Media Updates:
Media Brief

How good is the media brief you give your media planner?
Media planning is like any other business process, the end product is always reflective of the quality of the input (GIGO). As David Ogilvy once said "give me the creative license of a tightly defined brief". The more focused your brief is, the more likely your planner is going to deliver an effective and innovative media solution for your approval.
An important mandate of the MDC (Media Director's Circle) is to continually encourage and uplift the standards of the media planning profession. As our market fragments and the consumers become more difficult to reach, so the media selection process is becoming more complex and time consuming There is also increasing pressure on this discipline for measurability and accountability. We live in a marketing environment of tight economic circumstances, and marketers are increasingly questioning the effectiveness and value they purchase with their advertising rand.

As the bulk of most marketing budgets is invested in media exposure, it certainly makes sense to guide your media planner as best as possible through the briefing process. This way, your media investment has a better chance of achieving the desired impact within a competitive marketing context, with as little wastage as possible.

Here is a checklist to help guide your thinking process in distilling a brief down to the essence of what you wish to achieve:

General marketing questions of use to planners:
What are your major distribution channels
Who are your key competitors
List your and your competitor's market shares (by value and volume) over last 3 years
What are the awareness levels for your brand and the identified competitors
What are your brand's strengths and weaknesses, relative to your selected strategy competitors
What is the product purchase cycle
Any seasonal/geographical biases

Key objectives, why the brief?:
Is this a launch or a reminder campaign
What is the nature of the communication you want e.g. brand reminder, promotion, direct response etc.
What is the problem that needs solving e.g. is it an awareness problem, or do you want to drive sales short term, or do you want to heavy up awareness in the face of increased competition, etc. Or do you require a tactical "one-off" e.g. to make a statement of some nature

Target market, who must you communicate with?:
Does any research exist which will help your planner to understand your consumer better - demographics, psychographics, user studies, etc.
Are you going to talk to existing users of the product e.g. increase usage from once per week to twice per week
Or must trial be promoted e.g. could be to get new consumers to try the product or service
Do you wish to focus on a single target market, or more than one. If so, what is the priority, based on the task and budget in hand
Do you need to talk internally to staff, before launching a campaign to the specified target market

Budget, what can you afford to spend?:
Are there any existing media contracts or commitments
If you are specifying the budget, then how much to you want to allocate for media exposure only, or is the budget inclusive of production, prizes and other elements
If not, can your planner propose a budget e.g. based on competitive spend, or whatever level it takes to "stand out" within a particular competitive set, and/or within a particular medium

Timing, what is the urgency?:
Is your need more immediate, tactical e.g. do you need to be in media by Monday (then certain media are not candidate options)
Or do you have longer term objectives in mind e.g. brand building. But do you have the luxury of time to produce a campaign which may involve media types where longer lead times
What period of time are you looking at e.g. three months, or a full fiscal
Do you need a teaser or launch phase of the campaign

"Mandatories", are there any?:
Are there any givens e.g. overseas creative that must be used or adapted, or maybe certain media types are "forbidden", or can new creative be generated
Do you know which media have worked for you before, in the same circumstances

Time frame for delivery of results?:
Do results need to be directly demonstrable e.g. must the communication include a response mechanism
Or will some other research need be put in place to measure results (tracking study)

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