Ad Technology

Fixing The Media Planning Process

By: Hemali Lakhani

You don’t have to stand alone in defending your ad plan anymore.

We know you’re often asked to be the one standing in front of senior management to present your plan and defend your approach when the last of the planning sessions come to a close. Sure, you’re smart, and yes, you may need to lean on your agency and media partners to provide answers to the questions you anticipate are coming your way.

But, what if you could change the game entirely?

Think back to the last planning session you had. Think about how many weeks you put in with your strategic partners, soliciting ideas, explaining strategies, asking the big questions about accountability, innovation, and investments, without diving into the practical details of the plan?

We all have our ideas on how planning should go, and usually are doing our best to get as much ammo from strategic partners as we can. Because when we go to the senior-level management meeting to present, we need to have as much as we can to defend ourselves and the recommendations of our agencies. This approach is messy, and involves many moving parts that, unfortunately, don’t always mesh cleanly, if at all.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with so many media choices at our disposal. Organization is beyond helpful in designing the right plan for any business.

So what’s the fix, then?

A systematic approach. A step-by-step process that allows you and your strategic media partner to design together, think together, and realize the true potential of a media plan with senior management there from start to finish.

At Underscore, we brought this fix with our Four Step Process, and it establishes the way we work and how we facilitate stronger conversations. Our goal is to provide the best strategic advice regarding media investments, while ensuring senior-level buy-in all along the way so there are no “lost in translation” errors.

We invest significant time with our clients ensuring plan designs are built in collaboration with brand teams. With the Four Step Process, marketers aren’t passing information along, handing out ammo to be used later with others higher up the management chain, but getting those people on board at the beginning of the journey. Then your job, “selling it in,” becomes that much easier, and senior management understands how you arrived where you did, because they were there right out of the gate.

This approach factors several immersion sessions designed as workshops, to help peel back the layers and think about all of the factors, channels, trade-offs, investments, diminishing returns, target engagement, creative costs, and execution resources that are factored into plan development.

Our goal is to have stronger, more meaningful conversations prior to brands committing to tactics, in order to really help client teams understand the why, the what, the who and the when of channel impacts. Our Four Step Process encompasses an immersion session where Underscore experts dive deep with the brand teams to understand the brand and category dynamics that influence the forthcoming strategy.

The output is a well-defined blueprint that thoroughly highlights the overall goals of the campaign and possible directions media can take. We are committed to showcasing innovation and new thinking that exist in the market today. With our media days, we bring the full team, creative partners along with external agencies partners’ key in decision making together to help show the infinite possibilities today.

From this point onwards, through the roadmapping process, our module system is a collaborative mapping technique that helps brands understand their investments through scenario considerations and data prior to full plan development.  The modules are designed as a series of sessions to foster collective learning. And finally together we come up with a strong media plan that is built with predictive modeling, forecasted impact, buy details, negotiations and strong understanding of execution needs.

Media planning can still be complicated and difficult, and overwhelming, especially when there are so many options, and so many others who have their own ideas. With the Four Step Process, we bring in everyone from the beginning, and help facilitate the conversation, so that not only is every option understood from the start, every option is organized.

Media planning is a journey, but with Underscore, you’re only four steps away from success.