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Guru Search Results: 239 matches were found

Monday, July 08, 2013 #8863
how to leverage on sponsorship difference between media strategy and channel planning how do we engage consumers on media platform apart from spot placement benefits of sponsorship package and return on investment

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 08, 2013 ):
There is an interesting piece regarding "channel planning," here.

Channel planning goes outside media strategy and the Guru's scope.

Sponsorships which may include displays of logos are an example of engaging consumers aprat form spot placement. Product placement (Inserting product use and images into programs is another example.

Benefits of sponsorship packages and ROI and a matter of negotiation, experience and goals.

The first consideration is consumer engagement with the sponsored event or vehicle.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 #8857
What’s are tiers of TV GRPs? For Tier 1 cable (TNT, TBS, USA), Tier 2 (Travel Channel, TLC), Tier 3 (Style, WE TV), and Broadcast Nets (Fox, CBS, NBC, etc) • Poor: • Fair: • Good: • Excellent:

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 13, 2013 ):
Your query seems to be missing several points.

What are your quality standards?

What do TRPs have to do with "poor" or "good?"

What are your goals / targets/ costs?

Friday, March 29, 2013 #8833
What is RF(Reach/Frequency)Media Planning? I have been meaning to find some data on it but couldnt do so! Can you please explain the RF planning process and how is it different from conventional media planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 29, 2013 ):
RF Media Planning is not a standardized concept.

The term implies a planning approach weighting Reach and Frequency goals above all other considerations. An interesting article is found at

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 #8785
I am frequently asked by clients "What is the most effective advertising medium for my ad dollars?" My answer is always - it depends... on your message, your objective, etc... Is there credible research that you rely on to answer this question in a more concrete fashion?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 07, 2012 ):
No, your answer is exactly what the Guru would say. The only thing to add is a longer list of what the choice depends on; reach goals, DR history, media mix possibel, etc

Thursday, October 18, 2012 #8777
I am new to on-line buying. I know there's a very different negotiating scenario than traditonal media's discussion of CPP and reach. What's the best way to describe your buying goals to a digital seller?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 21, 2012 ):
First, think through your overall campaign goals. Are you building awareness or generating traffic to build ecommerce sales? Or some intermediate idea.

Are you focused on reach, which might require the biggest, broadest sites or will you seek your best prospect in very narrowly targeted environments?

Is your offer so good that simple cheap impressions tonnage is your best bet? Or is your brand so upscale that where you advertise is most crucial?

In simplest terms, size of audience, price of audience, kind of audience, uniqueness of audience are the descriptors your vendors need to know.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 #8764
steps towards planning digital media

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 03, 2012 ):
See the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan.

Obviously certain aspects of digital have their own specific metrics to consider, one your goals and strategies are set.

Friday, September 28, 2012 #8763
I am working on a spot CPG plan. I have determined the best opportunity markets based on BDI/CDI analysis where I have weighted the BDI and CDI according to marketing goals. Now I want to incorporate CPPs to determine the best & most affordable markets.I knowI could weight the CPPs & incorporate it into my analysis - but I'm just not sure how. Hoping you can help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 29, 2012 ):
The CPP of a market is the CPP. It can be converted to CPM. CPP ÷ 1% of population = CPM.

Your weighted CDI/BDI presumably yields a market importance index which can tell you how to divide all the impressions you can afford among the markets: [ (index X market pop) ÷ total pop = % of impressions to deliver to the market].

Friday, August 10, 2012 #8745
I am planning a series of 10-day flights to support attendance at different events in the Top 20 markets. What is the best mix of points for TV, Cable, Radio, Online and OOH to achieve a 70 reach, 5.5 effective frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 10, 2012 ):
There are too many "ifs" here; you need to build and compare several options. The Guru can't do your media plans. And what does "best" mean to you?

If we assume best simply means cheapest, think about local cable and OOH. OOH gets high reach and frequency very easily and cheaply. In fact, you would probably get past your reach and frequency goals before you know it. But 10 day flights of OOH are difficult to place and manage. Further, message communication may be more important than price or need to be balanced against price, arguing for inclusion of TV, for example.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 #8740
Hi Guru, What is a good rule of thumb to generate a copy rotation recommendation? If we have a priority message, is there a level of TRPs or R/F that we'd have to reach in order to ensure our messaging was effective? Any best practices?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 25, 2012 ):
Click here to see over 200 past Guru responses about goal setting

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 #8726
Does anyone have research or evidence of what makes a successful Radio Remote Broadcast? We would like to encourage more use by a client who is looking for back-up research. Alas, no research seems available at Radio Advertising Bureau or Radio Marketing Bureau... Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 19, 2012 ):
You are most likley to find anecdotal evidence, than solid "research."

The definition of success is too variable. Is the goal simply engaging the consumers or generating direct sales?

Is crowd size the metric or follow-up action?

Start with defining the goals.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 #8592
What do u mean by duplication it good or bad....learnt that when u calculate reach you have to consider t duplication...say for example if my reach is 30% for publisher a..and 30% for publisher b...then reach is nit 60% but its less...but this is which reach...reach@1 or reach @2+..3+...also u mentioned that duplication happens between medium say same ad in print and tv....but this is an intended campaign called 360communication...then how come duplication is not favarable here.....thks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 25, 2012 ):
Duplication is neither good nor bad in itself, it is simply a factor of media audiences which must be considered.

We are promarily discussing 1+ reach, but duplication is a factor in all reach calculation beyond single ads.

If your goal is to optimize reach, as in some, but not all campaigns, then you would want to minimize duplication. If your goals specify a minimum frequency to reinforce your message then dupication would be managed differently,

Spreading the campaign across more different publications, programsor genres minimizes duplication. Concentrating within those increases duplication / frequencyand lessens reach.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 #8553
Guru.hi its nice to hear from u always.. Im from client side...for me its always asked can t effectiveness of tv and print campaign be there any benchmark which can be any method to quantify it ...thks a lot

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2012 ):
Effectiveness can only be judged against goals. Is your goal sales, awareness, purchase intent or what?

Then you can set up research to compare. Otherwise. you set communications goals in terms of standards you can evaluate from models, like reach or frequency, etc, and evaluate the plan's performance

Thursday, October 20, 2011 #8253
Dear Guru, When planning an advertising TV campaign, is there any benefit to running 9-10 daily spots for just three days per week (alternating the days every week, ex: Mon-Wed-Fri, then Tue-Thu-Fri, etc) as opposed to 5-6 spots/day all five week days? The goal is to reach as many contacts within my client's target audience as possible and achieve a high enough frequency. The client for whom I am planning this is pretty well-established worldwide, but is less known/just entering the market in the particular region where this TV campaign would run. Also, is the average of 14 GRPs/month (based on 30-second ads) too minuscule to even make it a worthwhile campaign given the above goals?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 21, 2011 ):
Even at worthwhile levels, the schedules you are comparing would not be likely to produce significantly different results. However, at a mere 14 GRP per month, there is probably a much more effective use of the money than this plan.

Monday, August 22, 2011 #8191
Dear Guru: I'm working with a new agency account exec that sold broadcast for years. It's near impossible to get him to think past a radio package/promotion. Strategic planning/flowcharting and budgeting don't happen. Do you have any suggestions? One thought is constructing some sort of "buying brief" he'll have to do before opening the job and meeting with media. Perhaps an electric cattle prod will help him stay on procedure (kidding).

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 22, 2011 ):
You don't say, but the Guru assumes your role is media planning/buying.

Let's assume the AE is not in charge of your agency. A PLANNING brief is a very good idea. The Guru is quite accustomed to relying on these.

The AE's role should be to advise the media team of marketing goals and strategies including budget. From this, the media team can build a proper plan. An AE, especially one whose background is only media sales is unequipped and unqualified to set media strategies. AE's who think they know because they have an AE title are dangerous. The cattle prod is not an unrealistic plan B.

For ideas about your "brief" look at the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan to see what account exec input is useful and to document what your conributions will be.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 #8148
Hi Guru, as a brand manager in a leading packaged goods company, am a bit let down that so many media decisions are based on thumbrules than on validated quanitiative data. Are there any quantitative tools as definitive as LINK is for ad quality testing, that can help answer critical media planning questions below to maximise media dollars? 1/ Effective Frequency: Ostrow tool is not validated, application is highly judgemental, doesnt account for fact that exposure

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 24, 2011 ):
First off, let's consider your own creative-oriented bias here, no offense meant.

Within ad quality measurement there are some measures that are quantitative and within media planning there are some measures that are solidly quantitative. The problem is how the quantitative measures can "accurately" guide marketing action.

Just because you can use proven methods to reliably measure ad quality in terms of recall or intent to purchase and use that to select the better piece of copy, does not mean there is a better way to plan a copy pool, or forecast advertising results except with your own application of judgement to use of these tools.

Similiarly, media planners have identified solidly measurable, quantitative metrics like GRP, frequency and reach that, at least directionally, have known impact on plan success. Highly experienced media professionals like Joe Ostrow have built logical ( and, importantly, repeatable ) approaches to integrating these metrics with other marketing factors, such as competitve pressure, brand awareness, market share, category interest, etc.

Each Brands' unique combinations of market factors, ad quality, and goals, make it virtually impossible for a single organization to collect enough sets of media plans / marketing backgrounds / sales results to build a simple, proven model to guide all media decisions reliably. For a given set of results in the quantitative tools and a specific set of advertsing goals, the tools should reliably distinguish better choices. Advertinsg goals handed over to the media planners should guide many of these decisions. Budget vs reach goals versus marketing timing issues; branding vs retail promotion, etc. are key controlling factors in setting :30/:15 mix as well as timing of introduction of different copy. Experience, guided by logic and available quantitative tools are the best we are likely to do, in the Guru's opinion.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 #8106
Our client wants to use radio to build brand awareness for a packaged goods brand. Currently the brand has extremely low awareness (basically a new product) in a category that has relatively low interest. What levels of 'average frequency' and 'effective 3+ frequency' should I set as goals so we can significantly increase top of mind awareness?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 16, 2011 ):
FIrst, consider that average reach will be the outside limit of ad awareness. The reach at 3+ is an even more relevant limit to ad awareness, The current awareness level also establishes a floor.

Since you are limiting yourself to radio, set a 3+ reach goal. Average frequency will just have to fall naturally out of that.

So, you have an unknown brand in a category that few people care about or about which most people care very little. Do your best to select stations that cover the right people at the right time (if any) and build as much effective reach as possible among their audience. Ideally select stations covering most of your potential purhchasers.

Thursday, June 02, 2011 #8039
media planning

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 02, 2011 ):
Media Planning is the process of turning marketing goals into Media Objectives and Strategies.

See also the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan

Monday, April 25, 2011 #7860
Is it better to buy to a R/F goal or a GRP goal? What is the preferred buying strategy among media buyers?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 25, 2011 ):
Please review the Guru's responsde to Query #7855, just below.

It cannot be deemed "better" to do either without context.

In an ideal or at least professional media world, there are Media Planners and there are Media Buyers. In some cases these are one person, "wearing two hats," so-to-speak.

It is never within the Media Buyer's role to prefer an R/F goal or GRP; this decision is part of media planning and based on communicvatiosn goals, as detailed in Query #7855.

Although the planner typically gives the buyer goals expressed prmarily in GRP terms. a proper buying platform should be included, describing such details as R/F goals, daypart goals, rating minima, dispersion, etc.

Oftern enough a media buyer is dealing with a single media vehicle, such as spot TV and does not know this element part of the plan. In a plan with an overall Reach-oriented goal, the role of spot tv might be tonnage to build frequency, at the lowest CPP. Or it mighty be a reach-extender. Strategies must fit goals. When one is both planner a\nd buyer, the thought processes for each role need to separate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 #7855
I'm trying to explain to my boss why purchasing the lowest CPP programming-regardless of daypart-is a bad idea. He is trying to save money for the client but I think it's not stewarding their ad dollars. I've tried to explain that the psychographics can be different within a demo. i.e. Buying Judge Judy, Cops and Family Guy against W25-54 is a totally different audience than buying Private Practice and American Idol against W25-54. And I think that the buy becomes more fragmented because you're not reaching a large audience at one time. Is there information I can find to prove this? Audience composition for programming maybe? And also, why we need daypart allocations.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 20, 2011 ):
What you and your boss are both overlooking is that discussions like this need to be framed within a communications strategy.

Somewhere in your media plan it should be established that your primary goal is either

  • Message weight, in which case lowest CPP is most important, or
  • Reach, in which case ratings size is more important, because, as you say, smaller, more fragmented audiences do not build reach as well, or
  • Message environment is key which suppports the sell, which talks to your psychographic point. or
  • Frequency, ie. message repetition is key, which would support more, lower rated spots. . .

But, unless you have agreed on where the emphasis should be, you can't resolve this disagreement. Some planners or buyers always assume they should go for the most reach. This is not correct unless it is the stated goal. Nor can you assume, when reach is the primary goal, that bigger ratings are always better; if you can buy twice as many impressions in lower rated programs, they may well generate more reach than half as many impressions from higher rated programs. Not that 50% is the set ratio. Perhaps only a 20% margin will outperform the reach deliver of higher ratings.

So set your goals and examine them carefully. Run R&Fs on schedules of high rated vs low rated programming, and keep effiicency in mind. Examine the other scenarios.

Monday, November 15, 2010 #7815
I have a client that wants me to run a TV R&F analysis on different GRP levels...65, 100, 125, 150 and 200. The reason they want me to do this is, we have just completed a 5 week TV campaign that ended the 1st wk in Oct..1st time client has advertised in 3 years. Client hired a research company and their findings reflected that there was a low recall the last couple of weeks of the campaign. We started with 200 points 1st wk, 250 pts 2nd wk (based on historical info, spike in sales that wk) 150 third, hiatus for 2 wks and then back on air for 2 final wks @ 200/wk.The research company has recommended for 1st quarter that we use low GRP levels, 50-65 pts/wk over a long period of time. I recommeded that we run heavy GRP's in 1st quarter for all the obvious reasons plus the most important...impact into the markets. We will have been black for 11 wks prior to our 1st quarter placement. We are selling sausage not trying to brand their name. Please give me your thoughts.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 15, 2010 ):
AMIC has lots of material on this topic of Recency vs Continuity vs peaks. Click here to see past Guru responses Briefly, in a situation where consumer goods has little to no seasonality and regular purchase, Recency theory holds that the impression closest to the purchase decision is the most effective one. And that since there are purchase decisions constantly being made, continuity at low but sufficent levels (say, a threshhold of 30 reach per week) is best.

The other side of the coin, for which you seem to be groping, is that you need a certain level of awareness, before constant reminder messages are effective.

A further, important factor arguing against hiatuses, is that whatever level of awareness you establish decays by about 10% of the previous week's level for every week of hiatus.

So the Guru would quickly build to an effective reach level at least equal to your awareness goal and then sustain at whatever level of continuity is affordable. 50 - 65 GRP/week should work at that point.

The Guru cringes at metrics like "impact" in such discussions. goals need to be defined in all the other terms of this discussion:

  1. reach
  2. effective reach
  3. awareness
  4. recall
  5. Etc.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 #7801
Can you provide any direction on how to determine ratio of online buy dedicated to paid search vs. online display? Minimum impression levels? Is there a standard rule of thumb? Is market size a variable?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 18, 2010 ):
This is truly a multi-layered question.

  1. A buy must follow the dictates of a plan
  2. A plan must be structured with specific communications goals
  3. The communications goals must be a part of a set of media strategies
  4. The media strategies must be designed to answer media objectives
  5. The media objectives are designed to answer marketing strategies and objectives
  • Within all this structure, your target market will have been defined.
  • Your goals as to awareness (display advertising) vs sales / web traffic via click-thru (search driven) will have been defined.
  • Your reach and frequency goals (driven by impressions levels) will come from your awareness goals
  • Impressions levels should not figure in search structure, as that is Click-thru driven and will vary by the effectiveness of placement on various sites
.Market size need not be a variable in all this except as a reality check on the levels being set.

Friday, November 27, 2009 #7741
I believe a powerful media mix is customized, individually labelled direct mail, contextual on line campaign and radio for frequency. However, I can't find any stats to back up my gut feeling. Any suggestions?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 27, 2009 ):
This might well be a powerful mix for certain marketing goals. And, no doubt, lsss so for others. It is rather unquantified to expect it to be measured.

DM results are typically only available to the adveertiser itself so general norms are rare. And the permutaitons of combinations with two other media are too numerous to expect published stats.

Is 50% DM / 30 % radio / 20 % online comparable to 10% DM / 70% radio / 20% online?

Is one ideal for bank cards while the other is ideal for dogfood branding?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 #7737
Dear Guru, Any theory for arrange/split budget to each selected media vehicle ? Thanks. (e.g. TV/NP/RD/OOH)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 17, 2009 ):
  • Determine your primary medium, based on your communications goals
  • Use that medium up to the point of diminishing returns within communications goals, for example where its reach curve flattens
  • Add the next most important medium within the communication goals. This might be based on adding reach or needing a print vehicle to carry coupons or required FDA information, etc. Use as much of this medium as communication goals demand. Is it a neccessary number of coupons in consumer hands to generate required redemption? Is it every issue of a selected magazine during a prescription drug broadcast schedule?
  • In short, a medium is added in response to communication goals and used to the extent required to fulfill those goals.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 #7734
Guru, when choosing a btob website for advertising, which is more valuable; using a site that is BPA audited? Or using a site that employs an IAB compliant ad server?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 27, 2009 ):
Both have value, it depends on your goals and issues.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 #7731
How do you respond when the client asks "what if we spend $XX less or $XX more on this campaign"? Is there a "tipping point" on expenditure versus return?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 13, 2009 ):
Reach is one good metric. You can observe the point where the reach curve of your first medium begins to flatten, and then shift to the next medium. So you can determine if the next $XX goes to more of the lastt medium added or to a new one. Or do you eliminate the last medium when budget goes down. You need to think about what is the minimum level to bother wth a medium.

Your goals may not be reach. Do you add or subtract markets when budget changes? You can think about sales potential.

In short, look to your communication goals and how changes in budget move ou toward or away from them

Saturday, September 19, 2009 #7725
A typical day in media planners life? please elaborate.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 20, 2009 ):
This general question cannot be anwered meaningfully.

A planner in a large, very hierarchical agency, who works on a team on a single, major package goods brand has a very different daily experience than a small agency planner working solo on several accounts, and is different than a retail planner or a direct reponse planner, etc.

THe essence of the job is interpreting marketing goals into media objectives and strategies, assessing best media approaches to those goals and putting them together for implementation. THe portion of the day spent in meeting vendors, superiors, subordinates, clients, etc varies wildly, as does the portion spent analyzing, writing, presenting and dealing with internal drudgery.

Friday, July 24, 2009 #7714
Thanks for your replay! Concerning TV i use model based on Ostrow's approach to define eff. frequency. Now I faced with a problem regarding OOH. I have to set eff. frequency goals in OOH for ad campaign and I wonder is there are some concrete methodology to substantiate it. May be you can kindly share with me with the information (sourse) re models or specific approaches?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 24, 2009 ):
Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. ARF materials will also be available through American Association of Advertising Agencies and Association of National Advertisers

Thursday, July 23, 2009 #7713
Guru, can you provide me any information about effective frequancy in OOH and Print? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 23, 2009 ):
Effective frequency can be calculated for print in the same ways as as for broadcast. Since print (i.e. magazine) typically produces higher reach / lower frequency as units are added to plans, the patterns will be different in seeking to get 3+ frequencies if that is your goal level.

In out-of-home, however reaches and frequncies are typically so high, e.g. reaches over 80 for small plans, with average frequencies over 10, effective frequency goals are a separate kind of consideration.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 #7707
Dear MG! I've read some information about Apollo project(Nielsen and Arbitron) findings - that messages gained effectiveness for up to eight repetitions per four week period. But Jones and Ephron findings told us that one contact is effective and enough. Can you told me where is the truth? Is there any standart for media planners ? Thank you a lot!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 30, 2009 ):
Project Apollo was abandoned over a year ago, whether that had anything to do with its findings or not.

The Guru sees no conflict between "one contact is effective and enough" (especially if it's the last one just before purchase, and the idea that effectiveness is gained with repetition. Enough may be enough, while more is better. "Enough" may meet sales goals and more might double them.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 #7702
Good morning MG. We recently ran a campaign on Facebook with 3.3 million impressions and 1,127 clicks. The question now being asked is "what's considered effective regarding impressions/clicks?" The campaign ran February - June, I know this is a loaded question but I am hoping you can give me your thoughts.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 11, 2009 ):
The old standard average was 0.2% click through. In reality, if you met your goals you were effective.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 #7681
How different is media buying in the middle east then in the US? How do the agencies in the Middle East figure out there media goals such as reach, frequency and ratings?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 17, 2009 ):
It depends on data available, as well as culture. If there is a measurer of ratings and reach, then planning can be based on these criteria. In some cultures, ratings are quite high and reach develops differently than other cultures. Planning theories will reflect such differences and experience as to what works.

Planning theories everywhere are based on what is thought to work plus the business model of the media sellers. In some countries, media may sell your schedule out from under you, if a higher paying advertiser comes along. Plans must account for this as well as developing communication goals. In some cultures awareness takes second place to brand image, or vice versa. Local knowledge is always key.

Monday, December 15, 2008 #7650
Hi.Appreciate if you could share a list of questions we should ask a Client in briefing as potential AOR. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 21, 2008 ):
Assuming we agree that AOR is the agency buying space and/or time for a large company, typically coordinating for multiple agencies serving that advertiser, then the key questions become, just for starters:
  • What media will be placed?
  • What spend level in each medium?
  • How is price emphasized versus other issues such as positioning / merchandising / cross-media opportunities?
  • What forms of stewardship and documentation will be required?
  • Pre-buy meetings to review buying platform, efficiency goals?
  • Frequency and style of post-analysis presentation?
  • What level of expertise in each medium is required / what dedicated staff?
  • Will AOR Media staff work directly with client Media staff or through account executives (bad option)
  • What is the intended compensation or is that an element of competition for the business?

Since you use the phrase "briefing as potential AOR" the Guru immagines there is a competition of sorts among various agencies serviung the client. Chose and phrase your questions with political astuteness, especially if this is an open briefing among the contenders,

Monday, August 25, 2008 #7581
How would you buy both a national radio buy and a local radio buy, using the local radio buy to fill in the market? How do you figure GRPs and CPPs?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 29, 2008 ):
The concept you are looking at is "spot fill." Many advertisers have used this for years with TV plans, particularly package goods marketers. Process is, roughly:
  • Using local market data like Arbitron, calculate the delivery of each network's local affiliate in each market and compare to national goals. That is if your national goal level is 200 GRP per week and you find that affiliates in a market are delivering only 150, you must buy 50 GRP in that market.
  • Since some markets will overdeliver, the more sophisticated approach is to determine what national level to buy so that not too may markets overdeliver and your spend on local buys is correct. I.e. if buying at 175 GRP a week delivers more than 200 GRP a week in half your markets, you only buy spots in underdelivered markets, saving some of the national money. Oncve you determine the index of delivery in all markets, you set up a spreadsheet and model buy scenarios wiith national and local CPPs to see what balance of national and local buying gets you closest to an even 200 GRPs in all markets. You would probably not spot fill in markets that index 90 or 95% of national goal. It usually won't make sense to try to buy 10 GRP a week locally.

