Sat. Jul 4th, 2020

Frank's Take

Boosting Mid-Market Media Buys Through Uncommon Sense

A Peek Inside Post Pandemic Media Planning

Last week I discussed the need for every company to have a post-pandemic media strategy that can anticipate the uncertainty that is to follow the country reopening after COVID-19. I stated that any company and agency worth its salt should have a Plan A, Plan B and a “Kill” Plan C.

As promised, today I’ll dive more into the factors of each one.

Plan A: Plan A is the preferred plan. It’s preferred for several reasons.
This plan is all encompassing and checks all the boxes you hope to check. This plan represents the country has reopened and gotten significantly “back to normal” as we knew it before the pandemic. It’s the plan that has the least obstacles and can be implemented with little concern of abnormal audience, behavioral patterns, and isolated habitation.

As is the case with many of our clients, media and marketing are brothers from another mother. They effortlessly seem to walk hand and hand, and each supports the other. This is the best model always, unfortunately many companies still do not follow this practice but for those that do, it’s more the marketing portion that could derail the media portion.

For example: We have a beverage client that does a large level of events, sponsorships, venue work and social behavioral stories to tell their brand story. Much of their budget not only goes into these endeavors but the majority of the media budget is spent supporting these investments. It’s layering their tactics and in my opinion is still the premier way to rise above all your competition’s noise.

But what happens when there are no sports, no eat in restaurants, open venues, or social gatherings of any consequence? If all you and your agency have done is planned around these circumstances and we are forced to hibernate again you have no executable plan! And, by the time you develop one, you will once again lose months of sales and consumers’ attention. Great for your competition, not so terrific for you!

Plan B: Plan B is just that, plan B.
This plan involves looking at past pandemic behavior and replacing every aspect of your plan A with better interlocking and consistent media components that will clearly be more useful during a pandemic. Having alternative methods of media already researched, negotiated and ready in the event that parts or all of plan A, fall by the roadside. This is the plan that needs to be compartmentalized and should include one replacement piece for each and every piece of plan A that my need to be scrapped.

For example: You have significant dollars invested in sports and sports venues and there are no sports, no venues, no concession stands but this is a position that typically garnishes you a considerable amount of your audience. What is a viable alternative? Have ready a large significant plan of first run, top rated male TV, CTV, and podcasts ready to go. If the fans aren’t in the stands, then greet them on their couch. Don’t fear, they’ll still snack and drink beer.

If social journeys and sampling are a major portion of your budget but it’s not safe to travel and there aren’t any folks able to personally engage with your endeavors, have ready alternative virtual journeys, AI and even gaming initiatives that will entertain your consumer audience. Since they are boxed in, they’ll be thankful for the distraction every day, even if it’s from their lounge chair.

Plan C: The “Kill’ Plan
The “Kill” plan is a plan all to itself but also includes contractually a clause that for the near future should be built into every contract, whether in plan A or B, so your client is not on the hook for a media outlet that will be of little use during the pandemic.

While a client may decide to stop all media, I strongly recommend against it, since it’s very likely your competitors won’t! This plan doesn’t actually kill plan A or B, but portions necessary and it gives you and your clients the opportunity to “kill” or tap out of the media outlets, sponsorships, events ,venues and other marketing and media that aren’t as useful during a pandemic and allow them to shift only their portion of the budget to higher more utilized media entities.

For example: Your client uses a significant portion of Out of Home but now finds that the traffic has been greatly decreased by “stay at home” orders. In this case your OOH is very similar to a tree falling in the woods. If no one is there when it falls, it’s a moot point whether it made noise or not since no one was there to hear it anyway!

In contrast, depending on the digital landscape and the competition, this might be an opportunistic time to buy digital non-preemptible video, pureplay, or in-app, downloadable book, etc. since so many consumers will not only be stuck at home, but be looking for entertainment of all kinds to occupy their home incarceration. While TV is a great outlet, with so many cord cutters, even CTV isn’t able to carry the burden all by itself. So, have alternative additional media methods in your toolbox, ready to go.

Force Majeure Clause:
Very few folks are familiar with this term, but you better become accustom to including it in everything you do for the foreseeable future. Basically a force majeure clause is an escape clause that only kicks in, in the event of horrific proportions, such as weather or pandemics or other acts of nature that you are completely unable to control. As every good clause has included, there are terms and conditions specifically listed in them, so you need to work out those details since one size doesn’t necessarily fit all and every busy may perceive an act of God as a blessing or a curse.

For example: The pandemic was horrific for retail store shopping, but terrific for on-line shopping and supermarkets. So, each force majeure has to be written to cover company specific ailments, not general ailments to all.

In conclusion, moving forward, it’s imperative a company have thee plans in place, just in case. Entire intertwined plans that can be swapped out entirely or in integrated and complimentary pieces. If you have this, then you should be able to weather whatever nature throws at you.

Let’s hope you never need to use any of my advice in this article, again!

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.
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