Throw out the media handbook. Throw out everything you know about media. Stop whatever you're doing right now and do this. Because you shouldn’t really be buying media at all. You should be buying buyers: The customers who are most likely to buy the branded product or service you represent.
Instead of using surrogates for your customers -- pushing messages at a demographics segment -- and other reach-based models, why not sit back and let your brand's best prospective customers -- no matter what their age, ethnicity or income -- take you on their journey through the media properties that they are most engaged in? Let them be your guide and then prioritize the media you elect to invest in based on a process that reaches the most high-value customers of your brand or service.
The world has vastly changed -- it's all about pull. What are the customers pulling to them in terms of content and media properties? Which media properties are pound-for-pound more effective at driving revenues for the brand in question?
This process is doable now, and some marketers are using it already to gain share because it’s a practical approach and a philosophical way to create branded media networks.
Marketers are identifying customers who are most attached to their products or services, identifying the media and content that those customers engage with the most, and then making sure that messages about the products or services in question are deployed across those media and content.
In the “old” days before 2005, linking customers' brand attachment to media attachment wasn't much of a science so planners and buyers used surrogate customer profiles to try to create an effective media plan. Surrogate customers’ profiles were demographics-based -- something like age 25-54 with annual household income of $100K, owns a luxury car and bought a TV within the past 12 months.
But these methods are all grossly insufficient compared to actually following the buyer.
Today we can actually create and buy “branded” channels, and it's the first important step in reaching the highest percentage of revenue generators for the brand. Using this approach, marketers can break down the walls between different types of media platforms and properties and let the customers be their guides to the most relevant contextual placements that will generate the highest return on their investments.
Here's how to create a “branded media channel:"
·Identify customers who are highly or moderately attached to the brand; they drive up to 60 percent and up to 30 percent, respectively, of potential revenues
·Find media with the highest saturation of those high-potential buyers
·Prioritize and create a network of cross-platform media -- TV, content, apps, print, tablets, mobile -- and “wire together” the optimal network for the brand. The plan may or may not include all of these media.
·Find the most contextually relevant media by following the brand lovers
Smart marketers and their media partners do not buy media or impressions. They create brand networks across all media to buy the buyers. They preach to the converted and convert the receptive to drive growth.