Local CPPs can scome from SQAD

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 #7549
Our client has asked for help in setting advertising awareness goals for the upcoming year. What is your thinking about percentages for unaided and aided ad awareness that are considered to be a "good" score? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 20, 2008 ):
1. More is better

2. It depends on the number of competitors in the market and the spending. This is not really a media question.

Monday, March 24, 2008 #7521
Dear Guru, I need a clear concept of GRPs. I understand the terminology that it is the sum of rating points but what actually refers to it and what is the rationale behind it. For suppose, I have achieved 235 GRPs over a period of 40 days and my audience is Male - Female, 18-35, SEC- A & B. What does 235 as a weight refers to. What is the minimum threshold level of GRPs. How does the calculation works. I am clear on reach and frequency. Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 24, 2008 ):
For any given audience considered, each time there is one exposure of an ad to one member of the audience, an "impression" is generated; there are 2 impressions whether the same person sees an ad twice or two different persons each see an ad once, and so on.

If the sum of all these impressions is divided by the population base (universe) of the target audience, the result is GRP, which are expressed as a percent of the population. I.e. if the number of impressions is equal to the population size, the result of the calculation is "1" or 100%, expressed as 100 GRP.

Similarly, the impressions of a single ad, divided by the population, is the ad's rating. Thus, the sum of all ratings is also the GRPs. There is no "rationale," these are simply media terms and definitions.

Different theories and approaches set various GRP thresholds depending of marketing goals.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 #7487
Dear Guru, can you please guide me on how to write a meida buying strategy?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 29, 2008 ):
See the latter portion of the "Media Strategy" section Guru's in the Parts of a Media Plan, beginning from "Media categories which accomplish goals most effectively"

Thursday, January 24, 2008 #7485
I am the Media Director at a full service mid-size agency. The Interactive Director and I have been having a debate as to which department responsibilities for planning, negotiation and placement of online advertising should reside. Any thoughts on how the industry is resolving this issue? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 25, 2008 ):
The Guru does not think there is an industry standard here. The Guru has observed that more online-only agencies are expanding to all media, and more traditional media agencies are adding online services. The Guru agrees that all media should be served from one set of goals.

Given that, is your Interactive Director a part of your media department or a separate department? If this is an Interactive Media Director, it seems obvious that interactive planning, negotiation and placement all belong to the interactive media department, or else what is its purpose? If the Interactive Director is primarily a creative and marketing department head, then media functions like planning and buying are best served by a media department. In this case the media department should have interactive specialists. Conceptually, interactive media is a subset of media. Executionally, there are at least as many differences as between Network TV buying and newspaper classified placement.

Perhaps there are other issues not clear from your question.

Friday, December 28, 2007 #7464
In national industry with quiet competition, not much advertising - strongest competitor did unprecedented national cable TV buy and acheived significant brand name recognition resulting in gains. Moved the bar. We need to place more nationally now to keep up - currently doing regional spot cable buys in few larger DMA's. Would it be more cost effective to do national cable network buy or national spot cable in mid-sized and up DMA's for max reach(Service not typically used as much in rural areas.) Also, any research on how much average TV ad spend it takes to achieve national brand name recognition? I've heard $25 million but don't know the source of that figure.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 29, 2007 ):
Every case is unique, but in rules-of-thumb terms,
  1. If thinking of national brand name recognition, you should be thinking of national media
  2. Arbitrary numbers like $25 million are just that, arbitrary. If your target needs you to be in more expensive (less efficient) media to get to a certain point with the right image or environment, so be it. If more efficient media work, that's even better. Set reach goals and price a plan.
  3. National buys are almost always more cost effective than local / regional, unless you can truly ignore large portions of the country.
  4. "Rural areas" do not account for much of the country.

Monday, November 05, 2007 #7440
Is there an industry standard or formula I can use to estimate length of time it would take to brand a new company in small regional areas from a media standpoint. Is there a goal to set for GRPs or impressions? I understandn the short answer is probably "no" with so many variables to take into consideration but I am hoping for maybe some parameters and goals to shoot for. thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 05, 2007 ):
You are right that there are many elements here beyond duration of media exposure.

Your biggest issue in looking for formulas is quantifying your terms.

First off, how do you quantify "to brand?" What factors define a "branded" company?

  • There must be awareness, certainly (how much?)
  • The awareness must be positive and relate to the brand character desired.
The latter depends on creative as much if not more than media. The creative must say something positive about the company, it must say something that supports the branding message and it must be memorable.

From a media perspective, awareness correlates strongly with reach and frequency. Ad awareness will never be greater than the reach level achieved, and will not equal that level without sufficient frequency. This is why some planners look only at reach at 3+ frequency or some other frequency level judged effective.

Using the best media, whether described in terms of environment, "engagement" or other impact descriptors, is important.

Budget is also a controlling factor. Time-wise, "branding" would be likely to be achieved sooner if higher GRP levels were used.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 #7419
Dear Guru, Can you tell me what a "spot load" buy is within cable? And when would would you purchase cable utilizing this method instead of against your GRP goals?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 28, 2007 ):
"Spot load buy" does not seem to be a standard cable buying term, at least among the Guru's major cable-player associates. The implication is that it refers to buying spots in high volume, most likely in cases where locally concentrated promotional frequency is mandated or where the cable outlets are too small or too localized to have ratings available.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 #7283
Is there any scientific formula involved in Online Media Planning? How do we decide what amount of money out of our total budget should be spend where, like search, banner ads, e-mail marketing etc? What is the logic involved in decision making?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 16, 2007 ):
No set "scientific formula." Logic depends on various factors:

  • Is the campaign transactional? Are you trying to generate a sale from the first click on an ad, because you are targeting someone in the act of shopping? Search might be best for this. Conversion from search is high because peole are already looking for what you are selling.
  • Are you trying to catch someone's attention and inform them about a product or service they may not already be considering? Then banner ads on related sites and pages might work best.
  • Are you targeting people interested in a category who already persue related information? Then email newsletters might be best.
  • What is the success record of any of these options for your marketer?

In any of these cases, there are varying availabilities on which to spend your money.

As with all media, understanding the target, the communication goals and the options are the path to the better plan. Thinking these though will allow you to build a media planning model with it's own "Scientific" approach.

Monday, February 05, 2007 #7279
How different is writing a media plan for online than a traditional media plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 08, 2007 ):
(Within the limits of simple Guru replies:)

The same basic elements are required:

  • Objectives
  • Strategie
  • Tactics
  • Rationales
The contents of these elements are where the differences occur. The Guru believes that online should be just another media element like TV or magazines in a media plan, but when online plans stand alone,
  • the media objectives still must reflect interpreting the marketing goals into media goals
  • The strategies are withing the online arena, such as traffic building, engagement, registrations, etc.
  • the tactics will discuss ad types (static banners vs floating or expandable ads, etc) and specifc metrics more more than traditional media and
  • Rationales will involve different research, metrics, experience enviromnetal elements etc.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 #7255
Happy New Year, Guru. I am trying to establish communication goals for television. We plan on using multiple dayparts- -prime, em, late night, cable- - how does this factor into the effective reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 05, 2007 ):
Different mixes lead to different effective reach results at the same budget. Set your goal and then the plan must meet it. You don't set goals by projecting a plan's results and making that the goal.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 #7204
Dear Media Guru, When is it appropriate to include online in the media mix and typically how much of the marketing budget should go toward the online channel?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 11, 2006 ):
It is always appropriate to include online, since the majority of the population spends considerable time with this medium. Many spend more time here than with various other media such as print, especially younger targets. You need to examine marketing goals on a case by case basis. Direct sales, for example, will move you toward online quicker.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 #7192
Hi Media Guru. I have a question that I'm looking for a general answer (I know that there are many different situations that would allow for many different answers- but please try!) If I am building a media plan using TV as part of a media mix (including radio and print) can you give me a very general answer as to how many points per week over how many weeks would be a MINIMUM. Target is Men 35-64. The client is only interested in news dayparts. I'm having a hard time wrapping my hands around this. I'm saying for a maintenance type schedule, we could run a minimum of 75 points per week because the dayparts are so concentrated and news viwership is loyal. the client is insistent that they've been told by their old agency they need 120 GRPS per week. I'm thinking they would be correct if the dayparts were more open. We're getting additional reach through radio and print. Any thoughts? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 10, 2006 ):
You're saying 75 for "maintenance," but what's the rationale for the 120?

These issues always come down to what the communications goals are. Is it a reach level or a frequencey level or an effective frequency level? You can't argue against someone else's unsupported recommendation any more than you can support your own without goals and rationales. Your 75 seems reasonable to the Guru in a multimedia, "maintenance plan."

Friday, May 12, 2006 #7135
When considering a TV advertising schedule, it seems logical to me that I should be looking at time slots with the lowest CPP for my target demographic. If this is true, why are advertisers willing to pay a much higher CPM for some spots than others? For example, the CPM during the local evening news is $2.98 but a local spot during the network evening news is $7.24. They both hit about 150K people, so would I choose the network news? Am I missing something? I am new to TV advertising, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks, Rich

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 14, 2006 ):
There are more considerations than cost per point. If only CPP mattered, thn radio would be more desireable than TV and outdoor would be the "best" medium.

Higher rated spots have higher CPPs. Planners place value on ratings size, for example, for various good or bad reasons, including:

  • Reach
  • ratings stability
  • higher ratings theoretically equals popularity equals engagement

More realistically, we have to consider that mere impressions weight is not always the key goal, but that's all you get buying lowest CPPs. A mix of programs, dayparts or stations yields more reach which might be the true goal, in pursuit of awareness, for example. Finding program environments which are more supportive of the message also leads to selections for reasons other than simple CPP. A good understanding of plan goals is the first step in making the best buy.

Friday, March 24, 2006 #7118
I'm planning media for a reputed airline brand in a market that has the competition dominated by about 4 key players - 3 general (premium) airline brands & 1 LCC's (Low Cost Carriers). Whilst my brands media spends has been a low constant over the years, they are very keen to sponsor day parts (morning drive-time, evening drive-time & mid-day day parts) on radio as almost all competition dominate these day-parts in form of sponsorships. Some competitors carry on-air calling promos regularly to attract listeners to the station/ promo. Sponsoring the entire day-parts such as 0600 to 1000hrs in the morning is an expensive proposition hence a two-week on air call-in promo was looked at in a station not having a major reach in listenership figures where two air tickets with accommodation was the prize offered. Client was not too happy with the outcome but the actual response for the promo was higher than the usual response for the station. Client is very keen to how best to use radio in this context. Personally I feel based on the inherent attributes of Radio such as passiveness of the media, perish ability of the media that radio is best used for tactical activities such as promotions & competitions perhaps but not for strategic usage which is what most of the competition here is using radio for (except for the on-air or calling-in promo they do once-in-a-way). Please advice in a context like this what are the kind-of tools or ways we could best use radio creatively?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 26, 2006 ):
The Guru believes the question is not how to use radio, but what medium to use to achieve goals. But your goal is not clear. Is it simply to sell air tickets? Many direct response media options might do this effectively. Is it to build awareness? Other media and mixes might be best, with a reach emphasis.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 #7112
Hi Guru. How about "the minimum GRP reached for effective tv campaign"? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 18, 2006 ):
There is no specific minimum. Many planners "feel comfortable" at 100 GRP, but mix and reach / frequency goals are more important. Other details such as purchase cycle and budget have theri impact as well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 #7094
Could you outline the online media planning and buying process? and recommend the best tools (for the buying part).

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 12, 2006 ):
  • Consider advertising strategies
  • Develop Media goals and strategies
    This may vary depending on whether you are doing the online media element of a full-scale media plan or a stand-alone online plan
  • Evaluate online tactics that fullfill strategies: Banners / keyword search / contextual advertising
  • Determine key metrics: Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) / CP Click / CP Action (sale / registration / info request), etc
  • Determine buying platform: Site characteristics, placements, pure cost assessment, etc
  • Issue RFPs, which may be formally written or simple emails / phone calls
  • Conduct negotiations with reps
  • Issue purchase orders
  • Monitor buys
  • An alternative to the RFP-Negotiation process is an online auction of the sort run by Enversa

Common audience measure are provided by Nielsen//Netratings and comScore-MediaMetrix. More detialed audience descriptors are available from @plan. IPRO is also a key tool.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 #7079
What's your feeling regarding using statewide radio networks versus buying larger metro stations that provide good reach throughout the areas? I am currently evaluating the strength of the stations and cost efficiencies for both but need to know general thoughts. Thank you--I always find helpful information here!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 26, 2006 ):
The Guru's immediate reaction to "statewide networks" is a set of rural stations with low reach and coverage, unlikely to include major, metro area stations. If your geographic goals are based on metros, it's one thing; if any listener anywhere in the state is a good as another, in boxcar load fashion (perhaps a lottery or governmental message?), then the statewide network might be best.

Monday, January 23, 2006 #7078
A co-worker mention last week that 50% of the advertising budget of the automobile industry in US goes to tv when recent data appoints that most people use newspaper and internet to make their desicion.He understands that the television budget must be lowered and used more on internet and print. Please comment.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 23, 2006 ):
Considering the auto industry as a whole is somewhat misleading.

One must consider the message, the target and the specific marketer: In the big-ticket, "considered-purchase" sphere, there are distinct phases for the buyer. We can think of them as awareness, consideration and "shopping."

During the awareness phase, consumers are learning about the available brands / products / features that could meet their needs or even learning that they have needs, based upon information presented in ads. These are messages from auto makers, dramatizing and romanticizing cars, with some detail about capabilities and features. Image and awareness are typical goals. Budgets are big and TV carries the burden. This awareness / image building phase can occur over years, leading consumers to establish general attitudes towards auto brands.

When consumers have an awareness of the brands, they begin to form a consideration set, focusing on the choices which will meet their needs. More detail regarding product capability and features is sought. Magazine and online ads can serve these messages, better targeted to the likely buyer of specific models, based on age, income, family size, interests, etc. These are also big budget, manufacturer, ads.

The consumer next reaches the shopping stage, where pricing and deals become key issues. At this point, local dealer ads and newspapers are more relevant. Yet, this decision is being made among brand choices stemming from the big budget advertsing that we discussed first.

Of course, none of these stages are pure, and messages overlap. Keep in mind that the decision / internet nexus you have identified goes well beyond the advertising arena, and involves consumers' use of manufacturers' web sites or independent product comparison sites like Consumer's Reports, neither of which involve advertsing budgets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 #7049
When you are asked to make a statement on "How to Buy media right" would you answer...thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 20, 2005 ):
For a short pithy answer:

Carefully examine all media objectives, strategies and tactics. Then get the best price for the buy that best meets all these goals.

Friday, October 21, 2005 #7031
Dear Guru, I would like to ask you something about print campaigne for the one client/deodorant/.The ad will be published in female magazines.Is it better short time campaigne with large frequency during one month than long time campaigne with small frequency during two or three months? Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 22, 2005 ):
As with all media decisions, it depends on the marketing goals.

If you are introducing a new product and want a relatively quick consumer reaction before deciding how to proceed, a brief, heavy campaign might suit your needs best.

If you are sustaining an established product which sells continuously and benefits from "being there" (recency) whenever a consumer is making a purchase decision, a lower level of extended presence might be best.

Careful review of the product's market position and goals should lead you to the right answer to your question.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 #6998
We have to run a campaign with 4 different spots. The spots are for variety products under the same brand. How is better to air them - as a separate campaigns or to mix them all together?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 27, 2005 ):
If the products are closley related, such as lemonade / orangeade / iced tea / fruit punch, then running together could make a stronger campaign.

If less related, such as radios, blank computer media, batteries and printer ink, then mixing might cause confusion. Targeting issues and comparability of marketing goals are also important considerations in making this decision.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 #6889
Can you clearly explain the job functions and the responsibilites of a Media Director, a Media Planner, and a Media Buyer?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 13, 2005 ):
To keep it simple:
  • A media buyer negotiates with media seller to secure the right media placement at the right price. The buyer fulfills goals set by the media plan. The buyer is likely to specialize in specific media types, such as network broadcast or magazines.
  • The media planner prepares the media plan which dictates which media types in what budget proportions are used to advertise the marketers' brand. Specifications may be as broad as total GRP per week or as narrow as which magazines / which issues / which positions
  • The media director is a departmental manager overseeing / approving the work of these two or their immediate supervisors, hiring and firing all these people and determining the resources which support their work.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005 #6883
Dear Esteemed Guru: For those of us in regional agencies that have regional accounts or agencies with nominal budgets to cover regional/spot market or national goals, which do you consider the necessary tools for proper qualitative analysis (mostly broadcast)? (most bang for the buck?) If you can, please rank on priority.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 10, 2005 ):
The Guru will assume that by "qualitative" you refer to audeience data that goes beyond age/gender into product usage and other behavioral data; that you are looking beyond Nielsen and Arbitron boradcast ratings; so the Guru would look first to Scarborough which links detailed audience demographics and behavioral data to broadcast as well as newspaper and local shopping patterns. The Media Audit is another similar resource. They will, among other things, differ in the smaller markets offered. The Media Audit also offers broadcast ratings data.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005 #6882
Hi Guru, I was asked to do a daypart mix analysis and using that analysis, put together some TV options. Where do I do once I select a daypart mix?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 05, 2005 ):
You need to set the goals against which you will evaluate daypart mixes. Is it highest reach? Most supportive program environment, most selective for the target. The you may compare performance against these goals within budget.

Friday, April 01, 2005 #6876
If the client servicing peolpe tell you they dont have time to fill a media brief, what do you do then?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 03, 2005 ):
[none] Is the issue that these people claim not to have time to fill out some official, prescribed form, or that they don't have time to provide minimum basic information around which to build a plan?

If filling out a form is the problem, then you must ask questions to determine those basic data you need, such as what is the target, the budget, the seasonality, communication strategy, etc.

If they claim not to have time to convey such basic input, it is simply laziness and you must point out that you cannot do a plan until they find the time. Otherwise you are just guessing, and will create a worthless plan, unrelated to any sensible goals. .

Monday, February 28, 2005 #6815
Guru, My client has asked me to provide him with an in-depth daypart analysis...not just ratings and attentiveness levels. Specifically, he is questioning way we use/recommend one daypart over another. I haven't been able to find studies on this anywhere (including the Television Audit Bureau). Help!!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 01, 2005 ):
The Guru supposes that you have a system of sorts in you mind, since you apparently are recommending specific dayparts.

You probably know various other characteristics of the dayparts, such as

  • Age/gender composition
  • Product user / usage composition, and
  • Reach potential
All these, as well as ratings attentiveness, efficiency need to be evaluated against the specific goals of the plan. For example if reach is the overriding goal of the plan, then you would use the first daypart you select up to the point where its reach curve flattens and then select your next daypart based not just on the above characteristics, but also based on which one best adds reach to the first.

You probably have a model of sorts in your head, it's now a matter of writing it out as a set of steps and considerations

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 #6806
I have been asked to evaluate spending money on a transit program versus adding GRPs and/or weeks to our existing radio campaign with the same amount of budget. The problem is that comparing GRPs for one versus the other, transit clearly has higher levels and extremely high frequency if you believe the numbers they provide. Any additional thoughts?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 23, 2005 ):
Transit GRP are real, but they are based on traffic with an opportunity to see the poster. The real distinction of out of home is the limited message as compared to radio.

If your message can be simple, and reach/frequency are your top communications goals, then transit can be a powerful addition and probably more effective than adding more to an already adequate schedule in your main medium.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 #6742
Dear Guru, I am a media director for a very very small agency. My boss (the owner) has sold one of our national clients on the idea of network radio. All fine and good except that their budget allows the purchase of only 3 spots per week!!!!!!!!!!! I have been unsuccessful thus far in trying to convince him that this will not be effective. Do you have an opinion on minimum levels to be effective on Network radio?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 13, 2005 ):
Do they understand reach and frequency at all? Does the network to be used have a rating of 1.0? So the message will reach perhaps 1 or two percent of the target each week an average of 1-2 times per person? Perhaps 5% in four weeks? Can you express the limited POSSIBLE effects? It makes no sense to do this if the money could buy a real schedule in a few markets.

This sounds like a client with a delusion that it is "national." With this plan, it will be nowhere.

As for effective levels, this will depend on target, and what are the marketing goals, but generally the same standards of schedule as in spot radio will work. One possible exception; if you are sponsoring a strongly authoritative commentator, like Tom Joyner or Paul Harvey, their influence can affect a brand, at least among their audiences, with relatively few weekly spots.

Saturday, January 01, 2005 #6731
I am currently dong an assignment in which we have to critically analyse a companies media strategy and come up with a new one. I am using a childrens hospital charity and was wondering if you could tell me which media theory charities tend to use when constructing thier media plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 02, 2005 ):
Charities have varying goals, as do commercial marketers. Since many below the AdCouncil-supported level rely on pro-bono sevices, media strategy is probably a generally neglected area.

The Guru's observation is that, for basic fund-raising solicitation, direct mail is most often the simple solution. More ambitious image building programs and those promoting specific events may rely on free time and space donated by the media more than they try to execute a true plan based on budget allocation and considering all media.

Friday, November 19, 2004 #6694
Dear guru ,in answering questions abt budgeting u have mentioned it is the planners Job to advice the client ,How much he should spend, I know one can use SOV:SOM CONCEPT OR AD:SALES, is there any other calculation for this as well as what should be the benchmark for a new product launch.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 21, 2004 ):
This depends on goals. For example, is awareness, trial, or market share the objective. Each of these could lead to different budget reuqirements

Thursday, November 18, 2004 #6691
I have a client that has a one county market area. The billboards selected for the campaign are within the market but the DEC counts that relate to reach and frequency relate to a wider marketing area. The other elements of the campaign are within the one county market. How do I establish measurable goals for the campaign? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 20, 2004 ):
DEC is calculated for individual boards at a stage of the prosess. Be sure to focus on boards in the right area.

Friday, October 15, 2004 #6637
Hi MG ,could you please tell me when a planner decides for a frequency what time limit he takes in to consideration i.e weekly or monthly and is it differnt for print and TV. 2> SECOND thing is there any calculations to split your money across various media I.e certain % in tv , othres in print and out door, thank you and take care

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 17, 2004 ):
In the US, four weeks is the standard period for setting planning frequency goals.

Setting media mix is a complex process including judgement of media effectiveness, copy issues, and target impact. There is no simple formula

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 #6517
hi guru, would you please some methods of budget setting in a typical media planning scenario.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 25, 2004 ):
Budget setting typically preceeds media planning. Budget is input to media planners.

Budget may be set based on any of the following, or other factors, as well.

