Category Archives: Advertising

6 media planning rules you should break –

6 media planning rules you should break –

Interesting article written by Jay Friedman is the COO of Goodway Group, a third-generation, family-owned company that operates the Custom Audience Platform, an on-demand digital-media infrastructure designed to help clients …

In a flash, things we’ve simply “known to be true” all our lives are turned upside down. Take the assumed theories in psychology that were disrupted with the technological leaps forward in 1990s brain science. Or assumptions about disease or heredity before the Human Genome Project was completed. In an instant we had to rethink what we thought we knew. With digital media now creeping up to near 50 percent of our eye and mindshare time, it’s more important than ever to do a double-take with some tried and true media planning “absolutes.”


“Invest significant time in annual media planning.”

If your business (or your client’s business) relies on annual budget planning, there is no way to relieve yourself from all annual planning. That said, you can and should significantly lighten the load. Think about the various disruptive, significant emerging properties that have launched in the past 10 years. Facebook, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Twitter, and the list goes on. Not only could you not have planned for their launch, but it was next to impossible to plan for their acculturation point, or the time at which it became a “had to have” on a media plan. What if a tipping point occurs in March? Do you wait until next year to include it in your plan? No way. The same goes for ad tech, whether fighting fraud or implementing a newly available creative format.

Determine annual goals? Yes. Determine annual strategies? Yes. Determine your tactics once per year? No. And certainly don’t buy publishers annually. In fact, I’d urge you to not even be as rigid as quarterly. If a publisher or vendor is a pain to work with, and you feel there is a better alternative, why wait until the end of the quarter? If a new property bursts onto the scene in April after your Q2 plan is done, you may need to rearrange your budget. Media consumption is fluid, and our plans need to match.

“Make sure you carefully plan your digital media to match your target audience.”

You may remember the case study from years ago that showed a big screen TV campaign’s best converting audience was “military.” This is because the time of year the client was advertising was a time when military bonuses were paid. The client originally targeted sports and technology enthusiasts but later shifted to include this newly discovered audience and the campaign performance improved.

As carefully as you plan your audience using case studies and research tools, each campaign you launch will tell you more about your audience than you could have planned for. That’s because every campaign you launch likely has different creative, seasonality characteristics, and other factors. This isn’t to say it’s best to run pure RON or ROS and just “see what happens.” There are certainly very good tools to help you pre-optimize your buy. The key is not to go beyond the point of diminishing return in spending your time honing and refining your audience, or to plan so narrowly that there is no room for audience discovery either.

“Take a meeting with almost any digital media vendor. You could be missing something.”

Taking a 5-minute phone call with any digital media vendor who calls is reasonable. Every vendor should be able to establish a point of difference in that amount of time that enables you to decide whether or not a meeting is beneficial. If there is no chance you’re going to work with a vendor, it’s wasting both your time and the vendor’s. As much as salespeople don’t like hearing “no,” good salespeople will tell you they’d rather hear “no” than “maybe” because it allows them to spend time with clients and prospects who become an important part of their business.

This extends to RFPs. The most efficient RFP process tells a vendor exactly what criteria to meet to get on the plan. Demanding specific criteria on an RFP that is extended to fewer vendors allows for greater, deeper interaction between the agency and those vendors throughout the RFP process. This leads to better ideas, better plans, and better results for clients.

“Create buckets for media vendors.”

I was talking with an agency person at an event last night. We were talking about heritage and ethnicity and she said, “It’s like when I filled out college applications. They asked me to fill in the circle next to the race I was, but there was no ‘mixed’ option.” Similarly, in ad tech, the answer is now more often “it’s complicated” than a straight up, well-defined, bucketable category. On one hand, it behooves media vendors to bucket themselves so agencies quickly and easily understand how they might work with that vendor. On the other hand, advertisers want their agencies to demonstrate greater mental elasticity when evaluating a new vendor, taking the time to understand gray area and overall value rather than requiring a neat fit.

“Be focused on your ultimate objective.”

We can file “awareness and sales” under the “If I had a dollar every time…” category when asking clients about their campaign objectives. Don’t get me wrong. Those are perfectly fine objectives as long as there is a specific and identified method for measurement. Usually, though, measuring awareness (brand studies) or sales (match back against a control) takes months. In the meantime, why not take advantage of the dimensional depth digital media offers?

If you’re a hospital, “heads in beds” is your goal, but pixeling the “locate a doc” page is a good mid-funnel metric to guide your efforts. Car dealership? “Hours and directions” is a great mid-funnel guidepost. These exist in nearly every industry. Take the time to plan with dimension and you’ll be rewarded with richer metrics and better end results.

