The days when it makes sense to fit media buys to a media plan are coming to an end. That's a bold statement, I know, but hear me out.
A more sophisticated media planner, operating under the most cutting-edge and comprehensive marketing perspective, will craft a media plan that is tied to the larger business strategy. That way they maximize business outcomes rather than just optimizing media buys.
This approach entails looking for KPIs beyond just the typical marketing metrics. Rather than having to figure out how many of what type of impressions to buy at what cost, the buyer focuses on articulating business goals through the filter of marketing.
Sophisticated advertisers no longer prioritize metrics like CPM, CTR, or CVR. Nor do they mix in lower-cost inventory to bring down a plan's effective CPM. Instead, they set their sights on marketing outcomes that lead to sales.
The sophisticated media buyer will add to the expertise they have today. They will know what's available in the market, what pricing should be, how to balance factors such as time in view, context, and audience targeting, and how to bolster a brand's reputation.
They will also use the latest technologies to mitigate frictions caused by competing factors that may come into play, and the requirements of different distribution systems (social, search, display, etc.), devices and screens.
They will use sophisticated analysis to determine what's most cost-effective. For any given campaign, placements that are more expensive may bring in more sales or the converse may be true, leading them to purchase inexpensive impressions in greater quantities.
And they will learn to reap benefits of the newest enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to meet these changes and drive the best outcomes for the brands they are representing.
A New Kind of Thinking
Some of the steps taken in outcome-driven media strategies may seem counter-intuitive. AI algorithms may run tests and find that it makes sense to buy impressions that previously would have been avoided.
They may buy more impressions, or fewer, adjust from one medium to another, or even one type of buy over another. At its best, the marketer will have access to every type of relevant impression and be able to move quickly among them to balance and counterbalance.
Rather than fitting media plans to rigid preconceptions, sophisticated advertisers need to have the acumen to enunciate their goals through the lens of global business strategy, and then let their marketing partners work towards them, ever more efficiently.
Focusing on business goals means focusing on the outcomes that drive those goals, which inevitably means more sales. Sharing this global perspective all the way down the chain is a fresh way of approaching a fundamentally familiar task. But new technology, along with a new generation of consumers, demands new modes of interaction. The sophisticated advertiser understands this.