  • Advertising-to-sales ratio (A:S) for the category, and sales goal
  • Share of market goal vs share of voice.
  • Heavy up test requiring 30% or greater increment
Product intro versus known product, awareness goals, promotional plans all may be factors. The possibilities are idiosyncratic and virtually limitless.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 #6499
We are currently purchasing local broadcast television combined with local cable television in a large number of markets. We have been grappling with the question of how to report the ratings achieved by each medium. Our initial thought was to add the broadcast DMA ratings to the DMA equivalent ratings of the cable activity in order to keep the figures "apples to apples." How do other agencies report cable ratings back to their client? (Local cable reports their audience delivery a number of ways including: DMA ratings, cable universe ratings, cable zone ratings within cable universe, etc.). However, there are some cases where we may be purchasing select cable zones in a market, rather than the entire market's cable interconnect. In these cases, the cable television activity probably won't be efficient when compared to the broadcast TV DMA CPPs. On the other hand, purchasing the entire broadcast television DMA probably isn't an efficient way to reach just the geography surrounding a few stores. How do other agencies rationalize purchasing select cable zones (surrounding store locations) to their analytical clients? In these cases, the DMA CPP comparison probably isn't realistic. What this boils down to is a basic question--is local cable forced to compete on exactly the same playing field as broadcast television? Are both forms of media judged against the same CPP goals or is cable allowed to compete based on a different CPP (based on the cable universe or percentage of cable penetration)? Does this answer change if purchasing an entire market's interconnect versus a single zone or multiple zones? How is cable television posted when buying an interconnect? When buying a zone or zones? What other factors should be considered in this analysis (i.e. are we overlooking anything)? How is the budget (or TRP goals) allocated to between cable and broadcast television?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 20, 2004 ):
The Guru reports ratings on the basis that makes sense for the clients' marketing needs. If the client is a retailer, ratings localized to cable zones in store trading zones make sense and will reflect the efficiency of this localization, while also put the waste of DMA ratings into perspective. On the other hand a national consumer goods marketer with interest in entire DMA's should use DMA ratings as a comparison basis.

Thursday, March 25, 2004 #6434
How important are gross impressions to a media buy (specifically radio or traffic sponsorships)? Wouldn't eff. net reach be more important? How can I better explain the difference between gross impressions and frequency to a client that has these two efficiencies confused as the very same thing?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 26, 2004 ):
Firstly, a media buy must answer the specifications of the plan:

Do plan communication goals specify maximum weight or a focus on frequency over reach?

Frequency is linked to gross impressions but only through other factors and neither is an "efficiency." Budget divided by gross impressions is CPM, which is the classic measure of "efficiency" and no normal cost / frequency ratio with which the Guru is familiar is in use.

Gross impressions takes into account both frequency and reach. 1million gross impressions can be 1 million people each exposed to advertising once or 10,000 people each exposed 100 times. Radio is commonly considered a "frequency medium" but is capable of generating significant reach. Traffic radio is typically a frequency buy. Effective reach, i.e. reach at a specified minimum level of frequency is not the most likley goal for a traffic radio campaign.

Monday, February 16, 2004 #6383
Hi, I've looked through the archives but couldn't find anything on developing Spot TV RFP's to the various stations. I've done spot radio RFP's, but want to know if I need to include anything more than: client & brand, target, market and market R/F goals,weekly GRP's, Target CPP goals, flight dates, days of the week within flights,daypart mix, any must buys shows, spot length, RFP due date, and the flight schedule deliveries. Is there something really embarressing that I've overlooked? Don't hold back. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 17, 2004 ):
A good RFP has two key elements;
  • It specifies everything that will be considered in your decision making, so that proposals are complete and allow decision making immediately, and
  • It does not request any information that will not contribute to decison making so that you don't have vendors wasting time on unnecessary work that you have no need to waste time considering, rather than the important info that you do need.
. It strikes the Guru that you have included everything under the sun that might eventually be used to describe the eventual buy, but do not need as qualifiers of submissions.

Do you have a standard for days of the week to decide what to buy? In retail that's possible, otherwise, perhaps not.

Do stations need to deal with your daypart mix? One station may have different strenghths than another. It might be counterproductive to ask each to submit the same mix, when you might do best with one station's prime and another's news.

Do they need to think about your GRP total if you might buy 2 or 3 or 4 stations?

Can they respond to your reach goal, knowing they are providing only a portion of a schedule?

All these specs would be useful if each station is competing for an exclusive, but the Guru doubts that is the case.

Saturday, January 31, 2004 #6372
I am doing an assignment for university based on recruitment for one of the armed forces. i cannot decide which would be most effective- to use higher frequency or reach..any ideas??

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 31, 2004 ):
The answer has many variables. Reach can be more expensive than frequency. Minority targets can be more difficult to reach and have fewer media options than a general audience. Suppose you had a ridiculously small budget of only $2500 and want to recruit Arab Americans. The problem would then be reach versus efficient targeting. Broad reach might argue for outdoor media in a neighborhood densly populated by Arab Americans, e.g. Brooklyn, New York's Atlantic Avenue. But that budget would buy only one small posting for 5 months. It could achieve substantial reach in that small area and good frequency but with a limited message and considerable waste.

City-wide Arabic newspapers might offer three different options covering broader geography for the same length of time. This would likely increase reach and lose frequency.

In short, never ignore budget parameters when thinking about reach versus frequency. With a more reasonable budget of $25,000, for the same goals, think more about reach and multiple media and adequate frequency will be there.

Reach versus frequency needs can also depend on awareness. If your audience is highly aware of your offering but needs persuading, then frequeuncy is probably more important; with no awareness, reach is primary.

Friday, January 23, 2004 #6357
Are Reach and Frequency goals outdated? If so, how do you measure effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 23, 2004 ):
The Guru does not see how it can become "outdated" to consider what portion of your target is exposed to a campaign or how often.

Monday, November 10, 2003 #6238
Hello Guru! Are there any case studies or other research availible on the best ways to build a plan targeting Media Planners & Buyers? For clarification, I'm looking for something beyond an analysis of BPA/ABC statements for the trades (MediaWeek, etc). Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 15, 2003 ):
Plan building methods do not vary because the target changes, they shold reflect marketing goals. Broadly, B2B has differences versus consumers. There will be articles to examine in media trade publications, such as MediaWeek

Friday, October 17, 2003 #6206
Dear Guru, I've read Erwin Ephron's article on Adstock. Is Adstock widely used in the US? Also, other than reach/frequency goals, the Recency Theory and Adstock, are there other theories currently being used or debated? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 18, 2003 ):
As Efron himself says: "In the US most agencies schedule media without much regard to Adstock carry-over effects, because we have learned that immediate response to advertising dissipates rapidly."

Monday, September 22, 2003 #6166
Can you tell me what you know about internet media planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 24, 2003 ):
Interent planning is the basically the same as general media planning, as a process. Knowing the mechanics and potential of interent communication will allow the planner to address interent as any other medium in terms of meeting goals and strategies. Positioning is probably the area where the most differences occur.

Click here to see past Guru responses about internet planning.

Monday, August 11, 2003 #6117
1. beside using more short TV duration, what's your techniques to make smallest cost per rating 2. how to build and run small media agency, and also keep established its health for long time thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 11, 2003 ):
1. Lower rated programs have lower cpp, generally. Stations with lower average ratings have lower cpp. Some dayparts are inherently lower priced per point.

2. Balance price against actual goals. Service conscientiously. Know what you are doing, and why, at each step.

Friday, July 11, 2003 #6075
Dear MG, I've refered to previous answers on each medium strength, pros & cons. I would like to know further how to : 1) articulate Impact, Reach, Frequency & Continuity for each medium, especially TV, Radio, Print 2) product placements - what are the benefits against spot buy in TV. thank-you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Articulating these issues is more about wrting skills than media issues. You need to carefullly evaluate the marketing and advertsing goals you have received as input and craft your own documents to relate your recommendations to their delivery on these goals. Expressing how you are answering the needs expressed by the person giving the assignment can be quite powerful.

Product placement is not quite media. The key benefit is the implied endorsement value.

Thursday, July 10, 2003 #6071
how should we measure the effectiveness of a media campaign? and secondly what shouls we include in post by analysis?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Ultimately, sales is the true standard of success. Of course it is difficult to ascribe advertising success to media alone. In a controlled test, when copy is constant, one may then judge the effect of variation in media executions.

Post analysis needs to examine delivery of stated, negotiated buying goals. You will probably have bought a quantity of GRPs by daypart. You may have specified programming and want to verify that your spots ran in taose programs, or you may have specified horizontal (days) and vertical (times) rotation ranges. It is improtant NOT to post on non-negotiated details, for example average rating size, if not specification for that was agreed.

Monday, May 19, 2003 #5977
Could you give some of your thoughts on ROI of marketing mix models, especially that for mass media and direct marketing. Some reading references will be a great help

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 24, 2003 ):
Marketing mixes properly vary depending on product type and goals. See AMIC Bookstore (in association with

Friday, May 09, 2003 #5964
Dear Guru Would be interested in knowing if you have any info on online advertising models for financial clients. Any iformation pertaning to the approach for online advertising for financial clients would be welcome Thanks in Advance Johann

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 11, 2003 ):
Sometimes the Guru wonders at the use of the buzzword "model," apparently meant to make an approach seem formularized. A "reach model," for instance, is a mathematical formula meant to take variables and produce a reach number based on past variables that actually produced a measured reach result. The intended result of a media plan is not so quantifiable when you specify that it is for a particular category. The key is the result intended, this will change according to the narrow category as well as other factors.

A promotional plan to sell bonds to consumers would be quite different than a branding plan for a full service "big 5" accounting firm.

The "model" if any is based on consideration of goals and strategies such as target, and communication strategies. See the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 #5888
I'd like to know how you determine what your GRP goals should be for TV. I know that Total GRP's are equal to reach x frequency. However, if I want to reach 95% of adults 35+ each flight month while achieving a 4.0 weekly frequency, how do I determine those goals? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 22, 2003 ):
The fact that reach x frequency = GRP is merely an arithmetic relationship, it is not predictive. Not all combinations of dayparts and programs with the same total GRP deliver the same R&F.

You need to examine various schedules with Reach & Frequency software, such as that from our sister company, Telmar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 #5874
Hi! I just purchased SQAD Media Market Guide in order to establish CPP goals and determine budget needs for our TV markets. I was told by someone at SQAD that the book would give me information broken down by demo and daypart in each market. It turns out that our demo in not included and that only select demos ARE included! I'm very upset about this...they won't refund me. How can I set CPP goals for adults 35+ in our markets? HELP! :) Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 16, 2003 ):
Obviously SQAD can't give you every imaginable demo. The subscriber selects the demos to be included. Any demographic publisghed by NSI should be available. However, manipulating the available numbers will get you close enough. For example, 35+ should fall between, say, 18+ and 50+. Weighting by ratings averages should allow a good enough approximation.

Sunday, February 23, 2003 #5851
I have been asked to comment on the agency's performance on media buying and planning for their year end review. Can you provide hints on what I should look for or comment on for each discipline Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2003 ):
Are you commenting as a client or as an agency manager, it might change the questions or priorities? For buying, the issue is delivering the goals specified and measured. I.e.
  • GRP levels specified
  • Media mix specified
  • Pricing
. Media buying performance is driven by planning and the planners' ability to clearly convey goals. That is, don't fault your buyers if someone else claims to get better prices. Perhaps the planners specifications called for some schedule qualities that require higher-priced choices, or budgets were released to the buyers without enough time to negotiate or after the 'good stuff' was sold out.

In other words, look at the whole picture. Evaluate planners ability to translate advertising goals into specific media goals / strategies / tactics. The look at how this was translated into buying goals to assure the buyers delivered what was needed. If prices seem high, did the planners insist on / help buyers' estimating best prices.

If you are agency management, you may also be interested in how the planning and buying interfaces with account management, traffic and production.

Friday, February 14, 2003 #5838
I am working on creating a hypothetical media plan for a class project, which entails targeting adults age 18-34 years of age, for a new product. I am lost as to how to set Reach Frequency goals, and then once I formulate my plan, how do I calculate the actual reach? Also, how do I figure out cost per point for network tv late fringe and cable tv? Is there a guide that could help me estimate?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 14, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "goals" or "calculate" or the other questions as your search terms.

Monday, January 20, 2003 #5745
Dear Guru: Can you give some information about when is better to do enfasis in reach or frecuency. I mean we have to consider the marketing goals.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 26, 2003 ):
Yes, you must consider marketing goals, particularly communication needs. Do you need to communicate with more people (for example, in building brand awareness) of more often (for example, in a short term retail promotion)?

Thursday, January 16, 2003 #5739
I am looking information about the relationship between SWOT analisis and Reach & Frecuency goals. Can you hel me?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 18, 2003 ):
SWOT is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; in other words situation analysis. Reach and frequency describe communications levels. After a SWOT analysis, one might be led to formulate goals and strategies which include R&F goals. There is no direct connection.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003 #5732
I have heard comments from media agencies that emphasize quality over cost for TV spots. However I am a little skeptical, especially when their compensations are tied directly with the budget. So I would like to ask you a few questions to help me get a better understanding. 1) Does a good relationship between the director of a TV station vendor and the media buyer strongly affect the quality of TV ads (in terms of POD position, etc.)? 2) Does buying above the SQAD mean a bad buy in comparison to others who purchased below the SQAD? 3) Are there ways to measure (quantitatively) the performance of a media buyer? Your opinion would be highly valued. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 18, 2003 ):
The Guru comments:
  1. In any buying / selling situation, a good relationship between the parties is likely to improve the deal as perceived by both sides. This will affect product "quality" for the buyer and quantity sold for the seller.
  2. Buying above SQAD is a pretty reliable indicator of having spent too much.
  3. SQAD is more of a benchmark than an absolute. Once some basics are set, you can tell the buyer has gone wrong if his/her costs go up when SQAD costs trend down, or go up much more than SQAD does. Likewise, a buyer whose costs go down more than SQAD's costs do has made good deals.

A media buyer needs to be given explicit goals against which to be measured. There are no absolute quality indicators of a buy, whether you look at cost, cpm, reach, rating, pod position, etc, unless these goals are set. Undirected, a buyer will probably go for lowest cpm/cpp or his own interpretation of best reach. If you wanted high ratings or heavy frequency instead and didn't make that clear up front, it is not the buyer's performance error when you don't get your secret desires. If you did give specifications and the buyer went a different way or didn't meet goals, then that's bad performance.

Monday, January 06, 2003 #5720
We are a small agency who deals primarily in spot buys. I am putting together a network cable TV buy for a client. Network selection is largely based on MRI data against the target. I have R/F goals that were established based on a cursory "borrowed" run on an optimizer program. I know I can ask the networks to run R/F on the schedules I put together, but how can I get a combined R/F on the entire multi-network buy? We don't have a program that does that for network. Is there a formula? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Networks than can provide R&F runs can provide combined schedules. Systems vary, inout assumptions are important and some networks know how to slant results. Ask more than one network to do the same combinations as a check.

Our own eTelmar system can do R&F on a pay-per-use basis at a nominal cost.

Monday, January 06, 2003 #5719
I want to develop a competency grid for my team consisting of senior media planners and media buyers. I want to develop a grid that addresses key functional and general management competencies for both functions - planning and buying.Both planning and buying members have 4 to 5 years of experience and are part of a single large AOR team( of around 12 members) The idea is to have a list of indicators against each competency domain and get each member to fill up such an assessment grid with evidences.This self assessment will then be validated by a panel consisting of me( their supervisor) and my business manager and his boss-the VP on the business. My question is: A.What FUNCTIONAL domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying B.What GENERAL mgmt domains should be included for 1.planning and 2.buying Greatly appreciate your feedback and help Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Current business managment theory seems to be gravitating away from these formaularized assessments. If you must, however, the Guru woul look at


  • Turning input into goals
  • Setting clear goals
  • Clear and persuasive writing
  • Analytical ability
  • Mathematical facitlity
  • Understanding media types
  • Understanding media math


  • Interpersonal ability with teammates
  • Interpersonal ability with superiors
  • Interpersonal ability with clients
  • Interpersonal ability with vendors
  • Managing subordinates
  • Leadership and teaching
  • Setting and keeping work schedules
  • Appreciating company budget/expense
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Contribution to the bottom line

Monday, January 06, 2003 #5718
what are the best and worst methods of advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
The worst is easy: SPAM.

Best really depends on your goals. Some media are better for some target or message types or desired responses.

Begin at the Guru's media strengths page

Saturday, December 14, 2002 #5681
I am planning for an entertainment account. We have sold our clients a plan that emphasizes quality buys versus tonnage. I have a buyer who is insisting on buying Prime Orbits or Rotations vs fixed position prime in order to save costs. However for the plan, we value quality and delivery over saving versus year ago cpps. Can you help me explain why fixed position prime is better in this case than prime rotations and orbits?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 15, 2002 ):
First, it is the buyer's job to deliver the media according to plan and not according to the buyer's own personal goals. The Guru has often encountered buyers who bought something more expesive/less efficient to deliver better reach when the plan was focused on tonnage or GRP goals. A buyer's first goal is delivering planned media.

That being said, the Guru does not think there is anything better about fixed posiotns versus rotations inherently. If your prime schedule for a week on the NBC affiliate is 1 spot in "Friends", one spot in "ER" and 1 spot in Third Watch, why do you care if they were bought individually or delivered in a rotator of "3 prime spots."

It's a very good buyer who can deliver the programming you need at Orbit prices. Fixed positions are NOT "quality" because they cost more, but because your specification have mafde these programs more desirable

The issue may be that your targeting or program evironment needs make ER or Third Watch desirable and Friends less so.

Friday, December 13, 2002 #5679
I work for a company-owned regional coffee shop. I need to devise a media plan for 2 markets. How do I determine R/F and Continuity goals?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 15, 2002 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about these two topics

Tuesday, December 10, 2002 #5671
I am doing a media plan for a global biotech company and they advertise in the major trade and science journals. They gave me geography goals of 65% US, 30% Europe and 5% Japan. Meaning the % of impressions in each region they want to reach. How do I calculate the percent that they are reaching with the current plan? For example, do I just take the Europe circulation of the publication and multiply it by the total number of insertions scheduled for that pub to get the total number of impressions in europe? Media Guru, I need your help, I don't know how I am going to reach 30% in Europe. Thanks so much.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 15, 2002 ):
If you assume circulation = readers, then your formula works. In most cases, trade media like these won't have any survey-based audience research available. so circulaiton is a good basis.

Obvioulsy, you need to be considering titles published in some of the regions you wish to cover. See PubList

Monday, December 09, 2002 #5666
relationship between nedia planning and internet

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 15, 2002 ):
The internet has become a common medium among the choices available to the media planner. It must be evaluated for its contribution to the plan's goals, like any other medium.

See the Guru's media strengths page

Thursday, November 07, 2002 #5600
Guru Hi, Your answers are usually very brief but "right on the money". This time my request is for a longer and detailed answer if it is possible. I've been requested to evaluate two media buying & planning agencies, and help decide witch is the better one. Please sudgest the proper way to this. What are the paramaters to check (price, tools, experience etc.)? what weight to give the different parameters? and any other input you might have. It is important for me to do this properly and succeed in doing so. many thanks, ND

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 07, 2002 ):
Selecting a planning agency is different from selecting a buying service.

First, you must decide what are the most important factors for you. The Guru can't tell you what they are but here is list of suggested concerns.


  • Who will be your everyday contact person? Will it be a senior person who can understand your needs or a junior order-taker?
  • Does the staffing seem reasonable for your business? A solo single person might be best for accounts of smaller size or using simple media, while complicated accounts need to have more people available if the needs are often large or have short lead time as might be the case in larger or multimarket retail accounts. A senior person, like the Guru, can handle 4 or 5 accounts of $5 million or so across a small market list. Generally, especially in planning, the more a single person or small hierarchical team handles one account the smoother it runs. On the buying side, more markets will need more people.


  • Have they handled the media types they will work on for you?
  • Do they currently work on the media and markets you need?
  • Are there account conflicts and does this matter?
  • Is cost your key consideration or do you have quality or other schedule-specific issues? Ask about approaches. Remember anyone can promise any cost, but what corners are cut?

  • How well do they listen?
  • Can they interpret advertising goals and turn them into media goals? - Ask for a hypothetical plan outline to see how they approach a plan
  • Do they ask good questions? - For the plan outline test, leave out a couple of key facts to see if they request the important info or rush blindly into the project
  • How do they handle the planning/buying interface themselves?
  • You can probably add to this list as you begin to think it through. Use an RFP / questionnaire to narrow the field to those with whoich you will meet.

In either case expect that they have some basic questions they ask to begin a plan or a buy, and a review process - find out how they do it.

You need to decide what is most important. If you have a small staff to oversee their work, you will probably emphasize chemistry and how smoothly it seems you will work together. If you need lowest cost or plans keyed to efficiency, then you will weight that more.

One approach is to find a consultant to control the review for you and later on to oversee the work of these firms on your behalf.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 #5574
Dear Guru, I am interested in the perfect values of the following media parameters for one TV campaign of beer product (May be there is some standards): 1. Number of flights per year 2. TRP s per week 3. TRP s per campaign 4. OTS per campaign 5. Reach 1+, 3+, 5+ per campaign I am interested which are the effective frequency and the effective reach. Thank you very much for your answers.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 27, 2002 ):
There are no perfect answers. Within whatever budget you have, you must consider what is possible. If you can afford 5,200 GRP per year, is it better to have 100 GRP per week every week or 146 GRP for 9 four week flights?

Part of the answer depends on how you set the effective frequency goal. Perhaps seasonality tells you you need the 150 in the summer but only the 100 the rest of the year. What level do the competitors run? What is your brand awareness? What are your awareness goals, sales goals, share goals?

In short, budget, and many circumstances need to be considered rather than any quest for abstractly 'perfect' answers

Monday, September 23, 2002 #5526
I have been given a client's previous cable buy to critique. Given that cable is a frequency medium, I feel the client has spread himself over too many networks with too few spots. I want to prove this to him beyond saying 'because I said so'. We are going to pull a R&F report but I also wondered, is there any research to indicate a minimum frequency for cable networks? I was wondering about the turnover rate for radio. Does something similar exist for cable?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 29, 2002 ):
Turnover is simply the ratio of weekly cume to average quarter hour audience. This could be computed for cable, but it's simply a short cut indicator for buying towards reach.

Why is cable a frequency medium? Because you said so? Granted cable, because of its smaller ratings, develops more frequency than reach in relation to prime time network. But another, perhaps more important use of cable is to reach niche audiences that are drawn to the specific programming of certain channles.

First be sure you understand the planning goals. Is cable there to add frequncy or to reach the target is a specific environment? If you think purely as a buyer, you may miss the point of a plan. Perhaps the previous buyer was given goals other than frequency; you need to critique in terms of goals. The R&F report you get may be too high or too low. What are the goals?

Tuesday, August 27, 2002 #5488
How do I make a media plan for a public service ad campaign? What are the points i need to keep in mind? What should be my budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 28, 2002 ):
Like any other campiagn, goals will begiven to the planner in regard to geography, target and communications. Budget is information provided, not determnined within a plan. Sometime goals determine budgets, but not planners.

Saturday, August 24, 2002 #5483
I'd like to propose a movie sponsorship/tie-up for my client can you give me some strategy points so i can convince them. (E.g. Sponsoring Matrix II)

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 24, 2002 ):
The strategy would have to be based on the goals of the client. You have given the Guru nothing to go on. If there is a surfing movie and your client sells surfboards, bathing suits or hotel rooms in Hawaii, there is an obvious link. Find yours.

