Earlier this week, our shooting sports account and media buying team met with our regional VP for the NRA media group that manages print and digital media sales for all NRA publications. The objective for this meeting was to make us aware of the NRA advertising programs available in 2013, and give us information to help provide the most informative and strategic media recommendations for our clients. His organization taps into loads of valuable data regarding the shooting sports customer, and this information becomes part of the research we use to begin the media planning process for all our shooting sports clients.
As our NRA partner is aware, it’s never too early to begin the media planning/budgeting process. Even though we are reviewing and revising media plans throughout the year, the end of the third quarter marks a time to review, make changes and possibly set a new marketing course for the next year. To do this, we follow a process that begins with planning.
- Plan, plan, plan. Review your marketing plan and see how your media plan and budget may change for the next year. Are your objectives still on course? Have your target markets changed? Are there new introductions to your media mix (traditional, on-line, social) that need to be addressed on the 2013 plan?
- Build Relationships. Once you have an approved media plan, develop a partnership with the media groups. You can deal easier with someone that you know and have developed a relationship.
- Explore the possibilities. With a relationship in place, use your media rep. to identify all they ways you can leverage your buy within his or her media platform. Editorial opportunities, special interest publications, on-line tie-ins and social media partnerships are just a few of the areas that need to be explored.
- Negotiate a deal. You are now partners with the media rep., but you represent your company or client and need to get the best deal you can. Never accept the first proposal. Your business is important, and it has the best chance to grow when a limited budget is leveraged to get maximum exposure within the media platform.
- Stay in the game. Once the media plan and budget are approved, stay in touch with your media rep. Media plans are fluid, and may need to change through the year. Make sure you know about all the deals and special opportunities as they are introduced by your media partners. Moving dollars around a media plan is good business and keeps your media investment paying the highest dividend.
Like the relationship we have with our NRA media group, we work hard to develop strong partnerships with all our traditional and digital media organizations. As we serve as the front line of communications between the media and our clients, these well developed partnerships can pay valuable dividends during these days of planning and throughout the year as we implement each plan.