How to: Getting more from your media budget

How to: Getting more from your media budget

Total Media group account director Amanda TurbervilleThe current economic climate has seen some of the age-old rules of media planning and buying called into question.

While advertising budgets were once fixed and campaigns planned well in advance, today’s environment demands a much more responsive and flexible approach.

And, of course, budget cuts have forced a change in the way media is priced. For example, television has traditionally been seen as the sole domain of big-budget brands, but the economic climate has forced rates down – the cost of TV advertising is down by up to a third year on year.

So amid the doom and gloom lie some fantastic opportunities for those looking to extract the most value from their budget. With a fresh approach, and the tips below, you can ensure you get more for less.

Know what you want to achieve

The type of advertisement you choose will differ depending on whether you want to raise awareness or boost sales, so define this from the start. For example, in the creative you might emphasise the price more if you are going for sales.

If you try to achieve too many things with a limited budget, you end up spreading your resources too thinly and you risk achieving nothing.

Use the right balance of media to achieve your objectives and measure the response rates on a regular basis, so you can identify what works and what doesn’t.

Beware of the competition

If you spot your competitors’ advertising before your own, you can guarantee that your customers will too. Keep a watchful eye on what your rivals are doing – that’s not to say that you should follow suit, but be aware of what is changing.

By having the fluidity of budget and fixed advert formats laid down in advance, it is easier to react quickly to changes in the market such as late offers.

Be flexible

In the current market you need to be a little more fluid with your approach to releasing your advertising budget.

Traditionally, you would lay down business in advance of the activity happening in order to guarantee it going ahead. For example, you might be expected to allocate up to 80% of your budget to laid down activity, with 20% allocated to testing and other activity.

It is still important to lay a part of the budget down, but in the current climate you should work to a 60:40 ratio in order to take advantage of increased advertisers’ buying power.

It’s wise to set aside a contingency budget for short-term, last-minute offers so that you can experiment with new channels and formats.

Test at affordable prices

Testing media that you would not normally consider due to cost restrictions opens up a whole new arena of opportunities to reach consumers that you haven’t previously targeted.

Be mindful of taking every single short-term offer that is given to you. Some media will be struggling to sell and it may not really be relevant to your target audience.

Some brands do take bigger risks than others by taking advantage of short-term buying and pay for all of their campaigns in this way, keeping costs down to a minimum. But buying advertising space like this does not always guarantee results.

While testing, you may achieve an outstanding result which could lead to a different, longer-term strategy or further investments.



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