Friday, August 23, 2002 #5482
Hi! i'de really appreciate if you could give me ideas for creative media/media innovations, as this is has become one of the main criterias to judge a good plan. further would appreciate if you could give names of sites that have media innovations listed.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 24, 2002 ):
The idea that the Guru could just name some innovations without any knowledge of your plan's goals is ludicrous. A great innovation for a safe sex campaign would have no relevance for breakfast cereal. The Point of innocvation is matching a different approach to specific goals.

Click here to see past Guru responses about creativity.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002 #5463
I would like to know if there is a general rule of thumb for R/F goals on political/issue advertising for local markets. Also, the politcal strategist running the campaign for which we are buying media has stipulated that we must place 1000 TRPs against each television spot. What are your thoughts on that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ):
No general rules. Levels should depend on competition, and other specific factors. Budget not least of all. Without knowing the rationale for the 1000 TRP, it is difficult to comment. 1000 does not seem at all excessive.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002 #5451
Hi Guru, how can we evaluate outdoor as a medium. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 08, 2002 ):
Like any other medium, you compare it to your goals and to the contribution of other possible media.

Some of these issues are efficiency, reach, impact, communication and geographic flexibility.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002 #5432
What is an adequate number of points per weeek on television for a campaign that goes over a ten week period. It targets A25-54 and is not a "sale" retail account. This is a regional hospital and the television is split between two networks: NBC and CBS. Also how do you determine the percetages per daypart in your planning.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
Start with communication goals: what reach and frequency or effective reach do you need?

These points will guide you to weight and daypart mix.

It strikes the Guru as odd that you speak in terms of "two networks" before any of the other decisions are made. The Guru would expect you are buying local, not network tv for a regional hospital.

Monday, July 22, 2002 #5427
At my agency, we set media goals for many clients in terms of EF/ER & CPP. The correlation between EF/ER for a specific category/demo we get from past similar campaigns for which we are able to extract the necessary data. But eventually most of our clients judge our performance only on CPP. Yes, cost efficiency is important but so is EF/ER. The fundamental problem arises when our analyzed tv schedule and our actual own do not match in the execution pattern (e.g. portion of primetime vs fring.). My point is as a media planner, the EF/ER be taken into account as well (even if we were off mark on the CPP), right? The problem how to do this quantitatively. Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
The Guru observes:
  • Effective Frequency / Effective Reach are planning goals
  • Cost Per Point is planning input and buying goal
  • Your problems seem to fall into two areas:
    - Educating the client to understand what you are doing, and
    - Educating your buyers in undertsanding your goals / their assignment.

If EF/ER are the communication goals for the plan, then achieving them at the planned budget becomes the primary standard. If this achievement is based on the media mix bought (as it should be) then the buyers must be made to understand that delivering that is what they must do.

Overall, the mistake is allowing CPP to become a goal instead of a tool.

Monday, July 15, 2002 #5413
I would appreciate any feedback you can provide on the following....the client is looking for us to make a recommendation on how many print titles should be on their plan. What criteria should be looked at when determining this? I am sure a lot has to do with budget. They will be running in trade pubs in the biotechnology area and their budget is about $300,000. Also, how many times do you recommend running in a weekly publication? thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 17, 2002 ):
The number of print titles isa a result, not a goal. goals should be reach, or frequency or coverage of specifc arenas, If there are twenty possible titles, there will be reasons to prefer some over others. The budget needs to be viewed in a context of the average ad cost.

There are some rules-of-thumb -- guidelines, not carved in stone -- which suggest once per month minimum in a weekly, every other month in a monthly, but these are about consumer perceptions of frequency. How many arenas do you need to cover?

Thursday, July 11, 2002 #5406
We are in the middle of planning a small trade plan in the science field. First question - do you know of any syndicated research that measures these types of publications? The client believes that somewhere one must exist. Also, we need to determine the communication goals. How would we go about calculating reach and frequency for our plan when these publications are not measured? And duplication studies are not available? Any help would be great! Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 13, 2002 ):
There are syndicated medical and technology daya bases, but the Guru does not know of one for basic sciences.

Click here to see past Guru responses regarding procedures to estimate print reach

Tuesday, June 04, 2002 #5320
Guru: Is there research available that discusses if you are targeting too many segments (mulitple targets within the same brand). What is the correct or acceptable balance. And how will your communication goals change based on so many messages.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 06, 2002 ):
The Guru imagines that this is a rare case. Research might be available from The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Sunday, May 26, 2002 #5309
Our company has recently appointed a new media planning agency. Are there any standard parameters on which the performance of planning agency can be evaluated? Since the planning agency is different from buying agency, the performance can not be measured on CPRPs or cost/spot etc. Secondly, is there merit in having separate agencies for media planning and buying? Your views. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 26, 2002 ):
Assuming your communications and advertising goals are coming from yet another resource, you might set up some objective standards for how well your media plan answers these goals, translating into reach, frequency, impact, image building, etc.

The Guru believes that separating planning and buying somewhat limits the planning agency in the support it will get from the media sellers regarding packaging media deals.

There is some benefit in letting a good planner buy, but no inherent benefit in separating the processes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 #5300
what are the best metrics for measuring: effectiveness efficiency

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 23, 2002 ):
1. When available, the best metric for effectiveness is sales or some direct measure of the ultimate goal. Sometimes the ultimate goal is a change in image or increse in awareness. These goals are almost never purely a result of media, except in controlled test scenarios.

2. Media efficiency is simply a matter of definition:
Audience achieved per dollar spent.
"Audience" may be expressed as thousands of impressions or rating points or sometimes, net reach

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 #5297
I am writing a POV for a client on radio frequency levels. Are there any guidelines or general principles on weekly and 4-wk frequency goals for national radio? I haven't been able to find anything through the RAB.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 26, 2002 ):
There are many theories. Other than buying 12 spots per station per week, in local radio, there are few standard points of agreement, and even the 12 spot theory is not absolute.

For example, in some situations, such as Black or Hispanic radio, where ratings levels can be 8 or better; GRPS for 12 spotrs can be 100 or more and you are really buying reach more than frequency, attitudes about frequency will change.

Then, are you talking about spots-per-week frequency or average frequency of exposure? The answer will again change depending on what other media are in the plan.

The Guru feels that all this and more need to be taken into consideration, rather than look for general rules.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 #5279
DEAR Guru, advertising a car model can you explain the connections between the target market, the product and the communictaions campiagn? also what are the ad/disadvantages of each method of media when preparing a media campiagn?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
Most simply: Various brands of products have appeal to specific demographics. For existing brands, these ddemographics can be discerned by analyzing survey research, often syndicated studies such as MRI, Simmons and The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study. Proprietary, "custom" research is also used.

The working theory is that the best advertising target is people similar to current purchasers. New models or programs aimed at changing the purchaser appeal may have variants based on the profile of competitive models, speculation or other research, including qualtitative types.

Communications is then planned to reach the same target, and to place advertising in a supportive environment, that relates to the product, target lifestyle, image goals of the brand, etc.

For some comparisons of media, see the Guru's media strengths page.

Thursday, April 18, 2002 #5229
Dear Media Guru, Do you have any research or date that studied ideal budget allocation between main media and sub media? Or, How much of budget is good for sub media in order to maximize advertising impact?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 20, 2002 ):
One common rule of thumb is "use the primary medium up to the point where it becomes inefficient to add incremental reach." This rule works in reach oriented plans. Another might be ". . .until the submedium adds reach __% faster than more money in the main medium." A frequency or tonnage plan would have a different approach.

In any case, the rule will be based on media delivery measures, not some abstraction of budget percentage. The budget percentage split which results will vary greatly depending on the main and submedia involved, and the communication goals that define "impact".

Friday, February 15, 2002 #5088
Dear Guru: i am media planner in Colombia and Im trying to convince a client (femenine protection) to use RECENCY planning, but i have some doubts, i wonder if my brand have many products (8) that use the same brand name i can plan Recency for the whole brand? i mean, the trps i use for each product can i cummulate them assumming is for the general brand? I have a very good budget, i have 19.000 trps for the whole brand, and is enough to be the entire year. 2. Do you know some case study about a brand in femenine protection that has used recency?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 15, 2002 ):
With 19,000 GRP ( 365 per week), the Guru doesn't think recency will be a brand issue.

There is a judgment to make outside of media issues regarding whether the relationships between the various products form haloes around one another or if their messages are so different that they need separate communication goals.

If the products were entirely complementary, for instance, napkins, belts, panty liners, douche and deodorant, then they could be considered complementary. If they are more competitive, e.g. tampons vs pads, or have very different targets, e.g. teens versus women 50+, then the rub-off is less valid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002 #5083
I am an advertising student and I have to do a media plan for Crayola, which media would you suggest I use?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 13, 2002 ):
What's your target? What's your budget? What are your goals? You won't learn much if the Guru does everything.

Monday, January 21, 2002 #5022
Hi Guru, I've been asked to do a media plan for radio buys in the DC market. I've never done a media plan for radio before and have never even purchased radio ads before. Can you tell me where I should go for more information on how to buy radio ads and how it all works. I guess I'm looking for a radio101 or something. Please help! Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
Get in touch with an experienced sales person from one of the top stations with which you will be dealing. Stations have marketplace and general radio planning tools. A good salesman can give you more education quicker than any other source

If you are starting from an assumption that you are only using radio and only one market, you are not really "planning," just selecting a schedule.

Your big-picture elements are meeting reach / frequency goals, format choices, and added value.

Saturday, January 12, 2002 #5001
I need to know the different types of media available in the uk and how they are relavent to the retail trade, consumer ingeneral and to a business. thanx

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 15, 2002 ):
No medium is inherently "relevant" to retail, consumers or any other broad purpose. You need to evaluate media in the context of message and marketing goals.

For UK media availability, see International Media Guide

Friday, January 11, 2002 #4998
Broadcast planning; I work in the digital space and was trying to learn more about how broadcast is planned, specifically television.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 15, 2002 ):
Planning is a process of matching media choices to advertisng goals.

The biggest differences for traditional media versus digital are

  • Planners don't think in terms of a single medium; the plan is theoetically open to any medium at the start.
  • Audience measures are typically more detailed and finite, especaily in regard to reach.
  • Outside of direct response planning, audience exposure estimates, rather than any analog of clicks is key.
See media planning texts in the AMIC Bookstore (in association with

Monday, December 17, 2001 #4951
Guru - Where can I learn about maximization of radio and TV buys? What is overkill?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 21, 2001 ):
Begin by setting communication goals in reach and frequency terms. Click here to see past Guru responses about effective frequency.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001 #4900
I am trying to estimate past Reach & Frequency for a transportation trade industry print campaign -- and based on that set R&F goals for 2002. I have gathered the following information: Target universe in US, Asia and Europe; each publication's circulation to that target (where available); duplication (very limited availability of this from these pubs). Given this information, what formula could I use to (gu)estimate Reach & Frequency for this Trade plan? Alternatively, what other measures could I offer to my client to measure a recommended media plans effectiveness (i.e. Competitive SOV)?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 21, 2001 ):
The simple formula begins by calculating audience-divided-by-universe to estimate ratings (probability of exposure). Multiplying together all the negative probabilities gives you the reach, disregarding specific duplication. In other words, if you get a rating of 14% of target, the negative probability is 86%. Then, two issues of that publication have a combined negative probability of 0.86 X 0.86 or 0.7396. Thus the probable "reach" is 1 - 0.7386 or 26%. This reflects a rando likelihood of dulication of roughly 14%. In reality, there is more than just this random duplication between two issues of the same trade title, probably 50%+, so a better estimate of the reach would be 14% + 50% of 14%, or 21% reach.

For a good guestimate, combine all your insertions this way, using 60% duplication between repeats in the same title and 30% between different titles. Use judgement about titles from different countries which may have virtually no mutual duplication.

SOV is another comparitive tool. Going beyond relative communication and relative spending gets quite speculative.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001 #4884
media planners make or brake an event that i propose, if they see its not feasible, i dont get the project, so how can make an effective media plan (TV, RADIO, PRINT so that i wont see media planners as a threat to seeing my proposal being approved?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 14, 2001 ):
Media planners are not likley to be support an outside media "plan." They may however evaluate a media "package" you include, as part of the added value of your event. Planners devote efforts to matching media selection with advertsing goals, while your media is probably in support of your event. Recognize the distinction and allow planners to evaluate the deal as a whole, and its contribution to achieving goals. If you can't make them see it as more than just media, it must not be much of an "event."

Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4818
Have you ever heard the term "social capital" used in relation to advertising or marketing objectives? I have a client that uses this term often, and although he uses it in a branding context, I want to make sure I'm not missing out on a new, or not so new, concept or theory. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 24, 2001 ):
According to Civic Practices Network:
"Social capital refers to those stocks of social trust,in norms and networks that people can draw upon to solve common problems. Networks of civic engagement, such as neighborhood associations, sports clubs, and cooperatives, are an essential form of social capital, and the denser these networks, the more likely that members of a community will cooperate for mutual benefit."

This sociological concept may apply well to public relations or corporate imaging, particularly if it is important to the advertiser to appear public spirited. Oil companies, hospitals and political parties / candidates may find this reference appropriate. Or it may merely be a pretentious way of phrasing image goals in the case of consumer products.

Friday, October 19, 2001 #4804
I wanted to know the return on investment for print advertising - specifically consumer magazines

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 19, 2001 ):
There is no simple, sensible answer. It will vary according to magazine category, ad unit, product category, marketing goals (e.g. image vs direct response) etc.

But if you were absolutely specific, and asked "what is the R.O.I. of page, 4 color direct response ads for do-it-yourself books in news weeklies" only an advertiser with that specific experience would have an answer for you, and would probably consider it proprietary info.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001 #4710
How would you define 'Media Planning'? What si the best way of defining what Media Planners do?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 12, 2001 ):
A media planner evaluates advertising goals to determine media objectives and strategies. These may include market specifics, media environments and communication levels. Then the planner recommends specific vehicles and schedules to best execute these strategies.

Tuesday, September 04, 2001 #4696
Dear Guru: What value would you give to a :10 live radio liner versus that of a :30 spot? Would you consider the value of the liner the same --- an impression is an impression regardless of the spot length? Thank you for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 08, 2001 ):
There is certainly less value in a liner. Typically liners are ojly mentions of the advertiser in conjuntion with a program or event, e.g. "Come down and meet our DJs at the mall, courtesy of (advertiser)."

In this case, the value is hard to compare to a brand :30 message, because it isn't aiming at the same goals, but valuing it at a simple proportionate one-third is reasonable. If the liner is a miniaturized barnd message, it may be worth half based on simple awareness building. If you're couunting impressions for bragging purposes, as in charging up the sales force or trade, you might play the 'an impression is and impresssion' game.

Thursday, June 28, 2001 #4534
The advertising agency I work for has recently aquired a new local television station as a client. I am in charge of putting together a media plan. In the past, this client has used mostly radio and runs only during sweeps. We have considered recommending cable and billboards and some advertising prior to sweeps. Do you have any suggestions or media strategies that could help us? Is there a place (source) where I can see what has worked well for other tv stations? Thanks for your help

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 01, 2001 ):
The Guru can't suggest strategies without knowing your goals. For examples, try TV Bureau of Advertising.

Monday, June 25, 2001 #4515
Dear Guru, I have found out that media plans made by planners was not based on what we have learn about the concept of Marketing, and that is planning based on specific target market/segment that their clients wanted to reach. For example, a client wants to reach woman 20-45, and children 5-10 middle to upper (Social Economic Status Classification A, B). What planners will do is running ACNielsen's software combining those demographic caracteristics all together : Woman/Children/AB/5-10/20-40 to find the best media/program that would reach the highest rating and reach instead of running it separately : 1. Woman 20-40, A 2. Woman 20-39, B 3. Children 5-10, A 4. Children 5-10, B My proffesional opinion on the way planners plan, was wrong! They would end up with : 1. Combination of reach (Woman, AB 20-40, Children 5-10, AB) 2. Not knowing the exact result of how the product reach at Woman A, an B, also at Children ; not to mention the age yet! 3. A reach that is actually low for each segments, because of insufficient media selectivity. I understant that planners will not like this fact, because they would have put more effort in the future. But tell me your opinion on this ? (theoretically & proffesionally)

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 25, 2001 ):
First, as the Guru sees it, you are not thinking about a media plan, you are talking about determining the schedule of a media buy, resulting from a plan.

Once a target is determined, how to best reach that taget withing the media selected can be approached in various ways. Here you are talking about two compleletly separate targets, not levels of specificity; a group of children and a group of adult women.

One would not expect there to be programs with appeal to both groups. But if single televison homes were common in your country there could well be programs watched by mothers and children together.

Nevertheless, it should be far more effective to buy the best programs for the adult woman group and the best for the kid group than to try for programs getting both audiences. If the software to which you refer is an optimizer it would theoretically examine various programs to find the best schedule, not judge each program on its owm. The key to optimizers is especially to consider what each Added program contributes to buying goals, not each program in a vacuum. Recenf articles in the U.S. indicate that optimizers are used much more as conceptual new business-getting tools than in actual buying situations.

Thursday, June 21, 2001 #4508
Dear guru, Is there any different to make a media plan at segmented television than general television?. (sport television vs entertainment television). should i make a media plan separately for each television?. this because i believe that there is different audience for each television. Thanks/ AM-Indonesia

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 23, 2001 ):
A media plan is aimed at investing the advertising budget to best accomplish goals expressed in terms of the target consumer. What kind of televison to use is merely tactics.

The Guru does not believe these segments can be separated before the plan is assembled. Part of the plan might be devoted to determining how much to invest in each segment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 #4485
I would like to evaluate and/or add some new execution models to my cache for our local retail clients. Models for television such as "bookends" or "roadblocks" seem to be either tired or useless these days. I realize that the efficacy of any execution depends on the goals, strategies and tactics of my plan, but would like to learn of other methods employed in other markets. Any suggestions on where I might find some other multi-media ideas for different categories of clients?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
When you cite "bookends or roadblocks" you are talking about the finest final fine points of buying your schedules. These are simply tricks to optimize reach or frequency, and which have catchy sounding labels.

When you talk of multi-media, ideas you return your thinking to the prliminary planning level.

Cross-media promotion is the sort of approach which best fits. Start by talking to salespeople at the media conglomerates. Companies like AOL-Time Warner and Viacom, for example, have sales specialists to help you develop these approaches.

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 #4482
what is a media planner?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
A media planner evaluates advertising goals to determine media objectives and strategies. These may include market specifics, media environments and communication levels. Then the planner recommends specific vehicles and schedules to best execute these strategies.

Friday, June 01, 2001 #4451
Hi Guru. I've read through your responses to questions relating to "reach and frequency" and "awareness", but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. In setting up goals for a new product launch media plan, we've determined that the overall goal is to generate awareness. What we don't know is the correlation between r/f and awareness. In other words, if we know that we're gong to have an effective (3+) reach of 82.85% and a frequency of 8.63, what % of unaided awareness could we expect to achieve? Will Ostrow's effective frequency model help in this case? Is there a model / matrix used to determine awareness levels? Thanks so much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 01, 2001 ):
Awareness does not correlate absolutely with reach. There are too many other factors, like the quality and memorability of the creative and the advertising environment. Obviously only those reached by the advertising will be aware of the advertising. But there can be wide variance in how many of those reach a given number of times can report awarness in research. Even if awareness corresponded well with reach, there could be varying results due to differences in awareness research technique. Advertisers who do a lot of awarness tracking can build reliable models for thier own use, by tracking results of comparable research studies against known R&F. Similarly, research houses which frequently field awareness studies could get reach and frequencies, for the campaigns tested, and build a model.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001 #4438
Hi Guru, Is there any way we can measure the effectiveness of any online ad campaign?For instance a sponsorship of 3 months can be measured by doing a pre and post research among the netizens. Please advise , thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
Measuring effectiveness starts with setting goals. If your campaign is aimed at awareness or purchase intent then your idea is appropriate. Some campaigns can be measured by click-thru.

Monday, May 28, 2001 #4433
Hi Guru, I am looking for : what is the minimum budget for an international (presence in the 5 continents) btob campaign : target High executives. Could you help me? Where can i find cases as the Big 5 Andersen Consulting, Enst&Young, Price WaterHouse, ... or international advertiser as Suez... Thanks a lot.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
It is impossible to set a minimum from these facts. A small space ad in an international edition of news or business publication, such as Time, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times of London, etc. might be right, but there are probably communications goals to consider.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001 #4340
What is the Best advertsing method for the country of Irland? I need information on Irland's advertising expenditures thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 27, 2001 ):
There is no one best advertising method anywhere where ther are tow methods. It always depends on goals. One medium might have the best reach, another the best efficiency and still another some required format or flexibility.

MediaMonitoring offers ad expenditure info.

Thursday, April 05, 2001 #4314
what are the major strengths of cross-media planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 09, 2001 ):
This question is unclear. A media plan is a process in which one determines which media in what mix best answer advertising goals. Thus one can't really effectively consider anything but "cross-media planning."

But perhaps the term means something different to you?

Thursday, March 08, 2001 #4246
What are the basic steps of creating and running an Online Advertising Campaign?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
  1. Translate advertising goals into media objectives and strategies
  2. Evaluate potential media against these strategies
  3. Negotiate the right deal with the vendors
  4. Order and maintain stewardship of your schedules

Wednesday, March 07, 2001 #4243
Media guru, hopefully you can help me. I am trying to obtain definitions for the following. These phrases get thrown around so often here, but I am not completely sure what they mean; 1) Media strategy? 2) Communications strategy - how does it differ from media strategy? 3) Brand communications as opposed to advertising? Appreciate the help.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
You are right that these phrases get thrown around loosely. Part of the problem is that they have common English meanings and another is that, like many advertising terms, they have different meanings in various English speaking countries.

Looking "from the top down" may help understanding. First of all, generally "strategies" are courses of action designed to meet objectives.

  • Marketing objectives are big overall goals like increasing sales 10% per year.
  • A marketing strategy aimed at meeting this objective this objective might be to use consumer advertising.
  • An advertising objective within this marketing strategy could be to increase trial of the brand.
  • An advertising strategy within this could be a budget for consumer media.
  • A media objective under this strategy could call for building awareness among a new target segment.
  • Media strategies to achieve this objective might include a communications strategy of achieving X% reach in each four week period at a minium of Y average frequency

Brand communications is a broad concept including all messages delivered to consumers and trade via advertising, promotion, public relations, etc.

Friday, February 23, 2001 #4202
We are doing the planning for an acount in a market we have not previously bought. The demo is Adults 25-54. What formula is used for establishing the weight distribution per daypart. If we are asked to buy 150 points per week how do we determine what the percent of each daypart.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 25, 2001 ):
This depends on plan goals. If reach is the main goal, then you can examine a variety of mixes of weight to see the best reach available within the budget. The same technique works if the goal is effective reach or frequency.

In all likelihood, starting with about 20% - 25% in each of 4 or 5 dayparts and changing mixes in 5% increments, you will find very little difference except by adding or deleting prime time totally.

If impressions weight is the key, then just buy according to best efficiency, once your reach minimum, if any, has been met.

