Few professionals are better positioned to observe the ongoing paradigm shifts in the media business than planners and buyers. In recognition of this, Adweek's Media Plan of the Year Award for 2014 has widened the pool for global entries.
One of this year's jurors, Archana Kumar, Chief Strategy Officer at MediaCom USA, has a record of provided stellar global leadership to leading brands and organizations, including Johnson & Johnson, GE, FedEx, and Unilever.
We asked Kumar to talk about some of the differences between U.S.-focused media plans compared to plans targeting foreign markets. Here's what she had to say:
"At MediaCom, we have a global communications planning process to ensure, regardless of market, our planners approach the media plan with a total understanding of how the entire system works. We ensure that all the touchpoints are connected and are driving the consumer forward to a clear action, and that there no dead-ends. However, when it comes to execution and implementation, there are differences between markets like the U.S. and other parts of the globe. These are mostly based on the size of the market and level of sophistication of the media landscape.
"Below are five key differences to consider when crafting plans for the U.S. vs. other markets:
1. Delivering scale with channel fragmentation
The media marketplace is getting more and more complex in every market. However, the U.S. has become so fragmented that some basic fundamentals of media planning need to be revisited. The most obvious example is the erosion of primetime television, where today there are fewer and fewer opportunities to deliver huge reach and significant challenges from other media like digital homepage takeovers.
2. Answering the question of national vs. local
Domestically there are over 200 markets. This creates an opportunity to be more targeted and efficient with media dollars as well as to customize messaging. But it also presents a challenge in balancing between national and local. The reality is that in many smaller countries, you can reach the majority of the population within a single urban area.
3. Diversity of the population
In the U.S. there's a necessity to represent different ethnicities, which can even vary by designated market area. This isn't always the case in other markets.
Here in the U.S. we assume that basic and industry standard media data will be available for planning purposes. In other countries, particularly developing ones, either the source is missing or the medium isn't tracked, leading to tough choices about media prioritization.
There are no shortage of resources and data in wealthy markets, which can allow for more innovation. However, on the other side, execution in the U.S. can be more regulated. In some non-U.S. markets, stunts, physical activation and spectacular out-of-home can be really exciting.