Why CMOs Must Retake Media Planning

By Published on .

Credit: 3D_generator/iStock

Insidious change over two decades reached an inflection point in the past two years. Major marketers now conduct media agency reviews with regularity. Marketers of all sizes were impacted by the ANA's "K2 Intelligence" report and the follow-up "Ebiquity: Media Transparency" report.

While kickbacks, non-transparency and fraud grab the headlines, the biggest pain point is strategy. Strategic media planning is a best practice that faded away by mistake. Now, CMO's need to bring it back as an in-house capability.

The need is self-evident. Without media planning, the once sophisticated balance between direct response ROI and brand equity KPIs tipped way too far towards DR. Without unbiased media strategists involved, advertisers were seduced by agencies into accepting a "crappy supply chain" because they did not want to fall behind in pursuit of the "programmatic" holy grail.

The difference between identifying the gap and filling it is daunting. Here's the good news:

  • Procurement and marketing are finding common ground. Controlling expenses and investing in growth can be complementary goals.
  • The confusion and conflicts related to media agencies has been drawn out into the light by the ANA.
  • Internet advertising can now be planned dispassionately.
  • "MarTech" can support data-enhanced media planning for both brand equity and sales.
  • Big media companies can be approached strategically and brought into the role of solutions providers.

In order to make media strategy a core part of the corporation's best practices, the CMO can take the following steps.

1. Create and empower a cross-discipline team of stakeholders..

The team's mission is to improve the strategies that drive media investments and to develop key performance indicator measurements that track both brand equity and sales performance.

2. Refresh or create a document that tightly articulates the objectives that the media budget supports.

Most companies believe that strong brands are more efficient drivers of profitable growth than are weak brands. A fresh conversation that distinguishes between brand building and sales ROI is needed.

3. Review and define what you want your media agency's services to include and not include.

This is channel-specific work. Local radio, outdoor, national TV, paid search, sponsored social media and so on; the media agency service is unique for each of them.

4. Audit the company's media spending at a macro level.

Which media corporations benefit the most from your media budgets? What is your company doing to maximize the quality of strategic thinking that is going on at these media companies to best align your spending to your business objectives?

5. Develop a pro-active plan to invite a curated list of media companies to enter into partnership discussions.

Brief the most important media companies the same way that you brief your agencies about your business objectives and marketing plans. Challenge these companies to break down their own silos and come back to you with annual proposals that align with your objectives.

Yes, the CMO has yet another responsibility to manage, and media strategy is not an easy skill to master. But the CMO does not have to go it alone.

  • A matrixed team aligned around a well-crafted document describing the media strategies creates the linchpin between business objectives and media tactics.
  • Proactively involving the most important media companies will engage powerful resources that are focused on solutions.
  • Precisely articulated agency assignments will improve the relationship and drive better productivity.

The job of the CMO grows bigger and more complex each year. But adding the role of media strategist is not the last straw—it's a direct link to brand-building and driving growth. That's what the CMO loves to do.

Most Popular
In this article: