Providing Clients With Strategic Media Options

Nicola Hancock

You want options? We got options.

I've been working in the advertising industry for nearly 10 years now, with more than 8 of those years in media. I started by filing insertion orders and running small Facebook (right-hand only!) campaigns. Over the years, I've had my eyes on hundreds of media plans. One thing that I’ve noticed that makes a media plan succeed is providing the client with options.

As the province opens up, we’re getting back to business. Many businesses stopped or significantly limited their operations over the past few months due to the COVID-19 restrictions, and as we return to work and running advertising again, many clients have limited budgets. It’s been a tough year so far, but limited budgets or not, we’re here to help get our clients back on their feet. That means that options are especially important right now.


The Typical Process

We typically get briefed on one campaign that the client wants. And by now, I generally have a good idea of what the base of the campaign should be and maybe a few fun ideas to go along with it. I still go and do my research and hit up the social team for their thoughts, likely chat with the creative team and throw some ideas around and see if it sparks something with them. (Teamwork, baby!) I'll take all of that info and build out the campaign that would be best-case scenario for the client. I’ll build a campaign that meets all of their KPIs and objectives. It will be a true thing of beauty, IMHO.

But then, I'll build the plan that fits within their budget. It's not the most beautiful plan, but it's the best plan (their) money can buy. This is likely the plan that will be chosen when it comes to presenting the options. It's on budget and meets most of their objectives. Maybe it isn't absolutely everything the client thought it would be, but it works for them and it does a damn good job. When I present the options to them, the client doesn't know they will pick this option yet. They need to see the initial plan I built so they can see what they are actually asking for. Which is likely over their budget. But I give them options. I have shown them that it's possible to do literally everything they want, but it will cost much more. I like to start the presentation by showing the client the plan they were expecting to see, and gently letting them know the cost of said plan.

Then I show them the plan that is perfect for them. I show them the research I’ve done, and I sell them on the strength of the campaign, and the negotiations I've made on their behalf. Because I truly believe that this is the best plan for them and will work to meet their goals.


The End Result

It sounds like extra work. Why not just build the plan they want within the budget and call it a day? Well, because then I wouldn't be doing my job. If I know that there's a plan that will work, then of course I'm going to build that plan. But I also want the client to know that I made sure to exhaust all avenues. I want to them to know that I stretched their budget as far as it will go to ensure the hardest working plan for their dollars. They can be confident that I collected proposals from multiple vendors, negotiated some killer deals, and confirmed the most efficient costing with the best tactics to meet their needs. Most often, the client will pick the campaign I knew they would. And that makes me feel great and like I've done my job to the best of my ability. The client is happy and it's kind of cheesy, but that makes me happy.

And you never know. Sometimes, every once in a while, the client finds the budget to launch the best campaign. And it’s super exciting.