Media Planning: Winning Moments with Customer Journeys

Advertising is no longer the ATL & BTL dichotomy. You’ve probably heard this before and usually marketers immediately throw a few more jargons when talking about it, like 'through-the-line', 'customer journeys' and 'multiple touch-points'. These concepts are wildly and easily thrown up in the air but are rarely understood and put to practice. So what exactly are they and how do you apply them?

It’s all about winning the relevant moments.

With an ever-growing list of media, media types, formats, devices and an ever-growing list of granular targeting options per each one of them, to effectively draw consumer attention you really need to understand where, how and when these consumer “higher attention span” moments happen and by effectively, I mean, not only without wastage but also, with relevancy. Being relevant to consumers is to understand that certain advertising brand contexts are better suited to certain media platforms, consumer behaviours, audience types, timings and most importantly the right type of message. This is where customer journeys come in, or if you prefer, linear marketing funnels and 'through-the-line' advertising. These are the frameworks that create effective media plans. It starts by understanding the brand’s audience - Who is the brand’s potential customer? What journey does this potential buyer have until your advertising converts them?  This is known as the Audience-first approach.

Without going into a lot of detail, if we look at an online fast fashion brand, typically you have a female audience aged 16-26. By understanding this audience we can then see what real life and online behaviours they have, what media they use in both of these worlds and most importantly when. Taking a closer look at this audience will tell you that actually there are at least two distinct groups: students and young professionals. These two groups will have very different behaviours both online and offline. Zooming in on the young professional's audience and correlating their behaviours with the media they use and are exposed to, our next step would be to understand their potential “journey”. For example, looking at a 24h window, a young professional wakes up and more often than not, the first thing they will do is open up their Instagram. This is your first opportunity at targeting to this audience with relevant ads, this is known as your first “touchpoint”.

Then, as this engaged professional will commute to work, you will have a second opportunity to target them. Since we are talking about low priced clothing, potentially this young professional will commute by public transport which will make your second touchpoint bus sides and passenger panels.

Fast forward to the evening, a peak time for online purchases, this potential buyer is already aware of the brand and will search the internet for your website by searching the brand name on Google Search, where they will be served with Shopping Ads. This is likely to be your 5th or 6th touchpoint. Throwing in TV and celebrity shows, the average touchpoints a customer will go through before converting is eight.

This is a quick example of a very simple 'through-the-line' customer journey advertising tactic that focuses on winning relevant moments with a choice of channels and the use of offline and online media. To note, having an 'audience-first' marketing approach will provide optimal and effective results in the long term.

I recommend reading our Liverpool ONE Integrated Media case, which has been shortlisted for 4 awards this year, that shows in more detail how to put into practice all of these concepts.