Today’s consumers are inundated with marketing messages. The average American sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. Breaking through the noise to actually reach and engage your audience has never been more difficult.
This challenge is especially true for cooperatives looking to connect with members. Your audience is being pulled in countless directions – by news, social media, streaming entertainment, and more. To stand out, you need an optimized media mix that puts your brand front-and-center.
Member engagement is the lifeblood of a cooperative. You need to proactively reach individuals on the right platforms, at the right moments, with relevant messaging. This drives awareness, consideration, and action.
In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to build a strategic, integrated media plan tailored specifically to your members. Follow these best practices to make the most of your marketing dollars and effectively engage the community you serve.
Know Your Audience
Member-powered businesses have an advantage: you know your audience well. They are a part of who you are as a business. But it is still essential to outline who you are reaching, where they can be found, and the best ways to reach them.
Each market has its unique blend of media consumption habits, which will be a big factor in your media buy. Answer these questions to help guide your audience building:
- What is the rate of broadband in our community?
- Does over-the-air TV remain strong and stable, or are more people turning to streaming services?
- Are there social networking sites that have a larger voice and engagement for our audience?
- Who is considered the trusted source of news and information?
Utilize focus groups or surveys to get direct member input into their current media channels.
Building your audience profile will make creating a plan to connect and engage with your audience easier.
Set Clear Campaign Goals
Building a campaign with clear goals will give you a clear direction to build from. Start with a simple question: Where do you want to be at the end of your campaign?
Are you driving event attendance? Promoting a new program? Building your business as a trusted source for information? Goals dictate optimal media channels.
Awareness campaigns benefit from media buys on television, radio, billboards, streaming and online video, print, and local sponsorship. However, these campaigns can take more work to track desired outcomes.
Promotional campaigns can be much more actionable and, in turn, trackable. Focus on media channels that allow for tracking to measure effectiveness. These include pre-roll videos, display ads, email campaigns, paid search, and paid social media.
Allocate Budget Wisely
Determining how much to spend on each media channel in your mix requires both an art and a science. Be sure to balance tried-and-true approaches like print and TV with digital. Print and TV can deliver campaigns to a tangible and trusted audience but at a premium cost and less flexibility with targeting and testing.
When allocating the budget to traditional media platforms, assess the standard advertising rates for placements in your geographic and demographic targets. Negotiate based on volume, frequency, and timing to get the best value. Be sure to also account for the production costs of high-quality creative assets.
For digital platforms, set aside a portion of funds for testing and optimizing new channels and approaches. Start small to determine effectiveness, then allocate more to the best-performing tactics. Consider investing more in digital if your targets skew young or are tech-savvy. Social media ads, online video, paid search, and retargeting may warrant larger budgets.
Work with your media planning agency to determine the right mix of channels and budget allocations based on campaign KPIs, audience insights, competitive analyses, and more. Be prepared to optimize spending levels across channels depending on performance continuously. The ideal budget breakdown will be unique for every brand and campaign.
Experiment and Optimize
Testing campaigns can be a small endeavor but bring big insights into your future marketing plans. Start small with test budgets and experiment with ad copy, images, or placements. Then, as you build and learn, expand upon what works.
With digital advertising, your ability to test different approaches on a small scale can help you see the impacts on your business before committing large amounts of money.
Start by conducting A/B tests with multiple ad variations to see what messaging, offers, and creative performs best. Test different bidding strategies and budgets for paid search and social campaigns to find the right balance of volume and conversion rate.
Lean into tools like Google Analytics 4, UTMs, and tracking pixels to measure each experiment’s performance. Track key metrics like click-through rates, engagement rates, sessions, and website clicks.
Be prepared to iterate frequently – optimization is an ongoing process as new options emerge.
Monitor and Adjust
Once your media plan is in the market, it’s crucial to monitor performance closely across every channel and tactic. With digital advertising, real-time optimization is possible to improve results over the campaign lifetime.
Look at both quantitative and qualitative metrics to assess effectiveness across the key areas of reach, engagement, and conversion. Track impressions and click-through rates to understand reach. For engagement, analyze metrics like time on site, pages per visit, and social comments/shares. And for conversions, monitor sign-ups, purchases, or other defined goals.
To facilitate regular monitoring and optimization, consider building a customized media marketing dashboard. This provides a centralized hub to view key metrics and track performance across all platforms.
Pull in data from various sources like Google Analytics, Facebook, ad networks, and individual campaign dashboards. Integrate traditional media engagement analytics provided by your media partners.
Media consumption patterns can change rapidly, so stay on top of performance at least weekly. Be ready to re-evaluate and rebalance your media mix to adapt. With continuous optimization, you can achieve maximum marketing impact within your budget.
An Optimized Media Mix Drives Member Engagement
In today’s fragmented media landscape, cooperatives must take an intentional, data-driven approach to optimize their media mix for maximum member reach and engagement.
Start by thoroughly understanding your audience – their demographics, values, preferred platforms, and more. Establish clear campaign goals and KPIs that tie to business objectives. Allocate the budget across channels where your members are most active. Traditional outlets still hold weight, but digital allows for testing and efficiency.
Experiment extensively with different messaging, platforms, and targeting approaches. Continuously monitor performance through customized dashboards, then rebalance and refine based on results. Meet members where they already are on the channels they trust.
The brands that win are those that know their audience inside out and reach them at exactly the right moments. Follow these best practices, and your media plan will drive meaningful engagement with the members at the heart of your cooperative.
For help developing an effective media plan, contact our team of experts at Fungi Marketing.