Gone are the days of Mad Men, when brands could use some combination of print, radio, TV, and/or billboards to reach practically every potential customer in existence. Nowadays, there are so many advertising platforms—each with its own unique audience—that it can feel a bit like a game of Whac-A-Mole trying to figure out where to promote your brand and its products.
That’s why determining the right balance of marketing channels is crucial to a successful advertising strategy. But of course, finding that balance requires a bit of work. In fact, according to a recent survey by HubSpot, 39 percent of marketers said that determining the optimal media mix is the biggest challenge they face in media planning.
The process can involve a lot of experimentation. The default strategy is often to just throw things at the wall until something sticks. But there’s a better way to find the mix that works best for your brand.
In this article, we’re going to take out the guesswork and help you determine the right media mix for your brand.
What is a media mix?
A media mix is the combination of all the communication channels a brand uses to advertise their products or services. If you advertise your products, then you already have a media mix. Even if you only communicate with your customers via email and product pages, that’s still a media mix—but probably not the best one.
Any communication channel you use for marketing purposes is part of your media mix. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Social media
- Print ads
- Television ads
- Radio ads
But if you’re just using whatever channels feel right at the time, then you’re missing out on a more targeted and effective approach.
Media mix optimization helps you be intentional about the media mix your brand uses. You’ll learn exactly which channels will best serve your brand, as well as when and how to use each one of them. The process of refining and optimizing your media mix is known as Media Mix Modeling (MMM).
How to choose the right media mix
Choosing your media mix is an ongoing process involving a lot of research and ongoing optimization. It all comes down to seven essential steps, which you may need to repeat periodically.
1. Identify your existing media mix
Before you can optimize your media mix, you need to take stock of what you’re already using. Think through all the marketing channels you employ, list them out, and note how frequently you use each one. Keep your existing media mix in mind as you research how to optimize it.
2. Invest in market-segment research
The communication channels you should use will vary wildly depending on your target market segments. For example, if your target market is largely made up of Millennials, you’re going to want to emphasize Facebook marketing, but if you’re trying to reach Zoomers, you’ll need to be on TikTok. There’s plenty of existing research to help you drill down to the right channels for your target audience, so you’ll want to start with an understanding of what has been proven to work.
3. Consider your business goals
What do you want to accomplish with your marketing communication? Are you trying to build awareness for your brand? Increase conversions? Improve your market share? Reach untapped markets? The goals you’re pursuing can also make a difference in how your optimal media mix should look. For example, some channels (like TikTok) are better for introducing your brand to new audiences and growing awareness, but not very effective at generating sales. Email, on the other hand, could be a lucrative sales channel but an ineffective path to growing awareness. And this dynamic will change over time.
4. Know your budget
Some communication channels cost more than others. We’d all love to have a Super Bowl commercial, but if you don’t have the budget, it’s a non-starter. And even if you do have the budget, it may not be the best use of your resources. While that may be an extreme example, the principle holds true across the board. You not only need to determine the best channels to use, but you also need to determine the best ways to use your limited resources within those optimal channels.
5. Collect data
The steps up to this point will have given you an informed starting point for your media mix. This will already be an improvement over feelings and guesswork. But to really know how well your media mix is performing—and to learn where there’s room for further optimization—you need data. You need tools that track:
- Where your customers are coming from
- Which of your communication channels they’re responding to
- How long they stay on your site
- What they’re doing while on your site
- Any items added to cart or purchases made
- Where they head and what they do once leaving your site
The challenge is connecting these data points to the specific channel someone first interacted with. Historically, brands haven’t had much visibility into what happens when, for example, someone clicks through a Facebook ad to view your product on a retailer’s site. But for the more than 2,000 brands that use PriceSpider’s Where to Buy tool, it’s easy to see how individual campaigns, posts, and channels lead to sales on ecommerce sites.
This visibility is crucial if you want to find the right media mix.
6. Test continually
Once you’re able to collect data, you’ll be able to start seeing which communication channels are performing well and which ones either need some work or aren’t worth the effort. Try out different strategies. Run A/B tests on promotions to see what works best. And keep adjusting your media mix in response to what the data shows.
7. Maintain ongoing optimization
Media and how people consume it are constantly changing. So your media mix needs to adapt to keep up. Media mix optimization is not an area where you can “set it and forget it.” Keep tracking analytics, keep running those tests, and keep making adjustments as the data shows you room for improvement.
Gain access to needed insights
Having the right data is essential for optimizing your media mix. And for ecommerce brands, the best way to collect that data is with PriceSpider’s Where to Buy tool.
Where to Buy not only makes it easy for your customers to locate your products wherever they prefer to make a purchase, but it also provides you with invaluable insights. You’ll learn which digital channels brought customers to your product pages on a retailer’s site, which campaigns secured sales, and what customers purchased and how much they spent—exactly the kinds of things you need to know in order to evaluate and optimize your media mix.
Want to learn what Where to Buy can do for your brand?