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The Only Way to Media Plan

What is currently missing from B2B media planning is vertical audience media consumption data. Today, as always, planners are challenged with determining the most effective multichannel media mix. Occasionally there is data available about digital consumption focusing on display, e-newsletters, webinars and all things digital. Print usage, unfortunately, is not included in most of the research being done.

Many publishers are focusing their research efforts on digital only and at the same time wondering why print usage is declining. Planners are left to sort through research on digital and very small amounts of anecdotal information on print usage from media kits, along with occasional readership studies and ad-recall research without understanding the complete landscape of the market. Research that is available is rarely combined (print and digital) and fails to give the complete picture of how a particular market consumes media.

The solution? Publishers should work together to develop thorough research covering their vertical markets (research using combined publisher lists) on how their audiences consume media, provided every other year since usage wouldn’t change dramatically from one year to the next, and would cut down on the expense to publishers. Audiences, for instance, in the interior design/architectural market consume media very differently than electrical engineers, who are different from fleet owners who are different from contractors and so on. The nuances of differences in consumption will have an impact on the media recommended.

When clients ask about mobile or tablet usage in a given market, marketers turn to media sources to provide the most current data concerning their audience. Adding a new channel is often at the expense of print. It is the responsibility of publishers in vertical markets to step up to the plate to provide the data that media planners need to do our best work. They should perhaps partner with their independent audit firm who already have access to their circulation list and the lists of competitors. It is also in the publishers’ best interest to provide this consumption data because it will help us justify print recommendations, which are frequently argued against, cut back or cut entirely from media plans—even when the goals and objectives justify the usage.

With the onslaught of metrics supporting digital spend, it is hard for a planner to include print on a buy when the medium is not supported with solid research.

By Robin Farewell, Partner, Director of Media B2B