The media budget is one of the most important, and often the biggest investment, for a marketing manager. Despite this, many media budgets are set on fairly loose foundations. Håkan Gustafsson, Strategy Director PHD Sweden, gives some tips on how to get the most out of your media budget.

  1. Use an investment planning tool to set your budget. Don’t guess.

Before presenting your budget proposal to management, you need to do your homework.  Clearly define what job the communication is actually supposed to do. It is also important that the communication goals are quantified e.g. increase the proportion with a positive attitude from 17 to 23%.

Set your channel goals, and then figure out what efforts are required in each individual media. At PHD we use good investment planning tools with mathematical calculations based on advanced AI and the combined results of several thousand econometric studies.

  1. Trademarks that place too much importance on short-term activation are eroded over time.

Don’t underestimate the importance of long-term effects. In recent years, technological opportunities to make effective and targeted campaigns with a focus on conversion and sales have resulted in many customers moving too much of their budget from long-term brand-building campaigns to short-term activation.

Activation gives a high and fast return, but with a rapidly decreasing effect. It also does not build the brand over time. Brand-building campaigns produce a slower effect and rarely exchange in direct sales. However, they are necessary for long-term growth. Studies show that the optimal mix between branding and activation is around 60/40.

  1. Invest in econometric modelling.

One of the oldest and most worn advertising clichés is that half of all advertising is wasted, and that we do not know which half.

But now we do know for sure. Most media agencies today can help you with different types of econometric modelling, i.e. by using advanced statistical analysis and methods, we can isolate the effect of each individual effort in your media plan. We can then easily buy more of what works and less of what does not.

Not spending any percentage of the budget to find out how the different parts deliver is actually pretty reckless.

  1. Buy digital media programmatically.

Programmatic purchases are the most cost-effective way to buy video and banners online. It is humanly impossible to be as effective as an automated buying option. If you’re looking for the cheapest flights to Paris, it’s more efficient to use a price comparison service than to manually compare prices for all airlines.

Similarly, programmatic purchasing uses systems that automatically compare and bid on inventory. However, buying digital media is more complicated than buying airline tickets, so make sure your media agency still monitors and optimises your campaign daily.

  1. Hire a media agency.

Finally, buying media space is becoming increasingly complex and there are just a few advertisers that are so large that it pays to have specialists who manage the purchases in-house. The increased fragmentation has also meant that more and more specialised specialists are required every year.

A profitable tip for getting the most out of your media budget is to use the services of a good media agency for planning, buying and optimisation.

Read the original article published in Swedesh on byråvärlden.com.