One of the most important questions we ask new clients is, “What are you hoping to achieve by running this media campaign?”
Typically, clients answer this question in one of three ways:
Joining millions of businesses around the world, our team will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. We're also committed to practicing social distancing in our personal lives to keep ourselves and our extended families and communities as safe as possible. We are a very small agency, with just two full-time employees on-site and the rest of our team virtual, so in many ways, remote work is easier for us than it may be for larger organizations trying to manage the behaviors and routines of numerous employees. As a business owner, my goal is to maintain open communication channels between my staff and clients. Offering kindness, patience and compassion is so important, especially during this enormously stressful time.
Instead of writing another “Tips on How to Work from Home” article, I’d like to use this post to give a shout-out to the software companies we utilize every day to keep our agency processes moving forward efficiently and accurately. I’ll start with our media planning and buying software, move into a few of our production/organizational tools and finish with our data and reporting dashboard. I’m excited to share these great products with you and encourage you to check out the links I’ve included to each service for more details!
Media Planning and Buying
Those of us in the paid media industry know that using Excel spreadsheets to keep media authorizations and insertion orders organized is not a sustainable solution. From day one, I knew we needed a cloud-based, secure, integrated media planning and buying software system to plan, book and reconcile our media campaigns. After some starts and stops with other commercial media planning software, we landed on MediaPlanHQ and haven’t looked back! MediaPlanHQ is based in Montreal, Canada and its founder, Robert Maltais, is fluent in French and English, making for some fun language exchanges! As one of their early adopters, we’ve been fortunate to have the chance to beta test some of this software’s newer features. And, the information exchange goes both ways. The MediaPlanHQ team welcomes our feedback and has responded positively to our requests for new system capabilities resulting in a better product. Here are some recent updates:
Anne’s Review: I highly recommend MediaPlanHQ to anyone running a small-to-midsize advertising agency with a full-service media department. You’ll find their team to be extremely responsive and resourceful and the platform itself to be user-friendly and reliable.
Timekeeping and Billing
We’re pretty sure the timekeeping, estimating and billing capabilities of Harvest are the best around. Even when I was solo-preneuring in the early days, I began using it to track my time and to manage my client billing. Now that the company has grown, we have remained avid fans of this robust and affordable software. Here are a few of the features that we really like about Harvest:
Anne’s Review: Five stars for Harvest! Time tracking, estimating and billing are made simpler with this comprehensive and easy-to-adopt system.
Media campaigns require managing a vast number of details. A typical media production calendar includes dates for planning sessions, client presentations, campaign approvals, media specifications, copy deadlines, creative trafficking, and the list goes on. Enter, Asana. The name means “seated” or “situated” in Sanskrit and that’s just how we feel when we use it: calm, steady and assured. We rely on it to keep ourselves organized every day. Some cool software features include:
Anne’s Review: I can’t say enough about Asana. Having used all of the major competitors over the years, this one is my pick for best production management capabilities.
Media Metrics Reporting
Lastly I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the importance of having a robust and accurate media metrics reporting dashboard to collect campaign data and share it with our clients. Using a Cloud-based system to connect all of our paid media API's and set up this data in customized, easy-to-read dashboards is an important differentiator between our agency and others in the digital advertising arena. Here are some key attributes that we look for in media metrics software:
Anne’s Advice: Don’t rely exclusively on the digital vendors to send you a report off of their own dashboard. Invest in your own measurement tools and collect the data yourself.
The systems I’ve described here are the foundation on which Richardson Media Group’s operations and media planning services are run. Each tool fills a different but essential purpose in the daily management of our agency. We benefit from having them at our fingertips wherever we work, making recent remote work adjustments easier and less stressful for everyone.
If you’d like to chat further about any of these tools, or share some of your favorites for keeping your virtual team productive and healthy, please drop me a line. More than ever before, I hope we can share our experiences about how to successfully navigate these scary times and keep conversations open even if our doors are metaphorically closed. Hopefully, it will make social distancing and the sense of isolation that often comes with remote work a little easier to manage.
I read an article the other day claiming that the service of media planning is “up for grabs” in today’s advertising marketplace. The author’s premise was that the comprehensive media planning model must compete with a growing list of alternatives offered to clients who may not know how to differentiate between these options. Publishers and other media companies package media planning and buying into their capabilities and many digital agencies who build websites have started to help their clients promote them, too. Let's not forget the big tech giants that have made self-service advertising appear far easier than it really is.
Measuring media planning and buying success for our clients and ourselves.
A new year is a natural jumping-off point, a time to think about future goals and set our sights on what’s up ahead. It's a busy time for a media planning and buying agency as we prepare to launch new campaigns in the new year. It’s also the season when we look back over the past year, acknowledging (and celebrating) successes and finding meaning in the challenges we may have encountered.
To be successful, media planning must focus on achieving ample share of voice when advertising within a specific market.
Media planning is the process of researching and assembling recommendations on the most effective advertising platforms to raise awareness of and drive engagement with a brand. Media directors consider a host of factors when planning an advertising campaign. Experienced media planners think carefully about how deeply a campaign engages its target audience, how many times that group sees the ads, and how many other competitive messages that group experiences within the defined market. Together, those three key components — reach, frequency, and share of voice — work to achieve your campaign goals.
Traditional media is an integral part of any multi-layered campaign. And it pairs perfectly with digital advertising.
The most effective media plans incorporate both digital and traditional advertising. The combination of these two media categories works best when brought together into one, cohesive campaign.
The benefits, lessons, and limitations of a single-tactic campaign
This is the final installment in a three-part series exploring our decision to launch a paid media campaign for our own company. The first installment talks about the factors we considered in making the decision to advertise. The second installment talks about the process of media planning and media buying.
Our decision to run a media campaign to promote Richardson Media Group, was driven by two factors. First, we wanted to experience sitting in the client’s seat for a change so that we could better understand what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a media campaign. Second, we were curious to find out whether we could drive any significant lead generation via a small (actually tiny) budget/single tactical effort. The results of our campaign were somewhat surprising! What follows is a review of the campaign details and a summation of campaign results and delivery metrics.
Going through the media planning and buying process, and gaining a few insights along the way.
This is the second in a three-part series exploring our decision to launch a paid media campaign for our own company. The first installment talks about the factors we considered in making the decision to advertise. The third installment describes the results of our advertising campaign.
Last month, we made the decision to go forward with an advertising campaign. So, we set our budget parameters and hand-picked a vendor partner to guide us through the campaign. Now it was time to clarify our media strategy.
Making the decision to launch a paid media campaign — for ourselves.
This is the first in a three-part series exploring our decision to launch a paid media campaign. The second installment talks about the process of media planning and media buying. The third installment describes the results of our in-house advertising campaign.
Planning advertising campaigns is our specialty here at Richardson Media Group. As owner and media director, I’ve purchased pretty much every paid media platform available, and the list of new digital options is growing every day! One thing I’ve never experienced? I’ve never sat in the client’s seat.
In the span of nearly four and a half years, Richardson Media Group has seen an enormous amount of growth. Yet 2018 may have been our most expansive year to date!
In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts. Favorite topics include the entrepreneurial journey, media planning and buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.
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Richardson Media Group, Inc.
75 Congress Street, Suite 214
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: (603) 373-8866
Hours: Weekdays 9 to 5