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How to avoid media pitfalls and identify opportunities

How to avoid media pitfalls and identify opportunities

By Pete Davies, managing director,

In my former role as Nestlé Rowntree media controller I was acutely aware of the explosion of media choices for brands today.

It can be incredibly difficult for marketers to stay on top of what’s going on in more traditional media without even starting to lift the lid on the plethora of emerging opportunities in mobile and online.

Invest the time in media

Spending time understanding the media marketplace can pay substantial dividends, helping marketers become aware of cost saving opportunities as well as what channels best suit their brands.

For example, if you’re printing six-sheet posters, instead of getting the exact number printed for your campaign, you could increase the print run and then take advantage of last-minute deals at a reduced rate. You wouldn’t be able to do this if you didn’t have the physical posters. And you wouldn’t know this was possible without knowledge of the poster/print market.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your agency

Many marketers may simply accept the recommendations and media plans they are given by their media agency as they don’t feel they are equipped with the knowledge or skills to discuss their media options effectively.

Through building media knowledge marketers become more confident and astute in asking their agencies the right questions at the right time. Good agencies encourage this, and as a result a collaborative approach is almost certain to deliver better solutions for your brands.  

One of the core aims of has been to help brands really get to grips with the media landscape through a number of specific courses we call Get Me Insight. By building their understanding of the media marketplace, marketers will ensure they are able to ask their agencies the right questions and work with them to get the media channels they need for a campaign.

Think about the wider audience

Marketers also need to think about the wider audience when they’re planning their media spend. While every brand has its core target audience, there are large groups of people that sit outside this but that still matter. Take the time to understand who they are and create solutions for them.

Talking to these people requires media activities with a far wider reach. Not spreading the net wide enough can be a common mistake. For example, a low penetration in the North of England can be addressed through a regional campaign, so you don’t have to do everything nationally.

Look at the cross-media opportunities

With cross media opportunities, marketers need to ask themselves an important question: are they really making the most of how far they can take their message with the media relationships they already have?

For example, if a brand is already advertising with Bauer in a magazine title like Kerrang!, do they know they would also be able to work on TV, radio and on pack? Cross media and through the line communications can be a powerful avenue as they can take a brand’s message out to a much wider audience. This is known as the multiplier effect.

Make your idea transferable

There are two angles here; firstly does the creative idea transfer to different media opportunities and, secondly, how does the idea tie in and transfer to other disciplines? No longer is everything based solely around a TV ad, ideas need to be able to work on anything from a 48-sheet poster to a mobile phone screen.

In the past, creative would be “made for” TV and then squeezed into other formats, which invariably ends up an ineffective use of that media. Now, to get the most out of a media channel, marketers must ensure the creative is designed specifically for it.

Clever ideas can tip campaigns

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the fact that the most effective ideas aren’t always the ones that cost the most money. Simple, clever and creative PR-able ideas can tip campaigns. While these ideas can be relatively small in scale and inexpensive they can also be big on capturing their audience’s imagination.

One such example was the 2007 relaunch of Cadbury’s Wispa chocolate bar. A PR agency discovered there was a number of ‘Bring back Wispa’ pressure groups set up on social networking sites.

They used this strength of public feeling to convince Cadbury to reintroduce the bar, and went on to use the story as the basis of their PR campaign, while also engaging the people in the groups via social networking to become brand ambassadors and spread the word.

A flurry of media coverage ensued as Wispa became the first brand relaunched on the back of social media. Importantly, the scale of success of the relaunch means the brand remains on sale today.

Don’t underestimate the power of a media owner to give you good ideas

Media owners can come up with some of the most interesting and ground-breaking opportunities, so give them a hearing. There are hundreds of people out there selling good creative ideas, but many brand marketers are too busy to listen to them.

This was another key reason for setting up to give marketers and media owners a place to interact with each other in their own time.

Many marketers don’t get the chance to look for media ideas, instead relying on their agencies, but understanding who media owners are and what they do is an important part of building your media knowledge.

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