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 Developing an effective media strategy is mostly science, with a dash of creativity.

Before researching media alternatives, it is vital to establish objective criteria for development of the ultimate plan.

At Partners + Levit, we begin the media planning cycle with a compilation of facts assembled from our clients’ marketing management, primary and secondary research, past experience with each brand category, medium, and more.

Here is a brief overview of that compilation:

1) BUDGET: A budget allocation is as important facet of the goals and objectives established for advertising and promotion. Often times, less sophisticated clients ask What will it take to do the job? The question is naïve.

Management must develop a philosophy for this investment, since there are no "rules" for budgeting. Is it a percentage of sales? Is it an amount management is willing to invest? Is it an amount equal to or in excess of competitive spending? The budget should be broken down into categories for media, production, promotions and other (opportunistic buys, direct mail, sales seminars, etc.).

2) PLAN PERIOD: This is the period of time for which the budget has been allocated. It could be for an entire year, a peak selling season, for a promotional period that requires support or others. The plan should have finite "start" and "finish" dates to guide the media professional in developing the plan and, when possible, in negotiating rates.

3) MARKETING STRATEGY STATEMENT: The media professional does not work in a vacuum. The media plan is an integral part of the overall marketing strategy and as such, must take into consideration the brand manager’s current overall strategy. A product introduction requires heavier advertising and promotion at the beginning of the plan period. A mature brand requires even support. A lead generation campaign may utilize specialized media.

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