What are Media Strategies? Types and Tips

You’ve probably heard it before: “The medium is the message.” But who said it? Why does it matter in the world of media planning? The declaration comes from Chapter 1 of Canadian communications scientist Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McLuhan helped illuminate the power of language, s, and the mode of message delivery to influence human thought and behavior.

Marketers and professional communicators must know how to harness that power to deliver messages to the right people. No matter the nature of the message, it must be conveyed via some form of media.

And to make sure the message reaches the right people at the right time, marketers and communicators must understand media planning, which determines what, when, and how often messages are delivered in traditional forms (print, broadcast, outdoor ads, etc.) or digital forms.

The financial stakes are high in the digital advertising industry. According to research from the Winterberry Group, online media spending reached $145.3 billion in 2019, with investments increasing 19.1% over 2018. The highest growth categories included digital video, digital audio (podcasts and music streaming), and paid social ads.

Another report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reflects that online media spending has surpassed TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper ad spending, all of which are experiencing flat or declining sales. Spending on mobile ads is expected to increase from 70% to 81% of online ad sales between 2019 and 2023.

Media planners are responsible for making sure those billions of advertising dollars are not wasted. They must understand every aspect of media planning to support a messaging strategy that delivers the desired results.

It begins with understanding the definition of media planning, as well as its components, the types and purposes of different media platforms, and the factors that make up a media plan.

What is the media strategy?


Types of media strategies

Understanding the different types of media strategy is key when deciding which one to implement to achieve your desired outcome. The following are the primary types of media strategies:

Media concentration strategy

A media concentration strategy is an approach that focuses only on a select few types of media to reach a distinct target audience. Whereas some other media strategies incorporate the use of several media types, a media concentration approach narrows down the types of media used based on a specific target audiences trends. For example, a company may choose to only advertise or market on a specific social media platform rather than divvying up its resources to market on multiple social media platforms.

This type of strategy is ideal for companies that only want to attract a particular audience rather than a broader customer base. For example, a company that makes pool tables likely doesnt want to market to a broad audience as many people arent in the market for purchasing a pool table. So, the company is more likely to use a media concentration strategy to reach a select group of consumers the company knows is interested in purchasing this type of product.

Media dispersion strategy

A media dispersion strategy is an approach that uses a large variety of media types to reach a broad audience. This approach is most frequently used when a companys target audience cant be reached by marketing on only a few media platforms. A company using a media dispersion approach may place advertisements in several different media categories such as radio, social media, television and search engines. Using this strategy allows a business to reach a mass audience that may or may not be interested in its goods or services.

Earned media strategy

An earned media strategy refers to a marketing and advertising approach that aims to gain media or publicity organically. This is considered one of the best types of media strategies because it requires no payment or commission and is generated by a third party. Earned media strategies work because they increase trust in a brand or company through the promotion of that brand or company by others or third-party credibility. For example, a customer is more likely to purchase a product they see their favorite social media influencer using than they are a product they see a paid ad for.

Examples of earned media include:

Paid media strategy

A paid media strategy refers to a media approach in which the company promotes its content, services or goods through paid advertisements. These paid ads can be placed on various platforms, including social media, TV and radio. For example, pay-per-click advertising is a type of paid media that charges the company a small fee every time a user clicks on its ad.

Other examples of paid media include:

Paid media often works best in tandem with other types of media strategies such as earn media. Its a good way to attract potential customers but typically isnt used as the only media approach. Too much paid media can have more of a negative than a positive effect on target consumers as it can come off as pushy or forced.

Owned media strategy

An owned media strategy refers to an approach in which a company uses its own media to advertise or market its products or services. For example, posting information about an upcoming product launch on your companys blog is a type of owned media strategy. Owned media is any online property that is owned by the company or brand. Examples of owned media include social media platforms, websites and blogs. Having more owned media channels allows a company to have a larger digital footprint and reach more potential customers.

What are media strategies?

A media strategy is a type of strategy that implements the use of a particular media to achieve advertising or marketing goals. Media strategies are frequently used in advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness and interest in a companys products or services. However, media strategies often dont solely center around promoting a product or service; rather, they work to get the right message in front of the right people to draw in more of a companys target audience both in the short term and long term.

Today, many media strategies implemented by businesses are done so on social media platforms. This is because most people spend a significant amount of time on social media and even shop for and make purchases on these platforms.

Tips for marketing with media strategies

The following are a few key tips to consider when implementing a media strategy for your company:


What are the five major components of media strategy?

Key Components of a Strategic Advertising Media Plan
  • #1: Aligned Marketing and Business Objectives. …
  • #2: Audience Assessment. …
  • #3: Coordinated Channels and Tactics. …
  • #4: Budget and Campaign Timetables. …
  • #5: Measurement Criteria. …
  • The Take-Away.

What is an effective media strategy?

If you want an effective media strategy, you need to understand who your target audience is and the media they consume. The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people. What is your audience demographic and what are their interests?

What are the elements of media strategy?

The key elements of a media strategy
  • Objectives. What do you want to achieve and why? …
  • Target audience. Who do you want to talk to and why? …
  • Tone of voice. What kind of personality do you want to convey? …
  • Key messages. What do you want people to think, feel or do? …
  • Content. …
  • Media training. …
  • Crisis comms. …
  • Managing expectations.

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