Integrated Media Planning: What It Is and How to Adopt it In Your Marketing Strategy
A few months ago, while I was driving to the airport, I saw a billboard for Kim Kardashian’s company, SKIMS.
Then, a week or so later, I was watching Instagram stories, and I saw some influencers posting reviews for the new shapewear.
The next week, while I was watching E!, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” came on, and Kim was shown modeling for a SKIMS photoshoot.
I had one of those moments where I thought “SKIMS is showing up everywhere!”
That’s because the company has an integrated media planning strategy.
A few months after these events, when I was shopping for shapewear for my wedding, guess what brand I thought of? (Spoiler alert: it was SKIMS.)
That’s why, as a marketer, having an integrated media plan is important for your marketing strategy.
Below, let’s dive into what an integrated media plan looks like and how to adopt it in your marketing strategy.
Integrated Media Planning
If you’re creating a marketing campaign, you know that success relies on knowing your audience so you can reach them on the right platforms and deliver the most effective messaging.
That’s where integrated media planning comes in. Essentially, integrated media planning is the process you’ll go through when you’re considering various media platforms you want to use in a marketing campaign. With an integrated media plan, you’ll use several forms of media, from traditional to digital platforms.
When you start this process, you have to understand the goals of your company, become an expert in the product, and truly understand the market.
Basically, an integrated media plan is a blueprint for a marketing campaign.
An integrated media plan answers questions like “Who is the target audience?” and “What medium will reach this audience?”
For example, if you’re targeting millennials, you might consider Instagram and Twitter for your media plan. However, if you’re targeting Gen X, maybe you’re thinking that a combination of radio and Facebook might work best.
Ultimately, an integrated media plan will use a multichannel approach. This means that your plan will include a mix of traditional and digital methods such as radio, TV, billboards, social media, streaming commercials, search engine marketing, email marketing, events, or partnerships.
However, you’re not just choosing between different channels, but also different types of media. For instance, you might include paid, owned, and earned media. Your marketing campaign might include a paid ad, earned media coverage on the news, or owned media in the form of social media posts.
Additionally, a media planner should consider when and how frequently content will show up. This might vary depending on the platform. Perhaps you’ll post to Instagram stories around 5-7 p.m. when your audience is home from work. Or, you’ll plan a radio spot for the morning, around 6-9 a.m. when your audience is commuting.
Either way, deciding when and how often a piece of content will appear is an important aspect of an integrated media plan.
Overall, it all boils down to your goals — what are you trying to achieve through your integrated marketing campaign? That’s how you’ll choose what channels you want to be present on.
Your integrated media plan will incorporate information gained from your research — i.e. the knowledge of your product, target audience, and the media landscape.
Your integrated media plan is a detailed strategy to achieve your goals.
So, you might be asking yourself, “How does a media planner make these decisions?”
A media planner might make this determination based on buyer personas, competitor analysis, reviews, and social listening.
But, what’s the process of creating an integrated media plan?
Below, we’ve outlined five steps to creating an integrated media plan:
1. Figure out your goals.
Before you can start planning your integrated media approach, you have to know your goals.
Just like any marketing campaign, you should have SMART goals written down so you can develop a strategy.
For example, perhaps you want to reach a certain amount of people in a certain amount of time. Or maybe you’re just looking to increase brand awareness among a new market.
No matter what it is, write down your goals and objectives, so you can track your performance.
2. Decide your target market.
If your company has a buyer persona, or perhaps even a few, then this might be easy for you. Or maybe you’re deciding between which persona you’re going to target for a certain campaign. Either way, your personas should guide your media plan.
However, if you don’t have a target buyer persona, then now is the time to create one. Your buyer persona will include demographic information such as income, education, and gender. But it should also include pain points and goals.
Understanding your target market means knowing what’s important to your audience, what their life is like, and what problems they have.
Ultimately, you should know who you want to purchase your product so you can deliver personalized content.
Also, your buyer persona might tell you what type of media your audience likes to consume and the type of content they like.
To make this process easier, think about your customer journey. What are the touchpoints? Figuring out this information should help you develop your integrated media plan.
3. Choose various media platforms to disseminate your campaign.
This is the bread and butter of integrated media planning. This is the time where you’ll decide where to distribute your marketing campaign.
Do you want to include social media, TV, radio, organic search, and blogging in your strategy?
Ultimately, you should make this decision based on research on your target market. You should have answered questions such as “Where does my audience want to consume content?” and “What type of content do they want to consume?”
For example, your audience might prefer short-form videos to long-form videos. Or perhaps they like reading a blog more than seeing a picture on Instagram. Either way, you should strike a balance between traditional and digital methods.
Ultimately, your integrated media plan should be audience-centric.
4. Produce the creative.
Once you know your goals, your target market, and most importantly, what type of content you’re going to create, it’s time to produce the creative for your campaign.
Write the copy, design the graphics, and take the pictures. Your creative elements should follow your brand guidelines and tell a story about who you are as a company.
To keep your workload easy, you might consider creating adaptable marketing assets that can be used for several channels.
5. Execute and analyze.
Now that it’s all said and done, it’s time to analyze your approach. Answer questions like, “Which channels worked best?” and “Did I strike the right balance between various media platforms?”
Once you’re armed with this information, you can incorporate it into your future campaigns.
However, don’t forget to let your strategy play out. Don’t switch it up so quickly that you don’t know how it performed over time. Some campaigns include both short-term and long-term strategies and goals, so it’s important to see the impact before changing it out.
The best marketing campaigns almost always include an integrated media plan. You should have a balance between digital and traditional marketing tactics. After all, the omnichannel experience is what customers expect and want. Marketing is all about delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time, and that’s what integrated media planning is all about.