Monday, February 19, 2001 #4194
Dear Guru, what is "cost per aquisition" and what do you believe is the most acceptable way to count the effectiveness of a web site? Impressions or unique visitors? This is a huge problem in Greece right now. Every site has it's own general overview of it's performance and visitor's behavior so things are confused. Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 19, 2001 ):
"Cost per acquistion" may refer to the marketing spending required to bring a new visitor to a site, ot the cost of generating a subscriber, or the cost of making whatever sale a site aime at.

Sites have different goals, missions and standards of success. A site might be designed to sell retail products such as books, vdeos, muic, food, cars, etc. These sites may need repeat customers, who buy music every month or more often. A site selling automobiles will probably not see the saem customer more than once in three years once sale is made.

Other sites generate revenue via advertising, still others from subscriptions, and some by conveying information to support corporate image, with a one-time message. If you are evaluating sites as advertising vehicles, and seeking reach, then unique vistors will be the key. >"Brand Visibilty Index" is not a standardized media term. It might be a term invented by one agency or advertsing school to indicate a specific concept they use in describing some situation. It might be an index of Brand GRP versus category average GRP. Or it might be something else based on awareness, clutter, etc.

What may seem important to a site, like building impressions so that it has ad inventory to sell, may be relatively meaningless to an advertiser. Sites with a million unique visitors may be able to sell you as many unique visitors as a site with 10 million, because your needs only call for 200,000 unique audience. Evaluate according to your plan's needs, not the site's claims of success.

Monday, February 12, 2001 #4175
Hello. Hoping you can help. I am trying to understand if there is a trend in the average number of cable networks used in a media plan. Do you happen to know, on average, how many cable networks were used in a media plan in 1997, then the % increase year-on-year for 1998, 1999 and 2000? I have already tried the CAB website and TV Dimensions 2001. Thanks in advance!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 14, 2001 ):
The Guru does not think any such average could be meaningful in the absence of several other factors, such as:

  • Total weekly spending
  • Total weekly cable spending
  • Average rating purchased
  • Other media in plan

The Guru does not imagine a sensible plan specifies "number of cable networks," rather that that figure is the fall-out from budget goals, proposals made, target, importance of content vs efficiency, etc.

Monday, January 29, 2001 #4133
I have been a media buyer for almost three years now. I am just starting to plan media. Can you tell me what are efficient GRP levels for tv and radio buying? I am in the entertainment industry and our audience is A25-54 and 55+. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 30, 2001 ):
Effective levels depend on what you are trying to accomplish:
maintenance of regular purchases, building awarenss of a new product or driving immediate attendance to a short term event.

The plan is all about working through these goals, and making decisions about levels within available budget and communications strategy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 #4120
Which is the best way to decide how many billboards are effective in a specific city?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 26, 2001 ):
Out-of-home media are sold in "showings." These are typically #25, #50 or #100. The numbers indicate that the daily traffic being exposed to a showing equates to impressions which would translate to the indicated number of marketplace Adult TRP.

So, a #25 showing is 25 TRP per day, etc. This means 150 TRP weekly (discounting a bit for lower weekend traffic) and 600 TRP in four weeks. Reach and frequency are given in the defintion of "Showing" in the Media Guru's Encyclopedia of Media Terms

In different markets, billboards will generate different daily effective circulation, depending on traffic patterns, and locations. The outdoor plant operators know how many locations are necessary to achieve each showing level in their markets. Market differences may not be proportional to market size differences. One market 4 times as big as another may need 6 times as many boards.

With this information, you can plan billboards to suit your communications goals.

Wednesday, January 17, 2001 #4106
Guru(s), is effective frequency planning really dead? I have been reviewing the literature and it would seem that the concept of effective frequency is now outmoded and has been misinterpreted, over-simplified etc. I have been a proponent of the effective freq. approach in combination with Ostrow Model. I am loath to abandon, but don't want to be a media anachronism. Your thoughts would be much appreciated. (I have a presentation on Friday, during which I am sure to be grilled on the topic. R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 18, 2001 ):
Effective frequency goals are apparently fading from favor in planning for products with continuous purchase patterns. There are sometimes good reasons, in time sensitive or highly seasonal categories, for example, to consider effective frequency. The distinction is a matter of professional judgement and assessment of marketing goals. This should outweigh planning trendiness, in the Guru's opinion.

Monday, January 15, 2001 #4100
Dear Guru: I am trying to understand the pros and cons of buying media in April for a September launch vs. June for a September launch of a product. The media plan includeds spot/local TV, newspaper, radio and outdoor advertising.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 15, 2001 ):
The Guru would estimate that either timing is far enough in advance that there would be little difference, unless you intend to include a special event or unique medium with very limited inventory. Some outdoor sells out far in advance.

There is alweays a small chance that by June, sales people are getting a bit hungrier about meeting their quarterly goals if the quarter has been soft.

Wednesday, December 27, 2000 #4068
Hi Guru I want to know if there is a software in the market that you can proyect awarness based on your grp goals? Last month I saw something like that but I do not know were can I have. I will appreciate your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 29, 2000 ):
There may be software purporting to do this. The Guru would expect reach to be more relevant than GRP. The Guru would be quite dubious of any such simple, all purpose, solution.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000 #4042
Hi Guru A.S.A.P....Please can you tell me what should a Brand Review presentation contains? what are the steps for preparing such presentaion? Thanks for your help in Advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 17, 2000 ):
The Guru must presume you are referrring to a Brand review from the media perspective. Therefore, without anyother specifications than "brand review" the Guru would put together:
  1. For whatever period of years is specified, the marketing and advertising strategies which guided the media plan
    budget, etc
    emphasizing all changes in any of these
  2. Summary descriptions of the plans by year, i.e.
    objectives and strategies,
    Media Allocation, e.g.: "Primary Medium: Network TV 50%,
    Spot TV 10%,
    Spot Radio 10%,
    National Magazines 30%" or wahtever other media (newspaper, interactive, etc) were used
  3. Learning regarding sales response, ad awareness changes, etc. and media responses to that learning
  4. Plans for next year with alternates considered
  5. As back-up, flow charts, research supporting targeting and media selection, particulars of programming or magazine title selection, spot market selection, sales or awareness research, measurement of any other goals

Monday, December 04, 2000 #4013
Dear Media Guru, I've read all articles about recency planning written by E.Ephrone and i still have a question - can You say for what product categories or marketing goals(like product launch)it is better to use recency or effective frequency planning strategy?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 06, 2000 ):
Recency is based on the idea that the advertising exposure closest to the time of purchase is most effective. Therefore, when products are purchased continuously across time, continuous advertising gives the best chance of exposure to a consumer clost to the time of a purchase.

At times when other issues than maximizing sales over time are dominant, scuh as short term promotions or building awareness of a new product, other scheduling is more appropriate

Thursday, November 30, 2000 #4006
Guru--Can you please provide a suggested percentage of bonus spots for radio stations to include in annual negotiations to meet CPP goals? Also, do you have any suggested resources for more information on annual radio negotiations? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 02, 2000 ):
The Guru would anwser differently to a buyer or a seller. If you want to make na assumption of how far below the estimated rating things might get, that answers your question. Since it's an annual negotiation, you need to determine at what points goals are evaluated, against what ratigns reports, and probably shouldn't see these as "bonus" if they are part of a goal.

In syndicated TV, these are called "recaps" which are spots reserved for the advertiser in case audience efficiency is not meeting the guarantee, but are recaptured by the syndicator if delivery meets projections.

If the marketplace is not unusually volatile, and the estimates are sensible, a very small percentage should be safe The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) may have further advice.

Friday, November 24, 2000 #3983
I am constantly being told that the banner is dead and that clients are moving away from banners to e-mail marketing. Do you think that this demise has been due to lack of targeting and hence ineffective campaigns. Shouldn't the Internet be able to provide one to one advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 24, 2000 ):
The Guru doesn't believe the banner is dead. The Guru doesn't see an upsurge in email marketing.

lack of targetting would be a failing of the online planner, more than the internet. Possibly the appeal of big sites over well focused site is a drawback. Or the pursuit of reach and frequency which are not the best use of internet media. "one to one" advertising sounds more like an email than web function. The Guru believes that anti-spam feeling continues to grow. Email "advertising" offers far more annoyance than sales power. In email, like banners, a fraction of one percent reponse rate is all that can be expected. When goals are not realistic, this rate of return is more likely to to be acceptable in email than banners, given the ad rates.

Friday, November 17, 2000 #3974
Guru- I posted a question on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 #3907 about Cable advertising and you told me to: "Make sure you buy the cable outlets which duplicate least with your broadcast buys." What do you mean by this? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 19, 2000 ):
In that query, you asked about justifying buying cable because of the concern that the broadcast networks undedelivered cable HH. So presumably your desire is to assure that your advertising schedule covers the cable homes which are not reached or exposed to adeqate message frequency through broadcast. Some cable networks tend to be more viewed by ("duplicate with") the same homes which are heavy viewers of broadcast tv and others attract viewers more different ("less duplicated") from the broadcast network viewer. These latter cable outlets better serve your purposes in considering cable.

When going from a plan to a buy, you move from the general (broadcast underdelivers) to the specific (cable network "A" or "B" delivers) to accomplish your goals.

Wednesday, November 01, 2000 #3935
Where do I find information on weekly GRP levels to use in radio for a service that is constant throughout the year, with no seasonality?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 06, 2000 ):
  • Determine GRP from desired reach and or frequency
  • Determine desired reach / frequency from awareness or sales goals; you can only sell to people who are aware of the service.

Friday, October 13, 2000 #3888
what is the difference in media planning to a FMCG product and a dot com portal

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 14, 2000 ):
The difference in media planning between any two categories is about the markleting situation.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods need continuous presence in highly competitive marketplaces which generally rely on retail outlets to complet the circle with consumers.

Dot-coms have different targets, have an end goal of communication alone and will best rely on differnet media.

The planning process, however is essentially the same: turning marketing goals into advertising goals, advertising goals into media goals and answering the goals with the media which best deliver them.

Friday, October 06, 2000 #3871
Is there a software that would allow me to automatically allocate my marketing inventory on cable networks, as well as, optimize the inventory to meet communication goals? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 08, 2000 ):
Existing optimizers will accomplish this with the right data tapes. Consider Telmar's Transmit

Sunday, September 24, 2000 #3832
which are the best mediums to advertise for a insurance client

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 24, 2000 ):
Any can work, think through your marketing goals and advertising goals and the capabilities of the various media.

Saturday, September 16, 2000 #3805
I need to set-up a media plan for a new hand tool what is the best method to go about doing this?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 18, 2000 ):
Determine target, budget, seasonality, if any, communications goals, efficiency and what media environmnet might best support your message.

Wednesday, August 23, 2000 #3739
Guru -- How can I establish an Internet budget as part of an overall media mix? Lets say for the sake of argument that the plan in question is for a traditional package goods advertiser who wants to reach A18-49.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
In the Guru's opinion, reach goals against mass targets can't justify internet budgets for package goods. Virtually all traditional media do a better and more efficient job of reaching such targets.

The internet budget might be justified by a need for an interactive plan element, such as data collection, offering recipes, coupons or other inducements, etc.

Saturday, July 29, 2000 #3663
Dear Media Guru I am a media planner from Pakistan.I need to ask what are the possible comparison tools that we can use while planning for different programs on television.At the moment while planning i calculate cost index, rating index, efficiency index, Avg GRP's, Maximum reach, and avg.viewing miniutes for each time slot. Normally i advertise in time slots with high effeciency index, is this a good comparrison tool for planning or not. Normally the decay factor that i take is 10% is this OK or not. What are the different possible ways to break the adverising clutter on television and increase the possibility of high ad exposure. Thax in anticipation Sarwar Khan Media Manager R-Lintas (Pvt.)ltd. Lahore Pakistan

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 29, 2000 ):
It always fascinates the Guru that countries sharing a common language can use it quite differently when applying it to the jargon of a particular business or interest.

What you are describing as "planning" seems to the Guru to be what he would regard as a buyer's selecting a schedule after a plan has been approved. You haven't mentioned what goals you are pursuing with your schedules. Selecting spots with the best efficiency index (audience versus cost) will get you the greatest total number of impressions, but possibly not the greatest net reach. The best rating is more often likely to lead to high reach, but perhaps not without due regard to efficiency and duplication.

"Decay factor" is an unfamiliar term to the Guru. "Maximum reach" and "average viewing minutes" don't seem relevant to assessing individual spots as the Guru understands the terms.

Overall, the Guru believes you should be comparing possible schedules, rather than individual spots to accomplish planning goals.

Optimizers serve this purpose, but running reach analyses of several schedules can get you there, as well.

Friday, July 21, 2000 #3638
I have requested and received the latest media kits, and have given a single sheet description of the client and the demo to the reps. Should there be an expanded RFP, and how long (or short) should a print RFP be, to be effective?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
The Guru is not supportive of RFPs for print submissions. The concept of the RFP is best suited to soliciting complete solutions to needs. If you could give each vendor your complete print communications goals and were possibly willing to allow one publisher to win the whole budget, then the RFP approach could make sense.

Otherwise, the Guru recommends you specify, target, positioning, frequency desired, merchandising desires, and ad units and not be concerned with the "length" of the request at all. In other words, tell the sellers, as directly as possible, what the buying decision will be based on, and then let them respond. Feel free to request a standardized format for submissions, but allow enough flexibility to receive good ideas.

Thursday, June 22, 2000 #3571
What is the difference between: advertising objective vs. media objective vs. communication objective? What is the best way to do an online branding campaing for a car manufacturer? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 25, 2000 ):
Advertising objectives are a broad set of goals which include media opbectives. Media Objectives are a broad set of goals for a media plan, which include a communications objective.

For example, advertising objectives may include a brand image to establish or a specific level of brand awareness to achieve. Neither of these are media objectives.

Media objectives may include a media target, a media budget, a region of the country or sales index standard for geographic concentration. These are not communications objectives.

Communications objectives may be such goals as minimum average four week reach, frequency, effective frequency, etc.

There are many ways to do any sort of online branding campaign. There is no "one size fits all" best solution. A branding campaing for "the safest car" would certainly differ from one for the car whic is the "best value for a family." It is important to have firmly in mind what "branding" means:

According to marketing consultant Rob Frankel, "Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it's about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem." (sm)

This means that most of what makes a campaign a "branding" campaign is outside of the domain of media. Study the marketing elements of the campaign and judge how you can make the media plan support it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2000 #3535
Hi Guru I think this service is super.Congrats. Now for my question: I am trying to value the cost of an web-alliance and in doing so ,need to define metrics for the alliance. The alliance is basically sponsorship and we will look for exclusivity.What are the metrics you would consider?Which are tangible and how would you measure it?I have looked at CPM,Cost per Click etc.Also,what are the costs for opt-ins ,like email addreses etc.? Your inputs will help a great deal. Thanks Ash

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 11, 2000 ):
Obviously, the answers depend on the goals. An ecommerce site wants to produce sales. Clicks that don't lead to sales are not worth measuring. An ad-supported site wants traffic. Clicks and page loads at the target site are what matters.

The Guru is used to seeing email impressions valued comparably to web impressions, and clicks from email parallel to clicks on the web.

Sunday, June 04, 2000 #3527
Hi Guru,What will be the right measure to evaluate niche media channels : reach,GRP's or Share.This keeping in mind that the niche channels are traditionally viewed and used as frequency channels and are traditionally decided after the mainline reach channels are selected.Regds RKB

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 08, 2000 ):
The right measure will depend on your goals in a given plan. If you are considering niche channels to extend reach among that niche, then the reach added by the potential schedule is the standard. Note that this means how much reach you can add for the dollars available for niche channel investment, and not the total reach of the niche channel itself. It is a common miustake, in the Guru's opinion, to compare media based on an abstraction of their total performance rather than what they can realistically contribute to a specific plan.

By the same token, if the niche channels are to be used as frequency vehicles, then efficiency is probably your best comparison. Share will rarely be most pertinent metric in any case.

Thursday, June 01, 2000 #3515
I am in the interview process for a sales position at a radio station in Portland,Oregon. The Sales Manager has given me an assignment to put together a "faux" sales plan for an imaginary furniture store. I have been researching day and night about ad rates, demographics, etc. I even pulled out my old college books, but my problem is this: I don't know what a radio marketing plan looks like and I can't seem to find a model anywhere. Also, where's the best place to look if I want to find out about furniture-buying habits. Thank You ..Guru!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 01, 2000 ):
Generally, the buyer will control the plan. Your first step would be to find out his or her goals. But here you need to imagine you have received the specs from the buyer. The Guru feels it is important that you maintain the position you are working against buyers' specs.

As to learning who buys furniture and where they shop in Portland, refer to the Portland Scarborough. In the Guru's experience, a buyer in the process of making a buy won't sit still for a station's marketing presentation. The Buyer wants to know rates, ratings and merchandising offers, plus a little about your content and audience overall.

Think less about format and more about making it simple and pursuasive.

Tuesday, May 30, 2000 #3503
Media Guru, I'd like to clarify my question from last week about national media vs. spot media planning. Based on the marketing and communication goals of our client, we have determined that network television is a necessary part of our media mix. We are in the process of aquiring reach/frequency software for national media, but don't currently have it so I can't do a run to determine TRP levels that will generate effective levels of reach/frequency. So, in order to get a feel of what other national advertisers planned, I looked at other plans that contained network television. In looking at those plans I noticed that the TRP levels are significantly lower than spot television plans. Have you noticed that same descrepancy in media plans that you are familiar with? If so, why?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 30, 2000 ):
You must be comparing all-TV plans where one is all spot and the other is all network for these comparisons to make sense, in the first place. If there are other media involved, naturally that will affect TV levels.

In national plans containing both media forms, the network will be mostly low-readh daytime and high-priced prime. So there are reasons to limit investment in each. Spot ususally is concentrated in fringe times, which offer better reach potential than day and better efficiency than prime, so that is one reason for higher spot levels.

In other plan where there is network as well as spot, spot may be used to give extra weight to markets with greater sales or greater sales potential or to fill in market that are underdeliverd by network versus national averages. In any of these cases, spot is typically used at higher levels, but in a short lis of markets.

There is nothing inherent in spot versus network to make spot levels higher than network when either one is the sole medium.

Friday, May 26, 2000 #3500
Guru, I have had a lot of planning experience for spot television and local cable television and am now being asked to plan network television, network cable television and syndicated television. I've noticed after looking at several example plans that network GRPs are often lower than spot GRPs ... Why is that and what are effective GRP levels for network media? Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 29, 2000 ):
The Guru would surmise that in spot, you have seen more promotional or retail-oriented schedules, where noise level is the basis. In network plans, more sophisticated assessments of communications goals may have been made, focused on reach and frequency.

The concept of "planning spot tv" or "planning network TV" is also puzzling. The media choice is the result of planning, not the going-in assignment. Are you part of the buying process moving to network tv where multimedia plans may have been assembled by others, prior to your involvement with a single element?

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 #3479
Are there parameters (highs and lows) for effective reach and frequency? In other words, is there a particular reach and a particular frequency that are considered "average" as they relate to broadcast media? How would one determine whether an advertiser is spending adequate funds to meet these "averages" when airing a broadcast schedule on a Mon-Sun basis?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 19, 2000 ):
The Guru finds the concept of average irrelevant in this context.Such measures are relevant in relation to competition and one's own communications goals. What does it benefit an auto brand if the "average" advertiser has a reach of 50% at 3+ frequency when all automotive competitors are delivering 75% at 3+?

As to turning spending into effective reach and frequency, that's typically part of a media plan. Budget gets expressed as schedules of TV, radio, print, etc. Reach and frequency are calculated by available software for these GRPs. Effective reach / frequency is an inherent part of the calculation.

Thursday, May 04, 2000 #3444
Hi Guru - I'm doing a radio campaign for a small restaurant chain. I have about 3 different station options that will work well. My dilema is that the station that comes out the best is an Oldies format. Not my first choice for a "guy sportsbar". My first choice was a combo of stations - NTR, AC and oldies bringin up the rear. My boss wants to just use the oldies station based on the numbers. I say, since all of the numbers look good - let's go with the 3 station buy. This is not a numbers argument and I don't know what to use to convince him. Any suggestions, or does it matter? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 07, 2000 ):
You don't say on what basis oldies "comes out the best." The Guru would imagine it's based on target rating, target composition, target efficiency or some combination of these.

You also don't say what the communications goals are, reach, effective reach, pure target impressions weight or something else.

You don't say why you don't think an oldies station would be good for a guys' sportrs bar, but the Guru would expect it's probably misguided, as in you like sports bars and you don't like oldies. The Guru has encountered this kind of thinking before; for example in NY or LA buyers who think country music is strictly for lowbrow blue-collar workers and farmers, not considering the format's dominance across many strata in most of the rest of the country.

If all the numbers you can think of favor the oldies nad you don't have research such as Scarborough or MRI to tell you that oldies stations are not listened to by guys who like sports bars, maybe you should just go with the numbers. If reach is an issue buy all three stations.

Generally, when the Guru has encountered a buyer putting "instinct" ahead of numbers in making decisions, it has turned out to be very simple unscientific, personal preference at work.

Friday, April 28, 2000 #3428
I'm working with fast food client in Puerto Rico(PR). PR is very competitive in this category. I like to know what is the effective frequency and reach in sustainning level and promotional period. I know that exist many theorical procedures to found the reach and frequency goals. But i'm very confuse what is the more accurate to this reality(very competitive environment)Please help me.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 29, 2000 ):
Competitive environment, e.g Share of Voice, is one key variable.

Click here to see the Guru's discussion of the Ostrow model for setting effective frequency goals.

Wednesday, April 12, 2000 #3391
Guru, I have been assigned the task of presenting the evolution of online media planning over the years. India has very recently seen some activity in this sphere, but in general the industry stalwarts are a little lost in all this confusion about the web and new media etc. Can you please guide me on the following: 1. How was online media originally planned 2. What kind of models have evolved over the years and which ones do you think have the maximum chance of succeeding 3. Have the traditional full service or media specialist agencies lost out in the race of online media planning. If so why? 4. What is the future for online media planning 5. Do you have a module on your website focussing only on online media planning and buying, parameters of evaluation and similar resources

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 16, 2000 ):
  1. Originally, online media was planned in much the same way as any new medium, like cable TV in the early 1980's. With no audience measurement, planners looked for environment, and justified the medium in general based on who used it overall. Online was, at first, an obvious, high impact choice for computer and software makers. Nest as entertainment and information suppliers jumped on the web, website promotion came to the fore.
  2. The Guru doesn't find that there are a lot of planning "models" in use. As with other media, there are communications goals based plans, direct response plans, and revenue sharing driven plans. Each can succeed, the concepts serve different purposes.
  3. Traditional services haven't been the leading edge, but are catching up by acquisition and adding the services necessary. As the world of online becomes more research and resource driven, "deep pockets" will be important.
  4. As online becomes more established as just another ordinary medium, it will simply be just another choice in media plans, and online planning specialists will probably fade away, just as online agencies spread into traditional media, to fullt serve the advertisng needs of their web-based clients.
  5. AMIC doesn't have any purely online media palnning area. Most of the discussion on our email forum "MediaPlanning" is about online, however.

