Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Media Planning Software: The End of the Media Planner?

The media planner’s job is to find the best combination of media platforms in order to deliver the most effective advertising message to the most relevant target audience (CreativePool.co.uk). 

What used to be a relatively simple task has become a lot more complex, as media platforms are not limited to the traditional “Big Five” of TV, newspapers, magazines, radio and billboards (Blog.Comscore.com).

Media now encompasses the complicated world of data, algorithms, optimisation and cloud computing. The digital landscape is so vast that it can seem almost impossible for the media planner to pinpoint an advertising message, let alone a target audience. The media planner’s human capabilities are indeed limiting when it comes to technology, but there are tools that can be used to enhance them. Here’s how.

Is the media planner doomed?

Yes and no. According to AdExchange.com, the media planner won’t become obsolete, but they need to move with the times – and fast. 

A lot of media planners are still stuck on placement with the idea of “Where” something should go, when they should thinking of “How” instead. Before the advent of mobile apps, social networking and online video streams, media planners just had to find the best ways to reach the target audience and then place ads in the most relevant paid media. 

The Internet has dramatically changed this, as now the media planner’s role is much more diverse. Many are undertrained and not clued up about the digital divide. That’s why they need a technological tool, namely media planning software (AdExchange.com).

Media planning software

The use of media planning software makes the media planner’s job a lot simpler. According to Blog.Comscore.com, it streamlines the planning process by enabling testing, optimisation and tweaking all on a centralised and unified dashboard. 

This increases efficiency, speed and unnecessary (read human) trial and error mistakes. Traditional media planning can be extremely labour intensive, but the use of software can minimise the workload and the headaches.

The best of both worlds

Although software can simplify the planning process, a human element is still needed. According to Blog.Comscore.com, the media planner’s goal is still to maximise the client’s return on investment, and this requires strategic thinking, which only a human brain can achieve. 

However, the software can help narrow information down and prove to be an invaluable tool by enabling the planner to easily access data relating to reach, media vehicles and frequency.  Access to an online media directory can be extremely helpful too, as it provides a clear, unified picture of the target audience based on information such as demographics and LSM.

According to Blog.Comscore.com, media planners are simply too human for the digital world. That’s why they need a little assistance by using media planning software, and by having access to an online media directory. 

This will increase their efficiency and their ability to match the goals of the client to those of the right marketing platforms (AdExchange.com). The ‘right marketing platforms’ can be hard to pinpoint within a digital landscape, but planning software makes this a lot easier. Ultimately, it can enhance the media planner’s strategic skills, while freeing up their time so that they can concentrate on the most important part of their job: to make money! 

This post was written by Ang Lloyd, a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. Ang enjoys the challenge of writing on a range of topics, including the future of advertising media planners.

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