spend, the lower the ROI. Too much digital investment can actually cause sales to decline!

This is good news for radio industry, showing that it’s important to continue to have radio in the media mix even while investigating digital platforms. 

When tapping into various media, an advertiser reaches the heavy users of different media instead of just the heavy users of a single medium. More media channels purchased results in greater reach. This increases the chances of reaching consumers in the market for an advertiser’s product.

A buffet of different media — radio, TV, digital, etcetera — is more effective than a full plate of one medium.

2. Don’t “skip meals,” or go “dark” and skip weeks of advertising.

Consumer purchases never stop, nor should advertising. If advertising pauses, the hiatus should be as short as possible.

Each week customers cycle in and out of the market. Miss consumers when they’re in the market, and you could be out of luck for years. Some sales are lost due to too little frequency — but more are lost due to invisibility, or no frequency at all.

Erwin Ephron, the father of modern media planning, coined the term “recency.” He explained it is “the common sense idea that advertising is most effective when it reminds people about brands they know, when they happen to need the product.

Radio is a particularly effective tool for advertisers, as it provides mass reach, in order to get as many people in the market for a product or service at any given time.Radio also helps advertisers reach consumers close to the point of purchase, often when they are in their cars running errands or commuting.  

3. Strive for a balanced media plan: 20-30% digital, 70-80% traditional.

Both traditional and digital media bring unique attributes to an advertising campaign. Mobile, search, social, radio, TV, out of home, and print contribute reach and frequency and work well together.

The Advertising Research Foundation “How Advertising Works” study found that advertisers need to diversify their media budgets. Advertising Age reports:

“Advertisers are erring by shifting money among media platforms rather than spending more to spread it more widely, the group has concluded, based on what ARF CEO Gayle Fuguitt called the most extensive industry study in more than a quarter century.”

If the Internet was one of the five food groups, it should only account for 20-30% of media calories, according to the Advertising Research Foundation.  For a broad target demographic of persons 18+, the ARF recommends a 78% traditional, 22% digital mix. For an 18-34 Millennial target, the recommendation is 71% traditional media and 29% digital. 

4. Take smaller portions — put a little bit of your budget across media.

The Advertising Research Foundation “How Advertising Works” study showed that the more media used, the greater the payback/ROI.

The return on investment increases +19% with the addition of a second medium to the mix, +23% with the addition of the third medium, +31% with the addition of the fourth, and +35% with the addition of the fifth. 

Don’t be digitally “overserved” with your media budget. Digital drunkenness is approaching epidemic proportions and should be avoided at all costs.

The Advertising Research Foundation study shows a balanced approach of traditional and digital media will produce the best results.

Marketers with the best media plans don’t just belong to the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), the ARF (the Advertising Research Foundation), and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies). They also belong to the school of thought of the metaphorical BMAA — the Balanced Media Approach Association.

Bob McCurdy is the former President of Katz Marketing Solutions and is the founder of Uppingthevolume, a leading sales coach for media sellers. Bob can be reached at bob@uppingthevolume.com

Pierre Bouvard is the Chief Insights Officer of Westwood One | Cumulus. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.