What’s the Most Effective Media Mix?

A question that’s often posed by our clients is what the most effective media mix is for them, their business, or their brand. Our response is always the same: It depends on what your goals are. Focus has indeed shifted over time to loftier strategies that include massive spending in digital marketing, but that’s not always the right strategy. Data shows how being bombarded with messaging, in cases by as much as ten thousand ads a day. Messaging overload has made it increasingly hard to deliver brand recall. We’ve grown a negative perception of advertising, where ads are, in some cases, considered a hindrance to our experience. That is not always true. Yes, while ads may be intrusive, they allow us exposure to new experiences that we may not otherwise. These experiences can be positive, as they pertain to services or products that improve our lives, save us money, or provide us with a useful service.

One of the primary goals of a media plan is to drive brand awareness and recall. While in some cases we’re attracted to or make whim decisions based on immediate exposure, in other cases, we may have no use for the product or service right now but will in the future. In cases like retail products, like activewear, we may be attracted by a Facebook or Instagram ad showing pieces of clothing that we can utilize during our workout routine. That may make us indulge in a moment of online shopping. In other cases, it may be a product or service that we may not have an immediate need. An example of that could be a new bank account. While we may have no obligation to open a new bank account, having a positive and reinforced perspective of the services of a particular bank or branch will help drive our brand recall. We define brand recall as the ability to recall a brand or product we’ve been exposed to in the past at the time we have an intent to take action. Meaning that the day that we do consider opening a new bank account, the customer will be able to recall having seen a specific bank or branch that has a special offer for new bank accounts. What gives the brain the ability to remember that brand at the instance of intent or momentum is a mixture of a positive experience, meaning someone in our trusted circle mentioned a brand or perception from exposure to messaging that resonated with us with the number of times we experience that brand or message. Nowadays, it can take up to 14 exposures to a brand or message within two weeks to drive brand recall.

How brand recall reflects on your media buying and advertising strategy will differ based on your priorities and how you understand your customers. For some brands, like banks, the priorities may shift at the local and regional level from the national priorities. Local branches may need to prioritize messaging of inclusiveness if they’re in a diverse area or benefits if they’re in an older demographic area. They may also need to prioritize messaging of proximity, availability, hours of operation, and other conveniences that are important to local customers. As an example, the national institute of health recently reported that customers are willing to walk up to half a mile for products or services but not more. Therefore, a bank’s message may need to include different out of home messages to target foot traffic than to target transit or vehicular traffic. The point is that one message does not fit all. For media placement to be effective, it is not only where you place the media but how you target and customize the message to fit your audience’s needs that will drive brand recall at the time when there’s momentum in the decision to take action.


  1. Intent: What intent is your media addressing? When looking at your customer, what is it that is going to drive them to your product or service?
  2. Media Demographics: Content consumption varies based on demographics. How effective a short video will depend on the age and medium targets viewing it. Millennials appeal to video is undeniable, however, having grown in the video era, they are quick to identify stock footage from original videos and are therefore more resistant to pay attention to a video that is stock. In contrast, videos created in partnership with influencers will be far more effective as these are perceived as real experiences. Gen X users work differently, while stock footage is still a relevant factor; the messaging surrounding the video will take priority to the video itself. Highlighting the benefits of watching the video, like a special offer, discount, or another benefit, will affect the length of the video the user will watch.
  3. Media Ethnography: Awareness of media diversity is one of the critical drivers of consumption in diverse communities. Our exhaustive “Marketing Means Diversity” report, highlights a 2019 Bloomberg report showed that African Americans are 20% more likely than the total population to say they will “pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey.” In that report, we gathered data from more than 20 reputable sources on how diversity affects marketing effectiveness and media placement.
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  4. Media Proximity: How close in proximity to the product or service is the consumer. At our agency, we develop strategies that, in specific cases, prioritize budgets and messaging based on proximity by creating geographically fenced areas both in digital and physical mediums. Within these areas, we deliver customized messaging targeted to persons in vicinity tot he advertised product or service.
  5. Media Relevance: Each medium is active in a different way to appeal to different audiences. While a billboard is just a billboard, the messaging on that billboard may be relevant to a diverse audience than the creation of the advertisement, and that may have different relevance to foot traffic than it does to transit. While you won’t always be able to please everyone, it is essential to base those decisions on your measurable priorities to determine how effective your existing message is to achieving the ROI that your advertising should yield.

There’s a lot more than 5; other characteristics include media environment (the demographic environment where the media is placed), media timing (correct times differ depending on the media type, target and messaging), and many more. The point is that your media effectiveness will only be as measurable as the priorities you set to it, how your media program develops to fulfill those priorities, and the characteristics that you place as the measure of the effectiveness of those priorities. The win then is in the details and your ability to dedicate the time to analyzing and pivoting based on those metrics.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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