Telmar News & Insights

Thinking of investing in media planning software? Here’s what to look for.

July 27, 2021


To say media planners operate in an environment of constant change is akin to chanting the plainly obvious. It’s become such a cliché in our industry it’s hardly worth repeating. 

It is also fair to say that it’s the marketers who choose to embrace this ongoing change who tend to thrive most. But there’s another important aspect to being so focused and persistent. And that’s recognizing what doesn’t change quite as much. At the end of the day, media planners are relied on to determine the best time and place a desired audience can be reached – while helping to achieve good results on KPIs like engagement and ROI.

Technology (ie: software) designed to assist these efforts can be a mixed bag. While digital channels and social media proliferate, improvements in data gathering and analytics help us more deeply understand the consumers we want to reach. Additionally, the data that results from these efforts can provide a range of useful and actionable insights for marketers.

But those insights aren’t always easy to get at. Too often, constraints on your time and the client’s budget conspire to add pressure to an already difficult job.


While media planning software often promises to help you accomplish more, better, and in less time, it’s up to you to make sure it does. So, when evaluating your options, it pays to prioritize three key capabilities above the rest.

1.Demand data visualization that helps uncover insights

Consider data without visualization for a moment. Here, you may have rows and columns of numbers that are difficult to contextualize or ascribe meaning to. Not so easy, right? At the very least, it’s time consuming.

Data visualization plots complex information in the form of graphs or charts that are much easier to understand and derive meaning from. When data visualization is done right, marketers are far better positioned to spot emerging connections, identify valuable and overlooked relationships, and discover insights that can be used to drive strategy. 

There are numerous ways to present data. But knowing which is most appropriate for a given set of numbers in relation to a goal can require a bit from both sides of our brains. 

For instance, illustrating the difference between two or more things is commonly referred to as a comparison. Showing the interaction between two or more things reveals a relationship. Marketers may want to identify attributes that members of a particular customer base have in common to help determine their composition. Similarly, they may also want to examine how different attributes are allocated in a group to assess distribution.

But how should you present these various associations visually? It might depend on what you want to accomplish with your audience, but some graphs tend to be suited to certain kinds of data. 

Not only does data visualization help people make sense of complex data, but it also improves context. For example, one study found that when presented with data alone, 68% of a group believed it to be true. However, the addition of a simple graph to the presentation of the same data raised the number of believers to 97% of the group. 


2.Improve data integrity by using multiple sources

To create a more comprehensive picture of the media landscape, try to maximize the number of data sources that are integrated into the process. 

More data sources means more details. And more details can lead to higher-quality results, better insights, and more informed conclusions. 

On its face, it’s a simple equation, right? Whenever you’re asking yourself, “How can I achieve the best results, for this client?” you can remember that data integrity increases as the number of reliable data sources increases.

But in reality, integrating data from different sources can be challenging. Some data is collected in aggregate, while other campaigns collect information on a personal or individual level. This data can be difficult to normalize and integrate into useful analytics. 

The ideal data source provides cross-media data integration that combines results across all channels – like print, digital, and even in-store or direct mail advertising. Including more diverse sources of data translates into more educated decision-making processes that are better-aligned with long-term strategic objectives.


3.Boost the quality of your data analytics process

While integrating data from various different sources is incredibly useful, gathering reliable data in the first place is even more important. 

After all, once any set of data has been collected and organized, you’ll want to use it to make decisions you’ll have confidence in. While high-quality input doesn’t necessarily mean high quality output, low quality input practically prevents it. 

So, data analytics – when practised with high quality data – helps you more accurately draw the conclusions needed to devise strategies, measure successes and failures, and improve decision making throughout your operations. 

In other words, data analytics essentially provides a source of truth as to what is happening in the real world. 

Think about your data management platform for a moment. It’s a tool meant to help media planners identify and engage specific audiences at targeted moments in time. Integrating data into operational processes allows media professionals to quickly access and analyze responses to consumer surveys and better leverage data on particular demographics, behaviors, and markets. 

Real-time data integration services can boost transparency across all channels — including TV, radio, internet, magazines, newspapers, social media, and mobile — by enabling them to evaluate brands, products, and attitudinal targets in timely and actionable ways.


Summary and takeaways

While data and technology can help marketers improve audience targeting, they can also lead to challenges. Though media planners aim to deliver the best results for every client – they are increasingly asked to do more with less. 

To harness the power of data analytics and make the best use of available data, it’s important to leverage the most effective tools available. Software designed to assist media planning needs to actually help you achieve better targeting, personalization, and ROI. 

Just try to keep the advice outlined above in mind. Any investment you make in technology should actually help you save time, money, and achieve better results over the long term. Any data visualization aspect should help you quickly gather useful insights. It should help you efficiently use multiple sources to improve data integrity – and you should be gathering the highest quality data from the start.


Discover the Competitive Edge You’ve Been Looking For

You know data integration as a technique meant to help many different players in the advertising ecosystem. Media sales houses use it to gain a clearer picture of their total audience. Advertisers use it to make better media investment decisions. And agency professionals use it to accomplish better results with less resources. 

But integrating data in ways that will truly help optimize your results is rarely easy. 

For ideas on how to gain an edge, download your copy of our new eGuide called, Supercharge Your Marketing Intelligence with Data Integration.”

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