With an increasing number of local media outlets and devices competing for the consumer’s attention, a common question is, “What is the best media mix for my brand?”

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the best mix of local media tactics. But, if you consider these tips you will be much closer to developing an effective campaign. Consider the following tips before implementing your next local media strategy:

1. Leave your assumptions at the door.

It is difficult to discount your own media habits or “focus group of one” when approving a mix of media tactics, but try. The most effective approach is media neutral and based on research.

Analyzing quantitative research (e.g., Nielsen or ComScore) and qualitative research (e.g., Media Audit or Scarborough) is an important first step to understanding exactly what tactics and local media vehicles will be most effective to reach your target audience.

Just because you listen to talk radio, doesn’t mean that’s the right way to reach your audience.

2. Refine your target geography.

One key to an effective local media strategy is avoiding the waste of reaching consumers that are outside of your service area. It may be exciting to see your TV commercial in the newscast that you watch every night. But, if you aren’t trying to reach everyone in the television viewing area, this could be a waste of money.

A local media plan can be tailored to a cluster of zip codes or a specific county group. There are many tactics that effectively reach a select geographic area and reduce your overall media expenditure.

This strategy may not be as sexy as running a TV commercial in the Super Bowl, but it will be far more cost effective.

3. Define your call-to-action.

Before you develop your local media strategy, define how your results are measured and the desired action from a consumer. This should be easy, right? You want more customers! Of course, but think about HOW you want them to interact with your brand.

The local media tactics need to achieve your objectives. You won’t generate call volume with an outdoor board (that’s dangerous), but you can drive traffic to your store with a directional message.

You don’t want to direct someone to a website and ask them to call a phone number for information. Make the process as easy as possible for a consumer to engage with your product or service. Think about where you want them to go and what you want them to do. All tactics won’t work for every call-to-action.

4. Measurement Matters

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, establish measurable metrics and how you will define success during the planning phase. This will not only shape how you determine if the campaign was successful, but it can also change which tactics are included in the media plan.  

If you are trying to increase call volume, consider unique phone numbers in more traditional tactics, but you’ll also need to implement call-tracking and click-to-call functionality in your digital campaigns. And with a direct response objective, the mix may rely more heavily on tactics to drive bottom of the funnel conversions.

If you are advertising for a retail location and you want to track store visits then offline attribution is critical. This needs to be implemented during planning and your team needs to implement all of the tracking infrastructure before the first impression is served.  It will also change the mix where you may rely less on search and consider navigation apps for the bottom of the funnel.

And, in the age of conversion tracking and ROAS (return on ad spend) don’t forget about the importance of brand awareness and getting into the consideration set. This can be a little more difficult to track but if you establish benchmarks upfront then you can gauge success and gather actionable insights to build upon for the future.   Every good media plan is a continuum and shouldn’t remain stagnant based on old assumptions. Let us know how we can help evolve your media.