'Tis the Season for Media Buying

 - December 18, 2013, 11:00 AM

It’s that time of year again—time to relax for the holidays, cuddle up next to the fire and think about how you want to spend your marketing budget for the coming year. Media buying can be stressful, since you need to achieve sizable results when spending the company’s dollar. First, you must determine what you want out of your marketing campaign. That’s the easy part. Second, you have to figure out how you will accomplish the goals of that campaign. Each campaign will probably have more than one goal, but keep in mind that it’s wise to bundle your media buying in order to receive higher discounts. This is like shopping on Black Friday, minus the crowds.

Here are five marketing goals you might have, along with tips on how to accomplish them via your media buying:

1. Goal: Branding

What to buy: So you want to get your name out in the industry as a leader in your field? You can accomplish this goal with big ads in the right media outlets. First, though, do your homework. Which publication reaches your target audience? Do you want to go print or online or both? Find the distribution numbers and demographics that you are comfortable with and put your name in those publications as big as your budget allows with a print or banner advertisement. Get creative with inserts or online splash ads. Obviously, great ad artwork is important to any branding campaign. 

2. Goal: ROI (return on investment)

What to buy: If your bosses approve a big budget for your marketing campaign, they will want to see equally big results. The easy way to measure ROI is to buy online ads so you can count “clicks.” This is a great way to measure whether your campaign worked or needs to be improved. Another way to measure ROI is to create print ads with a call to action. This is done frequently in the business-to-consumer industry, though it might prove a little trickier in the business-to-business environment. Be creative with your call to action. QR codes are popular in the ROI world.

3. Goal: Lead Generation

What to buy: Sometimes a marketing campaign’s goal is as simple as getting a few sales prospects. The most popular way marketers are generating leads today is through white papers. These are typically reports or guides about a specific subject that educate or solve a problem and are distributed online. With your subject, you can engage your target audience and ask readers for their information before they read the white paper, creating more targeted leads in your database. You see this a lot with e-books, as it is a way to determine exactly who is reading your content and determine whether they represent potential sales leads. If budget is a concern, try a PPL (pay per lead) program to maximize the efficiency of your campaign.

4. Goal: Website Impressions

What to buy: The obvious answer here is online banner ads. If they’re powerful, they can be a great way to get people to your website. Also, e-newsletters are a solid opportunity to get “clicks” to your website. You can find a target audience and have your ads sent straight to readers’ email inboxes. A new phenomenon is buying ads in print publications’ tablet editions. It is estimated that 50 percent of all computers sold in 2014 will be tablets. That means we must evolve to reach tablet users. Tablet edition ads can be interactive and can allow readers to click through to your website. It is inexpensive to supplement any print ad with a matching tablet ad, and doing so can create website impressions along with measurable ROI.

5. Goal: Make a Splash at Tradeshows

What to buy: Especially in the B-to-B world, purchasing exhibit space at tradeshows can yield dividends, though it can be frustrating if the traffic to your booth doesn’t reflect the marketing dollars you’ve spent. If you invest a little extra to announce your presence at the show, it can pay off exponentially with sales leads and exposure. You can purchase advertisements through the show itself or through show dailies. The publisher of any show daily will also have e-newsletters or web pages dedicated to the reporting of the event. Advertising in these outlets can give you the exposure to the target audience you deemed valuable when you decided to exhibit.