A survey of the extent of media plan implementation for leading brands by Kenyan advertising agencies
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Media planners in advertising agencies are faced with greater challenges as Kenya's media becomes increasingly fragmented. In order for them to make sound planning and scheduling decisions they must take several important environmental and demographic considerations into account. Advertisers seek to maximize the return on advertising investment by selecting those media that will deliver the messages most efficiently and effectively. A useful model for building a media plan centers on four questions: Who do we want to reach? Where are they located? What is the Message? When do we run the advertisements? Previous research projects have cited the lack of sufficient audience research data to answer these questions as one of the limitations of good media planning practices in Kenya. In addition to this, there are instances of the available data conflicting with information from separate sources. This research set out to survey the extent of media plan implementation in the face of ambiguous market research in an environment with numerous media vehicle alternatives to select from. The study used the survey method and was based on the following research objectives: i) To analyse media planning cycles and inputs into the planning process. ii) To determine the extent to which media planners implement their plans. The population of the research was those brands that advertise in the Kenyan electronic, print and outdoor media. The sampling frame was those brands that are listed as heavy advertisers by the research and media monitoring company Steadman & Associates Ltd. The survey sample comprised 36 brands that had advertised the most between March and May 2003. Primary data was obtained using a structured questionnaire administered through personal interview. The questionnaire was divided into sections according to the research objectives. There were 28 respondents, which translated to a 77.8% response rate. The data was analysed using narrative, frequencies, graphs and charts. The main findings were as follows: The length of the planning cycle used by media planners was one of the factors that affected the extent to which plans were implemented. In addition to this, competitor-driven advertising led media planners to adjust their schedules to compete for Share of Voice in the media vehicles used by their competitors. Other factors that led to variances between media plans and implementation were unexpected campaign response, characteristics of the media vehicle and media shortcomings. It was also found that while most advertising agencies use mathematical optimization models to plan their media schedules, they also modified the outputs using rule-of-thumb methods.