State of the Art

Ginny Cooper and Susan Simmons, the minds behind Cooper + Simmons Media Architects, believe in the “art and science” of media planning. Here, they discuss their approach.

Why are both art and science essential components in media planning?

Cooper: “Science” is the quantitative portion — the models and all that. “Art” is how you look at content, how you align the horizontal and vertical components to maximize reach and frequency. It’s very similar to the broadcast model that combines art (how you look at programming) and science (targeted rating points).

Simmons: We’re not saying this is the definitive answer. Nobody is an expert in the online world. It changes daily. We give ourselves “Turkey Awards” for sites that don’t work even though they should. You have to be honest with your self-assessment.

What do companies often miss in their online efforts?

Cooper: The Internet can both brand and generate response. You see a lot of companies doing one or the other. There are also some unrealistic expectations out there. Online marketing can inform, brand, and drive site traffic, but it can’t spur sales.

How have you adapted to this ROI-centric era?

Simmons: Regard the client’s advertising budget as if it is your own money. It’s all about accountability and being media-agnostic. We give each client three media plans for each campaign. We go over the pros and cons, make a conglomerate plan, then test, test, test.

Talk about “the new rules of online branding.”

Cooper: Most clients want branding plus something else. We apportion a certain number of impressions to branding and a number to response or some other desired action.

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