Marketing Communications

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1. Introduction
The two basic tasks of marketing communications are message creation and message dissemination. Media planning supports message dissemination. Media planning helps you determine which media to use--be it television programs, newspapers, bus-stop posters, in-store displays, banner ads on the Web, or a flyer on Facebook. It also tells you when and where to use media in order to reach your desired audience. Simply put, media planning refers to the process of selecting media time and space to disseminate advertising messages in order to accomplish marketing objectives. When advertisers run commercials during the Super Bowl game at more than $2.5 million per thirty-second spot, for example, media planners are involved in the negotiation and placement. Media planners often see their role from a brand contact perspective. Instead of focusing solely on what medium is used for message dissemination, media planners also pay attention to how to create and manage brand contact. Brand contact is any planned and unplanned form of exposure to and interaction with a product or service. For example, when you see an ad for Volkswagen on TV, hear a Mazda's "zoom zoom" slogan on the radio, are told by a friend that her iPod is the greatest invention, or sample a a new flavor of Piranha energy drink at the grocery store, you are having a brand contact. Television commercials, radio ads, and product sampling are planned forms of brand contact. Word of mouth is an unplanned brand contact -- advertisers normally do not plan for word of mouth. From the consumer's perspective, however, unplanned forms of brand contact may be more influential because they are less suspicious compared to advertising. The brand contact perspective shows how the role of media planners has expanded. First, media planners have moved from focusing only on traditional media to integrating traditional media and new media. New media -- cable and satellite television, satellite radio, business-to-business e-media, consumer Internet, movie screen advertising and videogame advertising -- is playing an increasingly significant role. Spending on new advertising media is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 16.9 percent from 2005-2009, reaching $68.62 billion by 2009, while traditional media advertising is expected to rise only 4.2 percent on a compound annual basis during the same period to $192.28 billion.[1] Second, media planners are making more use of product placements now, in lieu of advertising insertions. Advertising insertions, like print ads or television commercials, are made separately from the content and are inserted into it. The ads are distinct from the articles or TV programs, not a part of them. As a result, the ads seem intrusive. In contrast, product placement (also called brand placement or branded entertainment) blends product information with the content itself. Whether content is a television program, movie, video game or other form of entertainment, product placement puts the brand message into the entertainment content. For example, in the movie E.T., the extraterrestrial eats Reese's Pieces candy. The candy was authentically integrated into the movie ?and sales of Reese's Pieces soared 80% after the movie, catapulting the new product to mainstream status.[2] On the other hand, inappropriate or excessive product placements may do more harm than good to the brand. Finally, the role of media planners has expanded as media planners have moved beyond planned messages to take advantage of unplanned messages as well. Whereas planned messages are what advertisers initiate -- like an ad, press release or sales promotion -- unplanned messages are often initiated by people and organizations other than advertisers themselves. Word of mouth, both online and offline, is one form of unplanned message. Although advertisers have little direct control over the flow of unplanned messages, they can facilitate such a flow. For example,...
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