Does this scenario sound familiar? You and your agency have done excellent work defining the target audience, developing creative strategy and coming up with compelling work. Now you’re ready to get a media plan together and get rolling.
But wait, what’s the media budget? How much will it actually take to make the advertising work? This is not the time to say, “Do a plan, and tell us what it will cost.” There’s a chance that whatever it takes to do the job might be well beyond what you’d hoped to spend–leaving both you and the agency disappointed with the loss of all that valuable planning time and money. Why not focus the agency’s creativity, instead, by defining the media budget first? (Yes, media can be creative, too.)
Different budget levels will most likely produce different media strategies. Let the agency demonstrate what your specified budget can deliver against the defined target audience. A good ad agency, with media capability on staff, will analyze criteria such as competitive spending levels to develop a solid strategic plan. If nothing else, this will produce healthy conversation and collaboration.
If the budget is insufficient to produce the desired result within the desired geography, and you have the time, consider smaller-scale testing. If the budget is flexible, determine how the media strategy and/or message delivery would change with each new budget level.
Holding back budget information to see what the agency will recommend rarely achieves the best results. Let the agency exercise media creativity within set parameters. If issues arise, the agency will identify them, provide insight and then work with you to solve the problem. This makes the process not only quicker and easier. It keeps everyone positively engaged.