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Media planning - Basic Principles | Digital marketing for Digital dinosaurs

We identified a problem or an opportunity for this brand/product (the WHY).

We know exactly who we want to convince (the WHO)—we understand what triggers their interest, we follow them through their journey, we realise what their key digital touchpoints are.

We have then developed a communication concept with a specific message and translated it into creative executions (what) that potentially help convince this audience to behave the way we want.

Now we need to broadcast this message through digital media (WHERE).

The challenge here is how to plan and focus on the relevant digital media platforms.

One of the most common problems that marketers face is deciding which digital media platform to focus on.

This is a common problem for all marketers, whether they work in FMCG or any other industry.

When looking at digital media, the landscape can be overwhelming. Social media, programmatic, apps, e-sports, blogs, forums... we are exposed to a huge number of channels and it is hard to decide what to focus on.

This section wants to clarify some key principles first and provide a framework to help us navigate through the immense choice that the digital world provides.


Principle 1: A digital media strategy is an integral part of the plan. The choice of which media to use depends on what the goals are and who the audience is.

In other words, we start with our objectives and then choose media depending on the ability of that specific medium to engage the desired audience and meet the objectives.

Principle 2: different (relevant) media channels for different target groups

We, the people, use different types of media according to who we are and, most importantly, what we want from that experience (education? entertainment? information?).

If we want to communicate with students, we must choose media channels that are suitable for them, considering the type of experience they want from that media;

Media channels are different in many aspects: for example, the type of problem they solve for people, geography, age, level of details they can carry, reach potential, cost, etc. We should choose the ones that are more relevant for our target and our objectives.

In other words, the relevancy of the channel is more important than its coverage. Think about a business-to-business situation where a company needs to communicate with a very selected target group. For this company, it will be more effective to communicate in a specialised magazine instead of choosing to be on TV.

Principle 3: each channel works in a different way. In order to achieve our objectives, we must develop the most relevant media mix (you’re the manager of this football team!)

Some media channels are extremely powerful at creating awareness very fast amongst large numbers of people. Some are able to deliver a lot of information. Some are good at making people try the product. No media channel is better than another, but instead we need to think about how to orchestrate them to achieve our objectives.

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is about using different channels for different purposes. Like a football team, you have a goalkeeper, a middle field, and an attack. Each one is perfect for his job.


We start with our objectives. We look at the target and we select a mix of media.

The 3 principles discussed above are intrinsically connected to one another and they start from an important assumption: as people, we use media, and particularly digital, for some sort of need, a purpose, whether learning, entertaining, staying informed, buying something etc.

Think about this, we use:

  • Media to learn / knowledge: google, youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest

  • Media to entertain: youtube, tiktok

  • Media to experience first person: google maps, reviews, VR

  • Media to communicate / discus: formus, chat applications

  • Media to share / spread: FB, IG, Tiktok

  • Media to narrate / explain: blogs, FB

  • Media to participate / belong: twitter

  • Media to affirm our personality our personal brand: IG

The need we are trying to satisfy through a medium dictates what platform we use and how we use it, as well as what we do there.

If we want to plan for digital media, first we need to have a clear idea of why people are using different platforms, what needs they satisfy with that media, and then decide whether this is the right platform for our brand, whether it matches the objectives that the brand might have.

Let’s make a simple example. Let’s look at the differences between Youtube and LinkedIn, for example.

In one case, YT, we are there to learn or search for entertainment or search for how to's. On the other one, LinkedIn, we are there to check what is happening in our circle of professionals, or we are updating our CV, searching for a job... The reasons we use one or the other are really very different.

Let’s imagine we are from IKEA and our brand wants to educate people on how to assemble a cabinet (communication objectives). YT is a better platform than LinkedIn.

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