Monday, April 03, 2000 #3365
how can i evaluate sponsorship of tv and radio programmes and what's the best way to present it to the client. thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 09, 2000 ):
The basis way to evaluate any media opportunity is to compare it to your goals and strategies. This may be about reach or impact or targeting a specific audience.

Click here to see past Guru responses about evaluating sponsorships.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000 #3298
Please describe the major steps and information required for Network TV Media Planning at an Agency. What computer skills are needed or research sources most used to evaluate Network? Are there any trade journal articles that would provide a description of this aspect of media planning, as I am applying for a position in this area, but have not planned Network in many years. What are the current Network $/GRP and target delivery efficiencies? What is the current coverage of U.S. Houselholds, for the three major networks? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 13, 2000 ):
There seems to be some confusion in your terms. The job of an agency Media Planner is to determine which media are best to meet the advertising objectives of the specific product/service.

In some cases this will include network TV.

When an approved paln includes network TV, the Network specifications are turned over to Network TV buyers. The plan's specifications are not likely to include than demographic target and weight goals, budget, timing, dayparts and/or program types.

Network buyers will then review program package offerings and sponsorship opportunities from the networks to meet all the specifications.

Nothing more than a spreadsheet is really needed, but there are some specific TV analysis programs, including optimizers, in use. Nielsen is the basic audience measurement source used.

When optimizers, which are programs that do extensive analysis of program data to select best schedules, came into use a few years ago, there were several trade articles in Ad Age and MediaWeek about the network buy "planning" process. See the one by Erwin Ephron in our Telmar 30th Anniversary Awards section.

Telmar, AMIC's sister company, also offers an optimizer, called Transmit.

See samples of current rates in AMIC's Ad Data area.

Monday, March 06, 2000 #3288
I am doing planning for an image campaign on TV for this Spring (May-June). The are going to be 5 separate spots running under the same theme, but with different messages. Since there are so many spots, about how many GRPs per spot per market should I consider to be reasonable for delivery of each message? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 09, 2000 ):
This is one of those "how high is 'up'?" questions.

Do you need for each spot to be seen by some number of different people? Then buy GRPs adequate to build that reach for each spot.

Does each peice of copy need to be remembered rahter than just the overall theme? Then establish effective reach goals for each execution and buy to required GRP's for that goal.

There are no real magic numbers like "a minumum of 100 GRP's to do X."

It's a matter of setting communications goals either for a campaign or for specific pieces of copy, and buying the needed media to achieve the goals.

By the way, in an image campaign, the Guru would expect that the overall theme is more important than the individual messages.

Thursday, March 02, 2000 #3269
Dear Guru, I am planning for a channel. The channel is a niche channel in India. Basically a youth oriented channel. I was wondering on how to set media weights for the communication. How to stradle between the thematic (brand building) and tactical (traffic generation)campaign. Regards

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 03, 2000 ):
This will depend on marketing goals, budget and Click here to see effectiveness considerations, more than the basis fact of being a youth niche channel.

Monday, February 07, 2000 #3196
Dear Guru: Do you have an information on 'buget cutting'. I have a client that plans to cut l/2 of his original budget. What happens when infufficient funds are appropriated for media use (we have 5 new products to launch). Is it the planners job to tell the client that this remaining budget in not adequate? Any suggestions? Many thanks, as always.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 07, 2000 ):
Yes, sometimes low levels of spending will be completely inadequate to accomplish even a proportionate piece of the goals.

It is certainly a planner's responsibiltiy to advise the appropriate parties of the problem and to recommend alternatives in the form of new goals for which the budget is adequate.

These might include:

  • Reducing the geographic coverage
  • Reducing the advertising activity period, especially if early success could generate new funds
  • Reducing the number of products to be supported at any point in time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000 #3152
How Effective is internet advertizing?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 25, 2000 ):
It depends upon your goals. Click here to see several past Guru responses about internet effectiveness.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000 #3151
How do you measure cause marketing? What is the influence of e-commerce on cause marketing?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 29, 2000 ):
Like any other marketing, cause marketing must set the specific goals to be measured. In some cases, it's donations, in others, volunteerism / memberships or attitiudes or public activity.

Donations or memberships can be measured by actual acheivement. Attitude or action may require survey research on attitudes, awareness or intents.

The question about e-commerce is puzzling. Some causes may have made donations or sign-ups possible on line, and the Guru imagines that this has generated action that might not have otherwise happened. Some commercial e-commerce sites are soliciting donations on behalf of causes or allocating a portion of profits.

Saturday, January 22, 2000 #3145
Another question : How is the recomendated efecttive frequency for a launching campaing, for maintennance, for a promotion. The efective frequency is relative, but the experience and the knowledge of the people there somilars in many countries. Please help me

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 23, 2000 ):
Effective frequency always seems to start from the basic 3+ times which comes out of the original research. Then the next question is what reach level to set at this effective frequency benchmark.

Some planners set various other efeective frequency goals depending upon various marketing factors (see the Ostrow model).

Most simply, introductions and promotions would suggest higher effective frequencies while maintenance can use minimal levels.

Sunday, January 16, 2000 #3122
Dear Sir / Madam, The question that I have is related to media weight setting. q1) Often in the past we have used the market prioritisation technique in BDI / CDI. Having done this we simply super impose the market dynamics to arrive at a market task. Now the question is can we make the BDI / CDI numbers talk harder. Is there a relation between BDI and the frequency required.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 ):
BDI and CDI are typically used to establish the effort which will be made in each market in relation to the other markets. These indices reflect a market's contribution to national sales versus its portion of national population.

The application of the index typically addresses allocation of media dollars or impressions. It could just as easily be used to set average frequency or effective frequency goals, but since frequency grows in a non-linear fashion - the growth rate accelerates as GRPs accumulate, it is simply a more complicated basis for media application.

Friday, December 24, 1999 #3074
what's the best media mix for a portal site?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 25, 1999 ):
The best media mix is based on the portal's marketing goals, target and budget. There is nothing about a portal site, per se, that dictates mix.

New portals today are typically aimed at specific geographic, cultural or special interest groups. Different media have differing relative strengths and contributions to communications in different countries or among different market segments in the same country.

A traditional media plan in support of a portal ought to be built in the same way a plan for any other product category with the same marketing issues.

Tuesday, December 21, 1999 #3067
Is there any standard way of setting Reach & Frequency benchmarks for the Consumer durable category such as Motorcycles, Television, Tyres etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 ):
"Consumer durables" is much too broad to generalize. Purchase cycle, seasonality and budget are the key components for setting communications goals.

Target, media choices and geography might also contribute to level setting.

Thursday, December 09, 1999 #3039
dear guru how can i estimate reach precentages? is their any model that i can study from? i ask you before about raech and you answered that its a judgement decision. i am trying to estimate how many people will wxposed once , twice, and more to my ads on t.v ( old brand, the first time to adverise , direct competitores are not using advertise at all the largest share of voice, the target audience: main shopper with children ) is it enough to compare my case to other t.v campaign which had some close goals( target, budgets, adverisment environment, and so on) or may you has any other way to guide me? please try to help me many thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 09, 1999 ):
There are many parameters to consider for various media and dayparts. Computer models seem to be the only sensible way to deal with all of today's options. AMIC's sister company, Telmar, which has offices in your country (Israel), is the leading worldwide provider of this type of software.

Statistical texts can give you information about some of the basic reach estimating formulas, such as the Beta Bi-modal function.

Monday, December 06, 1999 #3028
what is the best media to reach college students?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 08, 1999 ):
"Best" is a matter of setting goals.

Most targeted are probably the campus newspapers and "wall" media sold by CASS Communications and American Passage.

Best reach for the price and reasonably targeted would be carefully selected radio and possibly cable programming.

Thursday, December 02, 1999 #3017
Is it possible to ignore ROI data and still come up with a numerical range that would constitute a successful click-through rate at the end of an online campaign? If so, what is that numerical benchmark?!?! Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 02, 1999 ):
One can always define success as one wishes. Branding or imagery goals do not rely on ROI, for example. To take a total abstraction of click-through and call it successful with no relationship to ROI or established branding / awareness goals makes no sense to the Guru. At best you might compare your click-through to current average rates which are about 0.5 to 1.0%.

Wednesday, November 24, 1999 #2998
hi media guru please guide me : how can i know how much frequency, reach, and grp is needed for an old brand which first advertise on t.v? ( the target audience: main shoper with young children - 4-8 years old) thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 28, 1999 ):
This is a judgment call. The Ostrow model can help guide setting of effective frequency goals.

Reach then becomes what you can afford or what you need in terms of numbers of sales to become successful judged against anticipated consumer response as a percentage of target consumers reached effectively.

Further, one must keep in mind, since you are writing from outside the U.S., that cultural situations and media environments have a big impact on the matter.

Friday, November 19, 1999 #2991
Media Guru, I have heard that banner advertising on-line is a waste of money. Do you know if there are any facts supporting the ineffectiveness of banner advertising? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 22, 1999 ):
Effectiveness depends upon expectations. If your goals depend on consumer action, i.e. click-thru, you have to determine whether the expected 0.5% click rate will be enough. If you pay a $25 impressions cpm, you might be paying $5 per click. If 10% of those who click will buy, then you need to net over $50 per sale to call the advertising "effective."

If you intend to use banners for branding, you need to compare awareness results with other media. Some research has been done by DoubleClick and The Internet Advertising Bureau to demonstrate branding effectiveness.

Monday, September 27, 1999 #2830
I have read all your responses regarding recency. If you wouldnt mind answering a few more, this is a multiple question predominantly regarding recency as a planning theory. 1) What Telemar program deals with TV R&F on a weekly basis? 2) Do the same audience accumulation formulas work for a one-week cume vs. 4wk or 52 wk? 3) When now planning an a weekly basis rather than a flighted basis are frequency guidelines or goals a consideration in the recency planning theory? 4) Has there been a clear industry swing relative to EF or recency yet? 5) A 1997 JAR article by Erwin Ephron cited some minimum target reach guidelines like 35 weekly, 65 four-week and 80 quarterly. Has there been anything more definitively determined since then (I noticed reply 2631 7/14/99 lowering the weekly reach to 30)? 6) For those espousing recency, is the trend to a 52 presence or extended flighting like 8-10 continuous weeks of each quarter? 7) On the Effective Frequency side, where the defacto goal has centered around the 3+ level, has the time frame shifted to anything other than a 4-week period?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 ):
1) Media Maestro and TV Buyer handle TV R&F.

2) No, formulas differ for one week, 4 week, and long term. 400 GRP, spread ove differend programs might come close to exhausting the reach potential of one week's TV audience, but not if spread over 4 weeks or longer.

3) Recency planning is focused on weekly reach, and incorporates the concept that every exposure after the third one is at the 3+ level.

4) Some have adopted recency, some cling to effective reach. The Guru is not aware of any polls of agencies or advertisers, but suspects that recency is still growing in acceptance, but is a minority approach.

5) The reach minima are a bit loose, and 30 vs 35 is not a major point of contention.

6) The idea of recency is that being there whenever a purchase decision is made is ideal. Flighting, when continuity is affordable and there is no major seasonality is contrary to the principle.

7) Four weeks has always been somewhat arbitrary, likley stemming from the one-time dominance of monthly magazines. But it is a convenient benchmark. A logical approach can set a level other than 3+ or other than 4 weeks, etc.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999 #2795
Dear Guru, I am writing to you from the Middle East. First of all I am very excited to discover the AMIC site. I have recently been exposed to various documentation on the recency theory. Alongwith the documentation I have seen something called reach curves. The reach curves I have seen are typically for 1+, 2+, and 3+ levels for all adults and all women audiences. I understand it is an easy way to translate Effective Reach goals into GRP goals e.g. X GRPs will get you Y% 3+ reach against the target. It also clearly depicts the point of diminishing return. I am eager to know how I can develop reach curves for my market. Can this be done by us in the media department or do we need to approach some company which specializes in this area. What sort of data is required? Just to give you a background, we are not a metered market. TV audience measurement is conducted thrice a year using face-to-face interviews with a representative sample. Viewership is typically available by 15 minute time segments for all channels across various demos. Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
Reach curves have been in use since long before computers were used in media departments and long before metered measurement.

Curves are created by using the reach of actual schedules. For example, in the U.S., Nielsen would report the actual reach of specific brands' schedules, based on examining the net unduplicated viewers in their reasearch data who viewed the program schedules used by the brand's commercials.

Once you have several schedules ( 8 or so will do) with actual reaches and frequencies for various GRP levels, you can use the regression analysis data function in a spreadsheet, like MS Excel or Lotus 1-2-3, to calculate a formula which describes the curve. This formula can literally draw the curve on a graph, or let you build a table of GRP / Reach pairs. By the way, it is the frequency and GRPs which are used in building this regression, because while reach is a curve, frequency is a straight line.

Thursday, September 09, 1999 #2778
Dear Guru I' m interested in any information about 'effectiveness measurement' on online advertising.What are the most important criteria measuring effectiveness of online advertising?Where can i found more about this subject?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 13, 1999 ):
"Effectiveness measures" are many and "most important criteria: depends upon your goals. Some internet campaigns are solely on achieving click-thru, which is easily measured. Others might be based on building awareness, recall, or direct sales effects.

Good sources of on-line ad effectiveness research are C.A.S.I.E. (The Coalition for Advertising Supported Interactive Entertainment) and the Internet Advertising Bureau

As always, the most complete compilation of this research will be at the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, September 07, 1999 #2770
is there a industry giude to minimum TRP level during each week of a radio flight?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 07, 1999 ):
The minimum standard is twelve spots per week per station. Otherwise TRPs must relate to communications goals. It is likely that few buys of less than 50 TRP per week are made, except when something other than communications is the purpose, e.g. trade support, special promotions, etc.

Friday, September 03, 1999 #2766
Hi Guru, What exactly is the Ostrow Model ? How useful is it to the clients ? Is it the last word ? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Ostrow Model with which the Guru is familiar is a grid used to set the correct level of effective frequency at which plans will be evaluated.

20+ factors relating to competitive climate, product involvement, clutter, commercial length, commercial pool, etc are each rated on a scale, say from 2 to 6, which is then averaged to set the frequency level.

Is it the last word? Is it useful to clients? There is always another theory about anything. The usefulness is in creating a reational, well thought-through basis for establishing communiations goals, so that planners can present a logical approach to clients. The approach makes good sense, for those who follow the effective reach style of planning.

Monday, July 19, 1999 #2646
how do you think internet media agencies should be organized? do you think that new media agencies should be organized differently than that of traditional agencies? reasons? also, in your experience, what sort of structure have you seen as the most efficient for a media dept?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
1) Media-only agencies whether they work in new media or traditional media are, of course, organized differently than full service agencies (no creative, or production staff, smaller account services staff, etc).

Otherwise, they need planners, buyers, researchers and accounting, like any media firm. What might be different is the need for strategists, or futurists or some such title, because the internet is making its own rules as it goes along. At one point the new-media firm that created revenue-based advertising placements for CD-Now made a big breakthrough. Now the press is talking about the passing of on-line advertising as we know it, in favor of e-commerce and other direct revenue business models.

2)When the Guru entered the ad business, media department structure was quite different. Beginners ideally started in media research, to learn the basics. Otherwise, the starting positions was assistant buyer, then buyer, Buyers were "promoted" to assistant planner, planner, supervisor and so on. Buying was the junior work, planning the heavy thinking. This all changed when media services began in 1969. To compete with specialized buying services, agencies made buying a separate, specialist group. Was this more efficient? Probably not, it was a response to competitive pressure. In the Guru's opinion, buying became better, from a standpoint of value, through buying services' appearance, though within agencies, buyers became less answerable to planners and therefore, further from advertising goals.

What's the most efficient organization of a media department? From a get-the-job-done perspective, a pyramidal, hierarchical structure, with as little top echelon as possible, and respect for the workers. Clear lines of responsibility and authority.

From a client service perspective, the opposite; all senior level staff in all tasks.

Monday, July 19, 1999 #2643
Dear Guru! I've got the following question. Our client has a product to advertise. He has set advertising goals for the ad campaign. We defined the level of effective frequency needed to reach these goals. 1. What is the range of effective reach? For example, 30%

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
Media plan communications goals should specify a level of effective reach along with specifying the effective level of frequency.

Basic, as well as more advanced media software, calculates reach and frequency, frequency distribution and reach at various (effective) frequency levels. Input is typically GRPs.

Setting an effective reach goal can be based on gut, such as reaching the majority of the target at effective frequency levels in 4 weeks, or based on sales predictions. For example, this might be an estimate that 10% of those reached efectively will buy and X number of sales are the goal. Then 10 times X are the number who must be effectively reached.

Wednesday, July 14, 1999 #2631
While there are different parameters ( creative, media, marketing ) to set the effective frequency for a media plan there seems to be no parameter for setting reach. What are the different ways to arrive at reach objectives for a plan

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 15, 1999 ):
There are many approaches.
  • awareness goals: Ad awarness won't get higher than reach, obviously
  • comfort levels: When working with an effective frequency level, the Guru wants to reach the majority of his target effectively over four weeks
  • Affordability
  • recency: Recency says that maintaining some level of weekly reach is more effective than flighting, for products with regular purchase (threshold is 30 reach per week)
There are numerous variations.

Tuesday, June 01, 1999 #2551
I have some questions about preparing for the upcoming Olympics/Election Year for local spot TV buying and planning: 1) Should you buy early? How early? 2) Is it important to stress to clients that they should pay for Olympic programming? Should not? Why? 3) Where can I find research on effectively using hiatuses during election periods? 4) Where can I find research on programs that traditionally do well despite Olympics rating skews and election clutter? 5) Find research showing types of programming to avoid? 6) Tips on Planning during these years? Adequate anticipation of rate increases? Thank you very much!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 05, 1999 ):
1. Buy Early. If you are buying significant volume, move before the network upfronts move. To a great extent it's the impact of Olympics / Elections on network inventory that makes spot tighten excessively. For sure, ther won't be any firesales at the last minute and buying as late as usual will mean facing higher costs.

2. Any plan should be recommending programming options according to how they serve marketing and communications goals. It isn't a buying issue, it's a planning issue. The Olympics are just another programming option during a few weeks of the year.

3 - 6. As always the best source of all the types of research you list is the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. But the Guru will offer some comments.

3. Most plans have hiatuses anyway. If you can plan them at the worst time of Olymcis / elections' effects, so much the better.

4. So much has changed since the last Olympics / elections tear that history may not be useful. Cable has about 30% of Prime time viewing these days, much more than last cycle. There is only one Olympics season during this election year instead of the historical two.

Monday, May 17, 1999 #2509
Media Guru - I just read your responce to question #2507. Numerically, your answer may be correct that turning 200 pulsed TRP's into 100 continous TRP's may be more effective. (recency theory) It may not however be realistically the best course of action. Recency assumes that your advertising is ongoing reminder advertising and that your brand is well established. Also, purchase patterns and frequency are important. In terms of media, you have to consider what will 100 TRP's afford you? If you are in 2 or 3 dayparts in TV you will have a handful of spots, that the prospect will be lucky to see. I think that recency has to be balanced out with other marketing and media factors, including impact.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 ):
As the Guru said in that response, the concept applied "particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly."

Recency does not make assumptions about product establishment -- though some practicioners may. In fact the original statement of the thesis emphasized the point, for effective frequency adherents, that after the third exposure, every exposure was at "three plus" and looking at abstractions like three plus in a set time frame was not necessary. About 60 GRP per week has been identified as a workable threshold of effectiveness.

Regarding dayparts, any mix of daypart is likely to deliver an average rating in the 5 to 8 range. Unless you have frequency goals by daypart (why?), 100 vs 200 seems a moot issue.

The net effect on consumers, at the end of four weeks, whether you have run 100 GRP per week or 200 GRP in weeks #1 and #3 only, will be about the same, in accumulated reach and average frequency.

The biggest difference will be in average reach per week (or per day). Your point makes a big issue of a time frame called a week, which is just an abstraction and a common convenience in looking at schedules.

Thinking of the schedule you would select to run 200 GRP in 7 days, why must it differ if spread over 14 days?

Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2506
We have a client who always hears our radio spots (I believe that is a good thing) but thinks they are worn out due to the high exposure. We do not agree as we are running 200 GRPs/wk. for 40 weeks with five spots with a 20% rotation for each spot. We believe that wear out is difficult as frequency is one of the goals of radio and due to listening habits. Is there an industry standard to determine when a radio commercial is worn out? For example, I know packaged goods advertisers who use TV look at the reach at the heaviest viewing quintile. If reach exceeds 25% they considering replacing or resting the spot. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
Wear-out is

1. Subjective 2. Variable depending on the quality and memorability of the copy.

Rules of thumb the Guru has seen include

  • "It's worn out when the client starts asking". . . or
  • 2000 GRP -- you're getting close on that one . . .or
  • 20 (or 25 or 30) frequency in the second highest quintile -- you're probably past that one, and have at least a 20 average frequency depending on your target and dispersion.
  • . . . and the one that really makes sense is tracking sales and making a change in the copy when the sales trend drops.

Monday, May 10, 1999 #2502
I've always looked at communication goals in terms of effective reach. Determining effective reach goals can be different agency to agency. That is fine. My issue has to do with combining broadcast media with print media. Can there be an effective reach goal when these media types are combined? In a discussion with my Media Director, they felt that there can only be a 1+ goal. That the concept of effective reach curves were developed on a broadcast model and that print cannot be combined. If not why? I would love your opinion and insight. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 11, 1999 ):
First, the 3+ concept goes back 115 years, to a researcher named Ebbinghaus, who found three repetitions of a series of nonsense syllables was needed for "learning" or memorization.

Combining media to achieve 3+ goals depends on a variety of philosophical judgements:

  • Is the message sufficiently similar, between broadcast and print, so that repeats of either count equally toward establishing the information in the consumer's mind? (unlikley)
  • Determining what level of reach should be achieved at 3+ and/or whether 3+, 4+ or another level should be set as "effective" usually depends on issues like the competitive pressure in the media used, clutter in the media selected, message complexity, category appeal, category novelty, etc. Many of these evaluations would have different results in different media.

It seems to the Guru that the issue is not whether to look at 1+ versus 3+ but whether to consider effectiveness medium-by-medium or in total.

The bottom line would depend on whether the communication focus is on the specific message, which leads to medium-by-medium evaluation, or more on brand or ad awareness, which leads to combined media evaluation.

Friday, April 30, 1999 #2480
What would you advise as an effective plan on determning an efficient ROI on the net

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 30, 1999 ):
If the question is "how does one measure ROI for intertnet advertising?" the key to the answer is in how you set your goals.

In the simplest scenario, your goal is to sell a product or service. If your advertising is web banners, and the banners click through to a page where the product is sold and there is no other source of the product, obviously sales dollars ÷ ad dollars is the calculation you need.

In any other case, it's the same as determining ROI in all marketing scenarios. Did you advertise to biuld image or awareness? Do pre/post research on the change in awarenss or perception and comapre against $ spent.

