The largest category in your advertising budget is likely to be your media costs--the dollars you spend for air time on radio or for ad space in newspapers, magazines, and more. Because of this, it makes sense to have a sound plan to manage that investment. You'll want to set goals. You'll want to describe strategies for achieving them. You'll have to organize the day-to-day tasks of carrying out the strategies. The tool you'll need to do this is a media plan that begins with an overview and works its way down to the details. It will help you with every phase of your advertising. Here's how many businesses manage their media buying. The person in charge of the budget starts saying yes to the salespeople who call. Advertising appears here and there as a result. When the budget's gone, the person in charge starts saying no, and the ad campaign is over. It's a method, but you wouldn't call it a media plan. And if that approach sounds familiar, you can bet you're passing up opportunities to maximize your return on investment. Media planning is the process of choosing a course of action. Media planners develop yearly plans that list each media outlet--print or broadcast. Planning then gives way to buying, as each separate contract is negotiated, then finalized. The media plan is a document in sections. A ring binder notebook is a good way to keep a media plan, because it's easy to update and easy to refer to. Or if you prefer to work on computer, simply think in terms of folders and files. The sections in your notebook will be: * Media outlets (newspapers, etc.). This section lists all of the media in which advertising will be placed. * Goals. This section describes the goals of the advertising, and explains why and how this plan meets these goals. * Audience. In this section, collect all the information you can about your target audience. You will want statistics by demographics or lifestyle; your professional association can help you...
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