July 05, 2017 @ 12:00am

Personas and media planning

A few weeks ago, we discussed what personas are and how a business can use them to create a marketing strategy. Now, let’s take those concepts a bit further and see how personas can be used to buy advertising space and develop a media strategy.


What is media?

When advertisers talk about “buying media” they mean the space where your advertisement will appear. Media can refer to a quarter page ad in a monthly magazine, a prominent billboard that tourists drive by on their way into your town, a 15-second radio commercial that runs on a popular country station or even a 30-second television commercial that plays before a popular program. That person performing acrobatics on the side of the road with a sign? Yeah, that’s considered a media option. 

If you want to focus on the digital route, you can place banner ads at the top of popular websites or even run ads off streaming music apps, like Pandora. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter also offer built-in advertising options to help get your brand out there.

These avenues (print, outdoor, radio, television, and digital) offer many customizable options to hit your target audience. For example, if you want to run a radio ad, you can select what type of music you want your ad to run alongside (i.e. Pop, Oldies, Techno, Country, or even that weird yodeling station you can’t get enough of). If you want to place an ad in a state-wide, monthly magazine, you can select in section your ad will appear, and how big or small you want it to be.

Narrowing down all these options into the best media strategy for your business can be tricky, but that’s where personas come back into play. 

How can personas narrow down media options?

A typical persona includes a basic demographic look at your audience; their age, gender, income, and neighborhood, as well as a brief look at hobbies/interests, social media sites they frequent and how they make purchasing decisions. These details can help guide you on your path to the best media strategy to reach your target audiences. 

For example, if one of your personas is a young professional who spends much of their time on the go, a great way to reach them could be through mobile digital advertising. If a key demo in your persona group is from the Baby Boomer generation, perhaps more traditional avenues, like billboards or local newspaper ads, could be your winning ticket.

Avoid Stereotypes

It’s easy to generalize that Millennials are mobile-savvy and Baby Boomers still rely on their local newspaper and news programs to stay informed. However, just like your company is unique from your competitors, so too is your target audience. Taking the time to interview real people matching your personas is a crucial step to ensure you’re not missing information revealing where your audience is really hiding in the marketplace. Who knows, maybe your Baby Boomer audience is really into music and they’re on Pandora day and night? If that’s the case, spending the money on a continuous Pandora ad could be much more beneficial than placing an ad in the paper.

Final Thoughts 

Building thoughtful, detailed personas can be a time-consuming process. But it’s worth the extra effort because a great persona can inform your entire advertising strategy at no additional cost.

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

About the author: Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith has been the Dynamic Social Innovator at 6AM Marketing since March 2017. She has a Master's degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and extensive experience creating content and social media campaigns. 

Post tags:Strategy

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