Tuesday, April 20, 1999 #2455
Dear Guru! We are to compare several advertising strategies as an independent expert. We are going to start with setting some criteria for comparison. For instance, such criteria could be: whether the strategy proposed fits the clients brief, whether it reaches the goals set by the client, whether efficiency evaluation is correct, whether information is presented in convenient form and so on. But at the same time we reckon that some weighting factors shold be applied to each criteria because their importance seems to be of different value. The question is: are there any standard criteria known and what are their weights? Probably, there is some literature on this subject. Many thanks, in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 20, 1999 ):
The Guru is wondering what expertise you are offering, in order to help you maintain this positioning.

The Guru has been known to say things like "media are not good or bad except in relation to how they answer the specific advertising goals."

The criteria suugest you are judging an academic excercise, in which case strategy meeting criteria of the brief and clarity of presentaton would be of greatest importance. If you are a real consultant helping an advertiser evaluate pitches, then accurate efficiency estimates rise in importance. In either case, considering whether the plan actually fits its own stated strategy is another consideration too often overlooked.

In any case, the Guru has not seen any standard weighting of the factors, and believes they should vary according to the specific situation.

Friday, April 02, 1999 #2427
My AE has asked me to determine how much of the clients budget should be allocated to media spending. I believe this should be the AE's decision. How can I determine what should be spent on media and/or how can I help the AE to decide? GRP's

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 02, 1999 ):
If you've been given communication goals, like "100 GRP per week for 26 weeks", or "60 reach at 3+ frequency when in, for 26 weeks of activity" then it is fair to ask you to determine a budget, but the Guru imagines your AE's question has been asked in total information vacuum.

You're quite right then, that this is a decision that should be made before media planning comes into play.

Regardless of who makes the decision, considerations must first allocate budget to PR vs Promotion vs Advertising, in the broadest strokes.

Within advertising there's production vs research vs media.

You need to ask for the client's overall marketing plan, as your AE should have, if it wasn't the AE's responsibilty to create one from client information.

Of course, you can look at this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you can do the AE's job, since you've been asked to.

Tuesday, February 23, 1999 #2354
I am a student working on a media plan for a new product in the fast food industry. The restaurant is well established and my target is 18-34 males. I am in the Lexington, KY market and wondering what would be a good reach estimate.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 25, 1999 ):
This question lacks most of the necessary information. First, the Guru must assume that you want to know what would be a suitable reach Goal. Establishing communication goals in a scenario like the one you describe will depend mostly on the competitive climate: what levels are being acheived by the other advertisers seeking the same target for similar products?

At times the standard can be based upon levels that the same advertiser has found to be successful in prior launches, but that too should depend on judging whether the competitive climate this launch faces is comparable to what was faced by the prior successful launch.

Thursday, February 18, 1999 #2347
As a buyer I have always been given the necessary information needed to put together a buy. I am currently in a new position, and I am being asked to provide information that I've never concerned myself with before, or gotten involved with the how's or why's of the decision. I'm in dire need of help. Here goes: I have been asked to determine the number of GRP's that should be used in a proposal for a new client. I have not received any budget information. The schedule will run 6-8 months, my demo is A 25-35 and the GRP's should be spiked during the 1st & final week of each month. Also, I am to include TV, Cable, and Radio. My question is: Do I simply request avails from the various TV & radio and cable stations within the market, put together a proposed schedule based on the avail information I receive, and add up the number of GRP's accordingly? HELP!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 18, 1999 ):
Congratulations, today you are a media planner. But apparently you are working with people lacking professional advertising experience or perhaps a retail client.

You either need some marketing goals input or you need to suggest some goals and get agreement before proceeding. You have been presented with a question equivalent to "how many pounds of nails are needed to build a building?"

You need to know how big a building, what materials it will be made of, how many nails in a pound, to what use will it be put and how big must it be?

To recommend schedule weights you need either a budget or a communications goal to deliver. In media / marketing terms you need to establish -- whether you are given direction or someone accepts your suggestions:

  • What has priority: Reach or frequency?
  • is there a minimum reach or effective reach to attain; per week, in four weeks, or in total?
  • To help answer those questions, if no simple answer is available, you might ask is it a new or established product or service?
  • What levels are used by the competition, if any?
  • Are there any specific product awareness, ad awareness or sales volume goals?
  • (In planning advertising, assume everything is a result of advertising: there is no awareness among people not reached; there are no sales to people who are not aware of the product.)

Knowing all this, you could examine reach frequency and continuity impact of various levels and combinations of your media choices. In other words, you somehow need to establish what must be accomplished by the GRPs, before you can decide how many to use.

It is puzzling, in this great information vacuum, that someone has decided to "spike" certain weeks. Apparently there is some information around which you haven't yet been given.

Friday, February 12, 1999 #2328
Our agency has had some recent difficulty in posting about 90% is some spot markets. We are looking for research and/or articles that say whether other agencies are having trouble as well. We have read some research that talks about network erosion -- but nothing that mentions how this relates to post buys. Any thoughts?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 15, 1999 ):
The Advertising Research Foundation library will have information published on the topic.

The Guru doubts that network erosion is a part of your problem, unless you are buying mostly day and prime on affiliates and doing buys and estimates a couple of years ahead of posts.

The ability to post within 90% depends on two factors

  • The accuracy of buyers' estimating techniques, and
  • the stability of program performance

Network erosion is small but steady and easy to allow for in projections. Buyers' estimates are usually primarily based on historical usage trends and most recent share performance plus some intelligence about programming changes. Unless there are very volatile schedules, estimates should be within +/- 10%. Some will be over by more and some will be under by more, but these should balance. Some buyers may be overly optimistic, so that buys appear to come in on goals, but this practice causes just the sort of post-buy problems you seem to be facing.

Wednesday, December 16, 1998 #2223
dear guru- what is the best way to analyze magazines once proposals come in? Obviosly we want to evaluate comp, cov, cpm, positioning, added value, etc. do you recommend an excel spreadsheet with weighted averages? Is there one already set up on the site to download? Just looking to do this the smartest possible way. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 20, 1998 ):
All these factors, as well as some others, like added reach, and authoritative editorial are possible considerations. One can even consider the degree of the match of the magazines total impressions demographic distribution with the overall distribution of the purchaser.

It is extremely simple to build a spread sheet, making magazines the rows and making the specific factors the columns. Weighting ought to be set up as changeable so that it can be different from one advertiser's plan to the next, depending on goals. It will even be interesting to consider how magazine rankings change, when different factors get differing weightings within the same objectives. For example when reach is more important than frequency, is the magazine list very different than when these factors' importance is reversed?

Of course, the best approach is to independently compute the data using a syndicated data base (such as MRI, SMRB, MMR, TGI, PMB, etc.) and software such as Telmar's (AMIC's sister company) which handles all of the above data as well as many additional capabilities such as reach/frequency analysis and optimization.

Monday, December 14, 1998 #2219
Dear Guru, How would you define the role of a media buyer? And what would you say are their principal tools and techniques?

Have you any suggestions as to where I can obtain information on media buying from a complete novice angle? How closely are media planners and buyers related if at all?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 19, 1998 ):
Generally, a media buyer's role is to negotiate the purchase of broadcast time or print space in accordance with the goals established in the media plan. More often, people with the buyer's job are broadcast specialists and print is often negotiated by the planners. There are more and more print specialists. This differs from country to country and according to agency size. Smaller agencies in the U.S., for example, often use planner / buyers.

Tools are the research to evaluate the value and appropriateness to fulfilling goals of the media possibilities. The techniques use various calculations and evaluative processes to compare media and negotiating techniques applicable to any form of negotiation.

The media planner's job is to determine which media will meet the advertising goals of an advertiser, within stated marketing and creative parameters. This means selecting media, designating vehicles within the media, determining levels of media to use and timing.

For the basics, try one of the media planning texts from Amazon .com in the AMIC Bookstore.

Wednesday, December 09, 1998 #2210
I need to provide some rationale for radio advertising for a local, full service nursing home (demo w50+.) goals are to increase the number of people in the actual nursing home, as well as its independent living and assisted living facility. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 10, 1998 ):
If you want to justify radio for a target of 50+, you need to compare radio's audience and efficiency versus other media. And to focus on the various, highly 50+ skewed formats radio offers.

But the Guru thinks your target might need re-consideration. In the Guru's contact with nursing home admissions, it has been apparent that the decison is rarley made by the patient, but instead by family members, particularly their children. The overall decision that a nursing home is necessary may be made by a hospital, at discharge, as often as by family, but specific selection is usually by family.

Wednesday, December 02, 1998 #2193
Dear Guru! We were asked to prepare a presentation for one of our clients about media planning, since he works with several agencies and wants to concentrate the media planning in one of the agencies' hands. I visited the "parts of a Media Plan" which I found very helpful. Do you have some other tips? Specifically, we were asked to present a formula for a benchmark acocrding to we recommend to define what reach is needed for a campaign. Basically, we define it according to various factors such as competitors' share of voice, share of market goals etc. but we don't know any formula. We should be grateful if you supply any guidelined in this matter.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 02, 1998 ):
You just need to formularize the thinking you are already doing.

For example, you could say that your formula to set reach for a campaign to equal competitor's share is:

Competitor's Reach times an index calculated by comparing the goal share to your current share. (i.e. to increase share 25%, exceed competitor's reach by 25%).

The Guru is not recommneding this particular formula, just illustrating how to turn philosophy into something apparently quantifiable.

Another approach is to build a matrix of your factors and set a 5 point scale for each; for example competitor's share: 0 point if it's equal to yours 1 point if it's 10% better, 5 points if it's 50% better, etc. Suppose you have 8 factors based on the sort of considerations you mentioned. Suppose further that you set a minumum for all campaigns of 50 reach (reaching the majority of the target). Now add a reach point for every point in the matrix. You have a maximum of 40 added points (90 reach), and an apparently highly logical "formula" for getting there.

The cleverness will be in setting up each 5 point scale. Or perhaps youy will have fewer factore and more possible point on each scale.

Monday, November 30, 1998 #2184
Where can I find video tape and or books regarding specific award winning advertising strategy campaigns?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 30, 1998 ):
The leading strategy awards - as in meeting marketing goals - are the Effies

Friday, November 13, 1998 #2154
I am working on a pharmaceutical drug and need to make a media recommendation. I have the marketing goals, targets, etc. Other than the traditional quantitative resources (runs, quintile analysis, comp/cov, etc) what qualitative resources can I evaluate to determine media mix and title/program selection? For this industry are there any unique studies or obscure methods of researching and media planning? Thanks Guru - your help is invaluable

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 13, 1998 ):
See Query Number 2093, of October 13

Monday, November 09, 1998 #2142
On an interview I was recently asked the following question: "If I were a client and I told you I had a budget of $3MM, what would you tell me to do?" I find this question extremely broad, esp. considering I do not have all of the factors required in advance before making a recommendation (i.e.,marketing objectives, targets, etc.) What is the best way to answer this on an interview without giving too much information? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 09, 1998 ):
Assuming that the specific job gave no clues (i.e. you weren't interviewing for a job selling a specific medium), and you were just interviewing for a job at some level in media planning at a general agency, the Guru thinks you were on the right track; your answer should have been:

"That's an extremely broad question. I would tell the client that we need to know marketing goals, advertising targets, geographic concentrations, etc, before making any recommendations regarding media investment.And then I would offer help in collecting and analyzing the information."

Of course, the danger in such a response is that the interviewer will realize you're smarter than the interviewer.

Thursday, October 22, 1998 #2109
Let's say I am live in a country where television technology is in a relatively primitive state but is expected,in a few years time, to graduate to most of the technological choices available to veiwers in the West. Could you refer me to a discussion of how technological advances, taken to mean more than a simple proliferation of channels, affects media planning ? Anirvan

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 23, 1998 ):
> The Guru would say that technological advances in media do not themselves change media plannning. The planning process, i.e. making the best choices among media to answer marketing goals, just becomes more complicated when there are different media choices. Often this complication is answered by technology, that is, computerized planning tools.

In the case of a "primitive country," new technology that exists elsewhere can simply be imported, rather than the evolutionary entry it may have undergone in its home country. making planners suffer throough more rapid learning curves.

Wednesday, October 07, 1998 #2079
I am very curious about Internet advertising. I have the following questions to ask : Are there any studies that explore which variables determine effectiveness (defined as the ability to generate click-ons)in Internet advertising ? Can you refer me to any case studies or examples of outstanding Internet advertising ? Were I to plan for an Internet-based campaign,can you provide me with a check list of issues to keep in mind?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 07, 1998 ):

Friday, October 02, 1998 #2068
Hi Guru! We have a client who has $80-100,000 extra budget to spend this year. The budget has to be spread out nationally (in over 150 markets). We were offered a full page ad with a magazine (that reaches our demo) with a circulation of 7.6 mill. for 90M. We were also considering running a cable schedule on only one station since that's all we could afford. Which do you think is the better option? In addition, we are looking to run the first 2 weeks in December.Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 02, 1998 ):
There really isn't enough information here to make an informed decision. For instance, a lot would depend on what media are in the base level of the plan, what your base reach and frequency are already, and what are your goals.

But let's play with it anyway: Suppose your magazine is Better Homes and Gardens, which reaches 26% of Adult Women. You would be achieving 26 Reach, a frequency of 1.0 and, of course. 26 Women GRPs.

Let's suppose your cable network is Lifetime. Does your money buy 26 GRPs there? More ? Less? It might get you 13 reach and a frequency of 2.0. Which is more important to you, reach or frequency? Does the magazine or does cable offer better content as an environment for what you are selling?

You need to reduce the question to specific factors which you can evaluate.

Monday, September 28, 1998 #2058
Hi Guru, we 'meet' again. What is the best choice of media to be used while advertising for a major shopping mall? Are there any case studies or previous campaigns I can refer to?. Thanks for your replies Guru.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 28, 1998 ):
"Best media" is always relative to the marketing goals. You will probably want to focus on media which closely cover the trading circle of your mall.

Newpapers, radio and out-of-home are the ones most often thought of on a smaller local basis.

Your target and whether you are doing image advertising or promoting a sales event will also be a factor.

AMIC is about to establish a library of model media plans including the retail category, but it isn't there yet.

Friday, August 07, 1998 #1996
What is the difference between a vertical and a horizontal television roadblock? And could a "heavy" cable schedule on on several targeted cable networks on a given day be "technically" considered a roadblock?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 08, 1998 ):
"Technically" a roadblock is a concept that goes back to the days when the 3 big broadcast networks owned 95% of the TV audience (20 or so years ago).

The idea was that by scheduling your commercial to run at the same moment on all three, e.g. first commercial in the first pod of the 9:00 program, you reached the entire viewing audience, unduplicated, as if you had bought a single program with a rating as big as the three put together.

With half the audience now spread over numerous independents and cable networks, some without advertising, roadblocks are no longer realistic goals.

The "vertical roadblock" concept doesn't seem to make any sense in this context.

Monday, July 20, 1998 #1962
Thanks for your response to my question (#1955.) I was refering to average frequency NOT effective frequency. In addition, our buys are targeted to the same demo, Men 25-54. Do these clarifications add any new light to your thoughts? I maintain that an average frequency of three (3) per radio station per week requires reducing the number of stations purchased which in turn reduces my reach and overall delivery. Any new thoughts. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 20, 1998 ):
The problem seems to be lack of a specific communication goal.
  • Is the plan goal maximum reach?
  • Is the plan goal optimal reach at an average frequency of 3 or more?

Once there is agreement on this, it is a simple matter to construct paper buys to illustrate what is acheived buying with and without the requirement of an average reach of 3 on each station and how each contributes to agreed goals (a buyer should not decide independently that reach is the overall goal).

The Guru notes that he does not generally support buying to goals based on set frequency per station. Some stations with low turnover will build reach slowly while frequency mounts quickly. A 3 frequency will come too early in that station's reach curve, while another station builds reach quickly and frequency slowly.

Monday, July 06, 1998 #1937
Dear Guru, I'm trying to find info on the relationship between reach and frequency known as the prime axiom in media planning. Such as, what it is, why is it useful and how is it directly or indirectly measured? Also, I need research on the volatility of broadcast media. For instance, how can broadcast media avoid law suits if they fail to run a commercial. I'm frantically completing a take home exam for a graduate class and can't find research on these topics. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'll let you know if we get an "A."

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 07, 1998 ):
One wonders at the sort of course where these terms matter but are not thoroughly taught. Reach and Frequency are the weights and measures of a media plan.
  • "Reach" tells you how many different people are exposed to an advertising schedule. It is commonly expressed as a percentage of a target group's population. E.g. 75 percent reach among women 18-49.
  • "Frequency" tells you the average number of exposure to the schedule experienced by the people reached.
The usefulness should be obvious: no matter how great or impactful an ad may be, it will not sell product unless it reaches enough people and reaches them frequently enough to have an effect on their behavior.

The various research tools media planners use which measure the audience of TV shows, radio stations, magazines, etc can also tell us how many people are reached by schedules of several uses of theses programs and books. From these direct measurements, statistical models are built which can estimate the reach and frequency of schedules being planned. Media Planners can therefore compare alternate schedules to determine which ones will best meet reach/frequency goals.

Thinking of pure arithmetic relationships, reach and frequency are linked with GRPs -- Gross Rating Points. When the ratings (audience as percent of target group) of all the individual ads in a schedule are added up, the resulting total is GRP. GRP divided by reach = frequency and reach X frequency = GRP. 2. Mistakes happen. Fine print in contracts protects broadcasters against liability if they inadvertently miss airing a commercial, or deliberately do so because a higher paying advertiser comes along, or because the decide to air a news special. etc. Their only obligation is typically to give a "makegood," another commercial location with equal or better quality.

Monday, June 22, 1998 #1915
Do you know of any awareness tracking studies or models that relate recall by medium to purchase intent? Would it be feasible to carry out this kind of effectiveness study to determine what kind of results a media placement agency is delivering to clients?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 25, 1998 ):
No doubt some users of recall tests have made an effort to relate recall to sales or purchase intent. This involves using their own, proprietary test scores and sales data. It is possible that the Advertising Research Foundation Library or the archives of their Journal of Advertising Research or conference presentations include the sort of analysis you need.

However, whether this is a basis for judging the performance of a media service is another question altogether. Has the media service been instructed to buy for optimal recall? Has the media service been instructed to buy to optimize purchase intent? In the Guru's experience, these are rarely part of the media goals conveyed to a buyer. More often, buying efficiently or to achieve a reach, frequency or effective reach goal is the instruction.

Further, if you wish to make recall or purchase intent your standard of evaluation, it only makes sense if you share the model you wish to use with your buying service

Thursday, May 14, 1998 #1596
Dear Guru, what is bases testing or basis testing?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 14, 1998 ):
From the BASES site:

"BASES Worldwide is the world leader in helping marketers ...

... estimate the likely sales volume of initiatives before market entry,

... diagnose the key drivers of and limiters to the sales volume potential, and

... improve the sales and profit potential of their efforts."

There are 5 or 6 different models used depending on marketers' needs and goals.

Thursday, May 14, 1998 #1592
Dear Guru, There are two questions I wish to address to you: 1. Is there any rule of thumb regarding the weight of 10'' spots? How effective can a relatively 'small' campaign composed chiefly of such short spots can be? By a small campaign I mean one that has arounc 300-400 GRP. 2. When it comes to factors that either enhance or lessen the effectiveness of a campaign, are there any conventions regarding the use of relevant factors? The order in a break may be a more familiar example but there are other factors that one may incorporate to a media plan, e.g whether the commercial is new or not. Thank you so much for the attention Iris Kalka Pelled3 Communications

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 14, 1998 ):
1) The Guru's rule of thumb in general, is if the effectiveness - relative to a :30 - is better than the price ratio, a :10 can be a good investment. In the early days of :15s in the U.S., they were evaluated as about 75% as effective as :30s, and sold for 50%, so they were popular. The Guru believes he has seen research to say a :10 is worth 75% of a :15.

However, you are posting from Israel. Your local standards may be different, because of the different culture and different media environment, clutter, media mix, etc. If you can ascertain a local effectiveness ratio, you can make an informed decision.

In any case, the Guru believes these short executions are best used as a supplement to longer copy. The Guru does not believe most creative people would be comfortable with only :10 copy and just 300-400 GRP. 2) The number of factors, such as break position, age of commercial, complexity of message, product interest, etc, which can be influential is almost infinite. The relative influence is a judgement call. Evaluating through a logical process, by establishing your rules and executing them, is best.

The Guru has seen these factors used to develop an effective frequency basis for a media plan's communication goals. In this way all considerations come down to a single number.

Saturday, February 21, 1998 #1507
Question: What are the various pros and cons of the respective television dayparts when determining daypart mix or dispersion? I've perused ARF and Newsweek's archives and can't find anything regarding "rules" of the daypart mix.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 21, 1998 ):
The Guru doesn't feel there are explicit "rules," per se.

Considerations include:

A daypart mix will reach more people than the same dollars in any single daypart.

Dayparts chiefly differ in

  • rating size
  • cost per spot/cost per grp
  • audience compostion (proportion of genders, ages, etc)
  • and viewer attentiveness

A plan's communication goals should specify which of these aspects matter and to what degree, allowing the planner to make an intelligent choice in mix by examining how well the various possibilities deliver the goals within the budget.

Tuesday, January 27, 1998 #1494
Dear GURU I am interrested in media planning consultancy services. What are the most important services that these consultants offer? Would you please give me a list of the consultants company's servers. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 28, 1998 ):
The key service of such consultants is linking marketing goals to media solutions. See AMIC's "Web Sites" area, under Media / Consulting Services.

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 #1478
I am adressing the respectable guru with a question regarding servicing two or more mutualy competitive clients (within the same industry). I come from media specialists company in a small market (Slovenia - not Slovakia - with 2 mio. inh.) and we are facing with this problem as companies are adressing us, but we are already working for their competitor. Some clients have no problem with such a situation as it can be efficient (joining the budgets for research for example) for both. The problem we have is what to do while planning. Let's presume we have two clients from washing powder industry and we are making a plan for both - it is like ly that the same breaks would appear in final selection and the problem may arise if we need the last ad in break: which one should get the better placement? Should we put them into the same break in the first place? Any thoughts on this matter would be very appriciated. Is serviscing two companies within same industry exceptable at all? Thank you in advance for your answer. Andraz Zorko, SLOVENIA (not Slovakia)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 16, 1997 ):
The Guru's thoughts on this matter are based on U.S. experience. The Guru's international experience tells him principally that issue like the on you raise are treated differently in various countries. For example, in the UK, once a position has been sold to one advertiser, it is still possible for another to buy the position out from under the first advertiser at the last minute, by offering a higher price.

In the U.S., in certain industries, such as toys or fashion, it is not considered ethically questionable for one agency to have several "competing" clients.

From a marketing perspective, the Guru would think the two competing washing powder brands would be better served by not being in the same break. A careful analysis of all the marketing issues and communications goals ought to allow you to decide that the break is more appropriate to one advertiser than the other.

Keep in mind as well, that a plan is more than just one break. (except in the case of some US plans based solely on the Superbowl). Any one break might not be crucial to any one plan.

