How to Plan Media in a Non-Linear World

Think Like Farve, Go Deep

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Darren Herman Darren Herman also blogs at
We live in a non-linear world but are taught linear business processes. Yikes. We're doomed. Grab the Starburst and let's head down to the cellar to hide.

It's 2008. Wake up. Drink some Patron and lets start thinking rational: How do we harness our non-linear world?

New digital brief given to [insert agency name] by a client.
"Can someone put together a ComScore run?"
RFP the top 25 on the list
Media planning time ...

Sound all too familiar? Don't deny it, I'll call you out.

Conversations and audiences exist everywhere. In a world that's one power outlet away from becoming totally digital, we need to adopt non-linear ways of thinking for our clients.

Is buying the top three ComScore indexed sites for a particular audience the best way to engage with the audiences? I'd say probably not. Here's why.

As media fragments and tools and technologies are developed, we have the opportunity to engage and join the conversation with our intended audiences in many new capacities. The more granular you build out your engagement, the more embedded you become with that audience. This is good in the fact that you can potentially generate high awareness, consideration or even work down to the lower part of the funnel, but it's bad because you have quite a few ways to blow this opportunity and alienate the audience. Trust me, the audience will let you know when that happens.

When putting together the property list for your media plan, go deep. Pretend you're Brett Favre. Don't ignore the top of the ComScore list, but look closely at the mid to bottom of the list. There is a high possibility that the sites on the lower range of the list have extremely high index of your audience, but because they aren't a huge reach vehicle (portal, destination site, etc), they don't appear higher.

Linear thinking would lead us to pick the same process over time and usually select the top sites on the list and work with them. Non-linear forces us to work harder and sometimes, chaotic, but allows us to participate in a non-linear world much better. With this said, we need to start developing the tools, processes and technologies to harness our knowledge in a non-linear world. I haven't seen many tools that do this, but I'm certainly willing to listen.

Any takers?
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