As the dawn of the New Year has swiftly emanated, reflections of the past shine bright. When working on media placement for a magnitude of clients, it’s important to consider what’s been done in the past. We 

need to ask ourselves: What’s worked well in previous years? What hasn’t worked well? What type of content will we be focusing on during our campaigns for this coming year? These questions are crucial in preparing a media plan for a new year. For each client and their respective industry, the answer may be different. We analyze our previous campaigns, and make any necessary changes to ensure the campaign performs its best. Utilizing these results allow us to head forward in the right direction year in and year out for each of our clientele.

The Time is Now

Since working in the media planning world over the course of the past few years, I’ve come to notice that the key to a successful media plan is to plan ahead. Although we occasionally do placement on a campaign-by-campaign basis, a majority of the media plans created tend to be sought out months in advance and are usually planned for the entire year. Ideally, as a Media Planner, I like to start my planning for the next year near the fourth quarter of the previous year, but if it hasn’t been done yet, I’d say the time is now.

Advantages to Planning Ahead

With the awareness to plan ahead, one will reap the benefits. One of the most profound benefits will be cost savings. Most media vendors are willing to negotiate the best possible rates when knowing a client will be placing media with them for a year. When negotiating, it’s important to remember not to settle for what they consider the “best price,” but to perhaps push the limits a little and see what extra they could do for you. Sometimes the prices quoted are firm, but perhaps the extra value can come in the form of a bonus ad or other. Nonetheless, negotiation is a daunting topic that takes time to perfect.

Another advantage is the ability to know when the ads will run throughout the year. In certain instances, we like to plan out what concepts we will be using throughout the year. By planning ahead, our creative team has a grasp on which ads are going to run each month and when they need to be completed. Another benefit is knowing how much budget will be spent throughout the year. On a campaign-by-campaign basis the budget tends to go astray, whereas planning ahead for the year creates a sense of organization and knowing what will be spent each month.

One final advantage is the ability to make changes. Some shops in town like to take what we call the “set it and forget it” approach, but not us. We analyze each campaign and make changes accordingly. If something isn’t working out, we’ll make the necessary changes to ensure the success of the campaign. Ideally, we like a media campaign to run for three or more months, allowing for the best performance tracking.

The Future of the Media Industry

As of now, we can only speculate what is going to be the next big thing. Looking at the horizon however, I’ve come to notice a key trend in the media industry over the past year in the form of digital media. There has been a steady influx of advertising on various forms of digital media. This trend will definitely continue into this year, as we’ll see ads:

1. Being re-targeted based on what we’re searching

2. Daily on our mobile devices

3. Via one of the tens of thousands of mobile apps created each month

Whether it’s a local grocery store or national bank, digital advertising will play a key role in advertising’s future. Don’t get me wrong, just because digital advertising has seen a dramatic spike in usage, doesn’t mean traditional advertising has decreased. Traditional forms of advertising are just as important to the future of the media industry. We look forward to seeing how the ever changing media terrain will lay itself out in 2014 and the many years to come.