“Keep it to standard display with small budgets.”

I wouldn’t have thought this was a rule that even needed breaking! After hearing this from a number of different agencies it merited inclusion. Online display may be the oldest digital media ad unit but that doesn’t mean it’s foundational. The foundation of any media plan is your audience’s media consumption and receptivity within those media consumption windows. If your audience is best connected with mobile, use mobile. It might be mobile search, banners, or video. These decisions depend on the complexity of your message, how well established your brand is, and the length of the consideration cycle for your product.

Breaking these six rules requires two things. The first is reconsidering how we approach media planning in the first place. The second is thinking about our plans in many more dimensions than just “I have money. I need to spend it efficiently.” Change is hard, but those who want to be better than their peers and win in the market will find a way and inspire those around them to join in.

Jay Friedman is the COO of Goodway Group.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

A wall is broken through by a fist” image via Shutterstock.


Planning for Success: 14 Top PR and Integrated Marketing Communications Trends for 2014

Planning for Success: 14 Top PR and Integrated Marketing Communications Trends for 2014.

Planning for Success: 14 Top PR and Integrated Marketing Communications Trends for 2014

Image of Planning for Success: 14 Top PR and Integrated Marketing Communications Trends for 2014By Kenneth Kracmer, Managing Partner and PR Director, HCK2 Partners

It’s hard to believe that 2013 came and went so quickly. Fortunately, consensus is that it was a pretty good year for communications and marketing professionals alike. Looking back at 2013, most of the 13 trends we anticipated came to fruition. There is definitely a return to strategic planning geared toward identifying integrated campaigns that possess clear calls to action and measurable results.

Those of us who lived through 2008, and the years that immediately followed under the economic downturn, know the impact it had on the marketing communications industry, clients, corporations, agencies and hiring. Anyone responsible for hiring in 2013 knows PR and marketing professionals are once again very much in demand (also a top prediction made on last year’s list).

As a result of this momentum fueled by growth and optimism, there is no shortage of trends to anticipate for 2014, which is convenient since this list increases by one additional prediction each year—barring any major negative event or market correction, we should be happy this time next year.

Without the benefit of a dramatic drumroll, here’s a breakdown of the 14 marketing trends to watch for in 2014:

  1. Finding the right marketing mix remains an art, not a science. Now that Integrated Marketing Communications strategies appear to be here to stay (for a while), it is important to determine just how much emphasis to place on each element since resources and budgets are still finite.
  1. Communications and marketing pros are going retro and reinstituting increased number of email campaigns.For a number of years, the use of email declined, but many are rediscovering the value of direct contact and a clear call to action that is not always achieved through advertising or social media campaigns. Note to readers, email campaigns are only as good as the list you have, so create, update and maintain good databases.
  1. A clear, consistent, concise, customized content strategy is vital to success. Positioned as the foundation and building block of any successful integrated campaign, it is necessary to review and refresh key messaging on an annual basis. Dynamic content will need to be tailored to reach and engage target audiences, and timing will be equally important.
  1. Social media is here to stay but continues to evolve. Social media pros were among the hardest candidates to identify and hire in 2013. We don’t expect that to change for another year or two. Avoid jumping on bandwagons. Just because competitors are doing it, does not mean it is the best use of time and resources for your client or company. Determine who your target audiences are and then identify the best channels for engagement.
  1. Identify and interview candidates before you need them. For the first time in many years, demand for talent is so high that some undergrads have jobs secured before they actually graduate. There was a recent article that resulted from a poll, indicating that PR jobs would grow by 23 percent, while journalism jobs continue to decrease.
  1. If you did not overhaul your website in 2013, this is probably the year to do it. SEO strategies have evolved and there are better tools for managing content strategies that keep your site fresh, relevant and engaging. A content management system or CMS-based site might cost more initially, but it will pay off in the long run.
  1. Mobility solutions continue to gain momentum. Smart phones are ubiquitous and tablets are this year’s hottest holiday gift. Digital media is here to stay so adapt and optimize your strategy accordingly.
  1. The transition from traditional print to digital collateral will continue to accelerate. While there are still a few vertical industries that still rely heavily on print collateral, most marketers recognize the value and efficiency of digital materials which can still be printed on demand when necessary.
  1. Client case studies and testimonials will only increase in value for your business. While it still remains a challenge to secure permission to use client references and endorsements in sales, marketing and PR materials, it is worth the time and effort, given the value and credibility that comes with third-party validation for your client or company.
  1. Internet advertising campaigns and strategies will become a more significant portion of the marketing mix.Experts predict that Internet advertising will comprise nearly 25 percent of the entire ad market by 2015.
  1. If you haven’t already done so, check out the statistics on the impact visual marketing has when combined with a content strategy. Consider leveraging infographics or custom charts to summarize and reinforce your content.
  1. As a marketing tool, video is here to stay… at least for a while. Given the appeal, communicators are seeking new, creative ways to integrate video into content strategies and campaigns. Consider that each month more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube and more than 6 billion hours of video are watched there. That’s almost an hour for each person on Earth, which is up more than 50 percent from last year.
  1. For PR pros, revisit your media pitching strategies. In 2013, there were continued cuts in newsrooms while the number of total publications actually grew due to an increase in the number of digital media outlets. Basically, you have more opportunities to reach audiences more directly but you don’t have the luxury of time and interest from your media targets – make every pitch count.
  1. Networking is more valuable than ever. Online tools, such as LinkedIn, allow you to efficiently and effectively determine the targets that will help you grow personally and professionally, but it still helps to have a personal touch. Reach out often and expand your sphere of influence with the movers and shakers in your business community. It’s easier than you think.