Saturday, October 18, 1997 #1438
Dear Guru Could you please give me your views/suggestions on the following: 1. How can you set media objectives for a banking client in a market with only two major competitors; both of whom do not have a clear-cut advertising campaign? Would a % above last years GRP levels be appropriate; in proportion to the market share desired? What other parameters should I consider? 2. Qualitatively or quantitatively, how can front page solus positions in newspapers be compared with inside pages and ear panels? 3. And lastly, how do you add TV and press GRPs; for a specific audience? Sorry about the long query. Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 18, 1997 ):
As a rule, the Guru sets media objectives based on marketing goals, not competitors' activity. Some marketing goals do indeed lead one to comparsions with competition, and awareness of competitors' plans is always a consideration.

If the key marketing goal is share growth, then a proportional increase in weight is one approach. But consider that share, like reach, exhibits an asymptotic curve. In other words, it can't pass 100%, so the higher it goes, the more effort is required to "move the needle."

Consider: You first assume that "X" amount of GRP's are required just to maintain share, on the assumption that competitive activity doesn't vary (and that advertising is the only variable influencing share).

Have you considered whether current share is proportional to share of GRP weight among competitiors?

Would 50% more GRPs grow share by 50%? No, if only because it increases the size of the total advertising arena. Your 50% increase in GRP does not increase your share of GRP by 50%, so calculate the right number to increase share of GRP, if you follow that philosophy.

But since there are competitors, perhaps it takes 50% more weight to gain 25% more share?

Newspaper positions can be compared on a basis of noting, reading, recall, etc. In each country or culture (you are writing from India), the relative power of media and the way consumers relate to them are different.

In the U.S., for example, a front page ad in a newspaper would be quite unusual if not unheard of.

Contacting the U.S. Advertising Research Foundation or ESOMAR, the European Survey, Opinion and Marketing Research organization, or your own country's newspaper advertising association may turn useful up research on positioning.

The Guru treats GRPs of different media as simply additive. When there are established effectiveness factors, as some advertisers have developed, GRPs may be accordingly adjusted before adding, in comparing plans.

Wednesday, July 23, 1997 #1377
Enjoyed learning from your answers. I have following questions. 1. Is there a rule of thumb for decising how much to spend on advertising vs. public relations? 2. What is the role of ad agency in determining advertising budget? Or is it determined primarily by the client? 3. How common a practice is it to perform a computerized analysis of media plan to determine the final impact in terms of reach, frequency, etc. 4. Is there a magic number in terms of GRP's, or other ratings needed to convert a prospect to a buyer? If not how does one establish the optimum budget? Thanks so much. Raj

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 26, 1997 ):
1) Advertising vs Public Relations decisions are based on a complex mix of marketing issues. One advertiser, mostly concerned with establishing an image or with community relations may spend the majority of funds on PR and the next, seeing a simple need to move units of a basic impulse purchase low-competition, product, may do no PR at all.

2) Some clients merely tell the agency how much there is to spend. Others will go through a process of determining marketing goals with the agency and consider the agency's recommendation on the cost of accomplishing those goals. More often the budget will come from the client, based on issues other than marketing goals, and then be allocated in accord with achieving the goals within the budget.

3) Computerized media delivery analysis is common. Some small retail advertisers may just hipshoot media decisions, often because the geography is small enough to track directly.

4) No, there is no magic number of GRPs to convert prospects to buyers. The marketing issues in each case vary. It should be obvious that persuading you to order a 7-Up versus a Coke next time you go out to lunch, given your background knowledge of the products and benefits, and the consequences of the wrong choice, is quite a different proposition than persuading you to buy a Mercedes Benz, select a vacation destination, or in which hospital to have surgery.

Wednesday, June 25, 1997 #1370
Dear Guru, I have a fundamental question for you. As media planners we recognise the need to look beyond numbers. How do you factor in the context in which the media is consumed,i.e. the frame of mind or mindset in which a program is viewed or a magazine read and the content of the medium, i.e. the edit environment, or the surrounding advertising. Is there any international learning on this subject? I am looking for research in this area, and examples of application of the same. Are there any brands you are aware of, that have consciously used such a philosophy in guiding their media plans? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 25, 1997 ):
This "factoring" is the art of media planning. If it were achieveable by application of established values, media planning would all be done by computers and there would be little use for media planners.

Expressing a Brand's synergy with specific media placements, and expressing the interaction of that synergy with the marketing situation and goals, then using those ideas to "sell" a plan are the art and craft of media planning filtered through experience.

The writing of plans for many brands uses these techniques. Major package goods companies have long used general factors for weighting media, based on measured attentiveness, average recall scores, etc.

About 12 years ago a company called TAA developed a more complex measure for evaluating attentiveness and attitude toward programs, as an added way to evaluate programs, beyond cpm and similar, simple counts. It went out of business fairly quickly.

Two research compilations the Guru mentions regularly, at the Advertising Research Foundation and the Newsweek Media Research Index are the best sources to consult for published research in this area.

Thursday, June 19, 1997 #1366
Dear Guru, I have a set of urgent questions to ask of you. I have a meeting tomorrow, and need your help! 1. How is effective reach calculated? 2. Reach v/s Frequency -- when should one be given priority / importance over the other? 3. Is there any way of taking creative into account while analysing competition? If yes, can a system of weights be worked out? 4. How do you reconcile to the vast difference between reach/frequency deliveries from a Peoplemeter system as opposed to the Diary system? My client refuses to accept a 4+ reach of 30% being accustomed to levels of 70% for the same plan! Would greatly appreciate your immediate reply.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 19, 1997 ):
1) In any schedule of several commercials, some of the target group will see only one, some will see two, some will see three, some will see four, some five, etc, etc.

The actual measurement is based on tracking the cume of several different advertisers schedules in a single measurement period such as one month of the PeopleMeter.

A mathematical model that will match the measured GRP/Frequency is calculated so that plan deliveries can be predicted. Going more deeply into the actual measurement, it can be determined how many people of each demographic group were exposed to each commercial in the schedule and a model calculated which will predict that performance for a plan.

For example, below is the typical output of a computer models' frequency distribution, showing what percent of the target saw exactly n commercials and what percent saw n+. (this example is from Telmar's ADplus):

                    Frequency (f) Distributions 
                                  % who saw
                          #seen exactly  at least     
                          ----- -------  -------
               Target:      f     rch    rch    
               P18-49      ---   -----  -----   
                            0     69.1  100.0   
                            1     11.5   30.9    
                            2      6.0   19.3    
                            3      3.7   13.4   
                            4      2.6    9.6   
                            5      1.8    7.1    
                            6      1.3    5.2   
                            7      1.0    3.9   
                            8      0.7    2.9   
                            9      0.6    2.2   
                           10+     1.6    1.6   
                           20+     0.0    0.0    

2) Reach vs Frequency: The determination of emphasis here can be a complicated analysis making up the greater part of a plan's documentation, under the heading of "communications strategy." A commercial so powerful that it's sell is overwhelming in one exposure might take the "Let's buy one spot in the Superbowl" route as did the Macintosh computer with the classic "1984" execution.

In more competitive situations, competitors' levels are taken into account, clutter in the media of choice, copy quality, etc. Obviously a balance must eventually be struck between reach and frequency based on judging all these factors.

3) There are several ways to take creative into account while setting up reach vs frequency goals;

The complexity or simplicity of the message

The number of commercial in the pool

how close your commercial is to the established "wear-out" level

The balance of :30 to :15

etc, etc. can all be assigned factors and totalled or averaged to give a reach vs frequency emphasis factor

a similar exercise can also set effective frequency thresholds

4) There should not be "vast" differences between effective reaches based on people meter and diary systems if schedule GRP and other aspects are the same. 5 or 10% would be the range the Guru would expect.

A plan with a 70 reach at the 4+ level would be delivering in the range of 98% total reach. It sounds as if your client may be confusing a plan with 70 reach and an average frequency of 4 with 70 at an effective frequency of 4. Or perhaps confusing 4-week reach with a long term cume?

Friday, June 06, 1997 #1361
Hi, I'm a student in Brazil. Please, could you answer these questions or indicate links in the web where I can find these info?

1) Concerning the choice of an agency, which are the most usual criteria?

2) Is there a formal communications / media plan? Who is responsible for ellaborating them and who actually applies it?

3) Which would be a good definition for briefing, and who makes it?

Only the first question relates to the choice of an agency. The second and third questions relate to the standard procedures adopted when an advertiser requests a job (for instance, the ellaboration of a communication strategy) for the agency.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 06, 1997 ):
1) Different advertisers will have differing criteria. One may emphasize experience within its category, another may focus on marketing insight, still another on creative thinking. Media support may or may not be an issue in a review. A wise agency probes for as much information about advertiser needs as possible. A wise advertiser does its best to prepare candidate agencies to show theselves to their best advantage in the context of what the advertiser wants. Often the preliminary candidates are selected through a questionnaire circulated by the advertiser. A lot can be learned from careful reading of the questionnaire, especially "between the lines."

2) "Major" advertisers usually work with a formal communications and media plan, using objectives, strategies, and tactical concepts along the lines presented in the Guru's "Parts of a Media Plan"

Other, smaller advertisers, especially local retailers, may just make a buy "by the seat of their pants"

In the formal situation, the advertiser, with the agency account staff will typically agree to marketing goals which the Media Planners can interpret into media objectives and then into strategies and tactics. Also typically, a media buying staff executes these plans.

3) Briefing usually means an organized presentation (in person or on paper) of the marketing situation upon which plans are to be built to resolve the situation. The advertiser may give a marketing briefing to the account staff. The account staff may brief the media staff. The advertiser may do all briefings, especially if they have their own internal media staff.

Thursday, May 29, 1997 #1358
Is there any model or guideline that help me to allocate the media budget between regional media and local media, i.e. how much should be put behind regional media vs local media

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 02, 1997 ):
There are several models for accomplishing this media task. There are basic decision points that must be addressed before doing the actual calculations:

-Will you allocate impressions or dollars? (dollars leads to more efficient plans overall)

-Will you set goals for local delivery based on population, sales, brand development, category development or some other basis for assigning value to local markets?

A delivery goal is established for each market or region: e.g. let each DMA receive a percentage of all the plan's impressions equal to the DMAs percentage of the product's sales or the market's percentage of US population, etc.

Then, by examining how each national medium delivers its impressions to each DMA, using Nielsen data, ABC circulation, etc. you can determine how much media needs to be purchased locally to achieve the market by market goals.

The first time you must guess how much budget to allocate to national media, to see how the impressions fall before you have a local media budget to experiment with. Then it becomes an iteritive process to fine tune the allocation.

The Guru suggests you begin with about 75% in national media and 25% in local. If the local skews are stronger, e.g. many BDIs outside the 75 to 150 range, you will likely need a greater proportion of local funding.

It is possible to incorporate many adjustment factors, such as market efficiency, relative effectiveness of national and local media elements, etc.

Thursday, May 29, 1997 #1357
Hi, I'm a student in Brazil. Please, could you answer these questions or indicate links in the web where I can find these info?

Only the first question relates to the choice of an agency. The second and third questions relate to the standard procedures adopted when an advertiser requests a job (for instance, the elaboration of a communication strategy) for the agency. 1) Concerning the choice of an agency, which are the most usual criteria? 2) Is there a formal communications / media plan? Who is responsible for ellaborating them and who actually applies it? 3) Which would be a good definition for briefing, and who makes it?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 06, 1997 ):
1) Different advertisers will have differing criteria. One may emphasize experience within its category, another may focus on marketing insight, still another on creative thinking. Media support may or may not be an issue in a review. A wise agency probes for as much information about advertiser needs as possible. A wise advertiser does its best to prepare candidate agencies to show theselves to their best advantage in the context of what the advertiser wants. Often the preliminary candidates are selected through a questionnalre circulated by the advertiser. A lot can be learned from careful reading of the questionnaire, especially "between the lines."

2) "Major" advertisers usually work with a fromal communications and media plan, using objectives, strategies, and tactical concepts along the lines presented in the Guru's "Parts of a Media Plan"

Other smaller advertisers, especially local retailers, may just make a buy "by the seat of their pants"

In the formal situation, the advertiser, with the agency account staff will typically aggree to marketing goals which the Media Planners can interpret into media objectives and then into strategies and tactics. Also typically, a media buying staff executes these plans.

3)Briefing usually means and organized presentation (in person or on paper) of the marketing situation upon which plans are to be built to resolve the situation. The advertiser may give a marketing briefing to the account staff. The account staff may brief the media or creative staff. The advertiser may do all briefings, especially if the have their own media staff, for example.

Wednesday, February 26, 1997 #1034
How can media be used to build brand equity?What is the role of media in building brand equity?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 26, 1997 ):
From the Guru's perespective, you should look at media in it's literal sense of advertising vehicle.

Most of the work in building brand equity is done by the copy. To the extent media contributes, beyond general communication goals, it will be the media environment (programming / editorial adjaceny) that theplanner selects which most affects brand equity.

Monday, February 17, 1997 #1043
When a planner has a small budget and it has been determined that television is the appropriate media vehicle, does it make sense to concentrate all of the GRPs in one or two dayparts? Example: late news and/or early morning for a business person 25-54?Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 21, 1997 ):
If geography is not a variable, then the question relates principally to the balance of reach vs frequency to be acheived. Daypart concentration may increase frequency at the expense of reach, daypart dispersion will increase reach at the expense of frequency. Low cume dayparts like the ones you mention may deliver less reach than a single high cume daypart like prime.

Comparing several possible schedules which are affordable within your budget for their delivery of plan goals is a better course than trying to make the decision based on a generalization of what "makes sense."

Friday, February 07, 1997 #1060
With the multiplication of TV with network, cable, direct through satellite, etc, radio already fragmented and press, what in your opinion are the more efective media investments? The traditional or new media? If new media? Which?. If a combination? A hint on what proportions?50% traditional against 50% new?.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 08, 1997 ):
The Guru believes broad generalities in answer to such questions are always mostly wrong.

Effectiveness of media investments always "depends." Who is your target? / what is the target's involvement with the specific medium? / how do the medium or individual vehicles of the medium fit with your message or creative or marketing strategy? / how does your product relate to the medium?

To bring people not very involved in the web to your web site you probably need traditional media mixed with web ads. To sell web related products, advertising on the web is probably the best investment. Media are not abstractions, they must be matched to targets and marketing goals.

Tuesday, February 04, 1997 #1057
What is the best way to evaluate outdoor - qualitatively and quantitatively? Any available research?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 09, 1997 ):
In the US, outdoor is typically packaged in "showings" of 25 / 50 / 100 which generally mean 25 / 50 / or 100 grps per day, that is, a selection of locations with a total daily effective circulation equal to 25 or 50 or 100% of the adult population of the market. (demographic data is often very approximate).

Outdoor delivers very high reaches at low CPMs. Message lengths are of course quite limited.

Barring specific creative testing or pre-post attitude awareness and usage tracking, evaluation is very much a judgement call based on creative and your communications goals.

Thursday, January 02, 1997 #1085
A non-profit visual arts agency is putting all of their $ into developing a direct marketing brochure. Just mailing something out doesn't seem like enough. How do we make this more effective with no more $ in the budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 02, 1997 ):
There are two major elements in the success of any directmailing:

-The quality of the list

-The mailing piece itself.

Make sure you have a wellscreened highly qualified list of best potentialprospects. Without knowing the actual goals you have as a response,the Guru can say no more.

Tuesday, November 12, 1996 #1109
I am new to the media-buying industry, yet I am responsible for the media buying of my company. The campaign my VP wants is to be very diverse (TV, Mags, Bus ads, Subway ads, Direct Mail ads, etc. I'm having trouble determining how to space out our $rs. What is a good resource I can go to that can help me to determine what each media is best for. Meaning what type of company/product/budget. We are a website and the goal of my advertising is to create both an image of our company to people between the ages 16-24 as well as to drive them to our site.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 13, 1996 ):
Media are not best for kinds of products or companies or budgets, they are best (or not) for specific marketing goals or types of communications.

Saying you're marketing a web site to persons 16-24 is a good start. Analyzing what is the draw of your site and company and what media draw people with the same interests is the next step. Talk to some of these media and ask for their research on the field. Browse similar sites and see if the have media advertisers or links.

Tuesday, September 03, 1996 #1152
My company has just developed an internet site as an extension of its core business. I'm in the aviationfield. The chiefs believe since we have an internetbusiness, we must advertise on the internet. I'm concerned about its effectiveness over more conventionalmethods. I'm not so concerned about prices, thoughI find it ridiculous some charge $1,000 per month andcan't tell me how many "hits" they get. Is there anyPROOF internet advertising really works?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 04, 1996 ):
Short answer: NO
Eternal answer: It depends

Some are succeeding according to the standard they have set themselves for success. "Success" must be measured against goals. Is internet advertising going to be used to sell your company's product / service or to bring visitors to your site?

Nobody should be charging serious money without being able to count hits / accesses. It's too easy, today, to attach a counter like "Web Counter" and be accountable to paying advertisers. Any site which can charge $1000 / month can surely afford its own documentation.

If the web is your "store" however, you will want to advertise in other media which has a large audience of computer users within your target area.Eg; is a successful on-line bookstore which advertises its URL in the book section of major newspapers.

For you, aviation industry magazines are a possibility. Featuring your URL in your regular print advertising is a way to test the waters. If readers of those trade books are not drawn to your site, then there is less likelihood that web advertising will succeed with your customer.

Thursday, July 18, 1996 #1178
What Media Mix should I use for an Automotive Dealership

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 19, 1996 ):
This is another of those "it depends" questions. See the question and answer below, from April 30, about how to determine media mix, based upon analyzing goals and how best to achieve them, in terms of communications.

Tuesday, April 30, 1996 #1231
I'm working on a presentation on how media planning professionals go about determining a media mix, and how a percent of budget is allocated to each medium being used. It's a general presentation for a client who is not very familiar with media planning terminology or methods. So far my sources for info include a couple of similar documents that I and others that I work with have written in the past, and the media planning textbook (by Scissors). Do you know of any other RECENT sources of info, points-of-view, articles on this topic? Or have you answered a similar question recently? If so, please tell me the category under which your response would be filed (I have looked through several categories of your responses and did not see anything relevant to this topic). Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 30, 1996 ):
In the broadest terms, the process may be thought of as

Marketing goals ---> Marketing Strategies ---> Media goals ---> Media Strategies ---> Media Tactics, etc.

A very simple example:

A marketing goal of increasing the number of users of product X might lead to a strategy of converting users of competitive brand Y.

The media goal might then be to optimize reach at effective levels of frequency among a demographic group matched to current users of brand Y.

The media strategy to achieve this might then be built by examining various media mixes to determine which produce the best balance of effective reach for the budget, within the creative limitations.

Of course this is just one possible marketing goal, one possible strategy that might emerge.

There are many ways to set reach goals, to set minimum effective levels or decide to apply the recent "proximity" or "recency" theory of exposure.

In short, one doesn't decide on percents of media and see how it turns out, one decides which media will best answer the marketing and media strategies. Often, some creative decisons have precedence: if TV is designated as the "primary medium" because of communications ability, need to demonstrate, etc, then the strategy migh dictate putting all money into TV "until the effective reach curve is exhausted."

There are infinite ways to express and measure goals and their achievment. Some standard media planning software, such as Telmar's Media Maestro, and Hispanic Media Maestro, allow easy examination of various mixes, instantly showing how reach/frequency/effective reach change as budget or schedules are shifted between media by the planner.

Monday, February 19, 1996 #1757
Television's (network, spot are cable) and radio's (network and spot) advertising costs are typically measured in CPP's (cost per rating points). On the other hand, Newspapers' and magazine's advertising costs are measured in CPM's (cost per thousand). It seems the Internet is moving towards the CPM model and I have no idea how "out of home" or Direct Mail are measured. Apples to apples, based on CPM, how do these mediums compare on cost? -- how about ROI?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 22, 1996 ):
First, understand that CPP and CPM are just cost indices rather than "measures." CPM (cost per thousand audience impressions) may be converted easily to CPP (cost per percentage point of population universe):

CPP = CPM x universe in thousands x .01


CPM = CPP / (.01 x universe in thousands)

CPM is simpler to deal with because we only need to know the audience exposed, a figure just beginning to be reported on the internet. CPP requires us to know a "universe," the number of people in the whole category under discussion. For the internet, or more specifically the WWW, where ads are usually found, universe is a hotly debated question. Is it the number of people with computers and modems or the number of people with the theoretical possibility to browse the web (an ISP and browser software) or the number of people who actually ever do use the Web? Even if we pick one of these, there are radically varying research estimates of the size of these possible universes.

If we decide to just use the total population as a universe for internet measurement, the ratings are agonizingly small, and we are still working toward how to define the rating. In print, no matter how often a reader picks up the same issue of a magazine, he or she only counts once in that issues impressions or rating. But website accesses are usually counting multiple weekly visits without the ability to distinguish repeats of the same viewer. There is not yet any common ground in pricing to talk of averages. There may be over 100,000 commercial sites, more than all the tv, radio and print vehicles put together.

The comparison you suggest between all media cpms also changes as we define which demographic to consider. TV has established averages to consider and companies like Spot Quotations and Data publish these cpm/cpp.

Print may vary from $5 to over $200 cpm depending on selectivity of audience and total circulation.

ROI can't be discussed without knowing the goals and depends on ad content, other marketing efforts and how revenue is measured. Web site development and web ads may be meant to sell product, build image or just bring viewers to sites. Web advertising needs to be evaluated against very goal specific potential and possibility.

Tuesday, January 23, 1996 #1777
how would you make two different media plans with the same budget for the same product? theoretically Is there any literature, examples or cases in this field?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
This question seems to be "tell me all about media."

But assume you have one media plan built properly. That is, by setting up media goals flowing out of the marketing goals and then strategies and tactics which will accomplish those goals best. The next step to create the "different plan" is to begin at the strategies and tactics phase. Develop alternate strategies and tactics which could also achieve the goals.

"Media Planning" by Sissors and Bumba is a classic text in this field. University libraries and some public libraries would have others. The Advertising Research Foundation has a library of case studies and texts, available to members.

Tuesday, August 29, 1995 #1844
Advertising merchandising. Do you know of a list/source of examples of good merchandising ideas from either publications or other mediums? What merchandising is? What is good merchandising? What to expect? What can and can't do...

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 29, 1995 ):
Merchandising is the enhancement of a media purchase through the media seller's supplying of addditional marketing support.

This may take forms as varied as running contests with the advertiser as "sponsor" or using the advertiser's product as prizes in bigger contests, helping to secure trade distribution, sampling programs, salesman's incentives, media logo merchandise (the classic station t-shirt) in-store remotes or just additional free advertising.

Anything extra the medium does for the advertiser in consideration of a purchase is merchandising.

Good merchandising is created in response to specific advertiser needs. What are the marketing goals.

For example if product sampling is a goal, a radio station may have an event every week (WXXX nite at ____Dance club) that could distribute 1000 samples to members of the target.

National Media can do the same thing in a bigger way with mall tours. As a general rule, the smaller players in more competitive situations have the more creative merchandising (I don't have an audience but I can put your Logo on the front of my booth at the Annual County Fair, 100,000 in attendance).

Any radio station's promotion director should have a 3 inch looseleaf binder of the past year's merchandising events. The binder will probably be thicker for stations in markets below the top 50, Spanish Stations, small market newspapers, etc.