Clearly, there is much to consider as you plan for success in 2014. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

As always, I love hearing feedback in the comments section about your predications and what you’re doing to prepare for them in your specific industry.

 About the Author:Kenneth Kracmer has more than 20 years of combined agency and corporate communications experience spanning industries, including banking, energy, information technology, healthcare, financial services, direct selling and telecommunications. Kenneth’s management portfolio includes Trend Micro, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Instruments, American Airlines, Sabre, MaryKay and HP Enterprise Services (formerly EDS). His bio: 

The State of Multimedia Use in PR (Free Webinar)

The State of Multimedia Use in PR (Free Webinar).

Join Us: Wednesday, December 11 @ 13:00 ET



Multimedia content is quickly becoming the way organizations are telling their story today. Today’s digital environment has turned our audiences into connected communities, and made visual communications more important than ever before. PR News and PR Newswire surveyed 452 communications professionals about their use of multimedia in press releases and social platforms and their plans for 2014.

Join PR Newswire for a lively discussion as we discuss the findings of the survey and the impact of multimedia in communications.


pranikoffalertMichael Pranikoff, Global Director, Emerging Media, PR Newswire

MatthewSchwartzMatthew Schwartz, Group Editor, PR News

Additional Speakers To Be Confirmed.

Why Social Media Broke PR – And How You Can Fix It (FREE WEBINAR)

Why Social Media Broke PR – And How You Can Fix It (FREE WEBINAR).

Join Us For In The Office With…


Christopher S. Penn, Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications

Wednesday, November 6th @ 2 – 3 PM Eastern

Register Now

hashtag #office1on1

Event Overview

Social media and new media changed the PR game forever when the relationship between brand and audience went direct. If you’ve been struggling to understand how to make social work for you and how to integrate it into your PR, marketing, and communications programs in a way that makes sense, don’t miss this webinar with SHIFT CommunicationsVice President Christopher S. Penn. You’ll learn why shared media doesn’t exist, what behaviors you’re looking to elicit from social audiences, how to measure the value of your efforts, and a unique framework for making paid, earned, and owned media deliver maximum results.

About Our Speaker

Christopher S. Penn has been featured as a recognized authority in many books, publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and US News & World Report, and television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and ABC News for his leadership in new media and marketing. In 2012 and again in 2013, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing.

Mr. Penn is the Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, a public relations firm, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s also the author of Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

Learn more about him at

Content marketing vs. traditional advertising

Content marketing vs. traditional advertising

By Kevin Allen | Posted: September 3, 2013
It’s tough to read anything about the advertising and marketing fields these days without seeing something related to content marketing. But how far has content marketing come?A new infographic asks this poignant question: Is content marketing traditional advertising’s new rival? 

Here are some facts:

• Companies with more than 1,000 employees are currently using an average of nine content marketing tactics.

• 51 percent of business-to-business marketers plan to increase their spending on content marketing in the next year.

Business-to-business marketers allocate a little over a quarter of their total marketing budget to content marketing.

That seems to make a strong case for content marketing at the very least starting to rival traditional advertising, but where are you willing to bet your (or a client’s) budget?

[RELATED: Learn why you need a content marketing plan at our fall content marketing boot camp.]

Check out the full infographic below to see which fighter packs the most punch: