After the seismic shift in trust post-pandemic, consumers look at activities, products, and messages with a newfound and deeply rooted skepticism, making it difficult for marketers to not only regain trust from current customers, but creating new relationships. There is no doubt that the pandemic has forced media to become a center point of people’s daily lives. Thus, leaving brands to invest more money into media as it has become a priority to stay connected with their customers. To realize your media goals and get maximum traction from your marketing efforts, you need to understand the media landscape more than ever.

In this article President of LEAP Amp, Ryan Smith, will break down 10 myths about modern day media to provide a trustworthy and authentic media plan.

Myth #1: Ads must be disruptive.

Advertising has fueled content for decades. In fact, almost nothing exists on the internet without advertising. All of the amazing “free” content you love to watch on YouTube? Someone is paying for the technology and the creators who develop the content.

Our job as marketers is to make sure ads are not disruptive. We do this by placing our ads in front of someone who wants or needs our product. Then, the ad is useful to them. This process starts by getting to know our consumer at the deepest level so we can create harmony in their ad experience.

Advertisers who decide to take a disruptive approach—like running high-frequency ads—can receive a negative impact on sales. According to a recent HubSpot article, over 72% of consumers dislike brands with repetitive messaging in their ads. Although ad frequency can be beneficial to your advertising strategy, there is a point where consumers become annoyed and turned off by the brand. Make sure you approach this media tactic carefully and purposely.

Myth #2: Media is 100% science.

Data is key to reach people efficiently and effectively. But that’s not all. There is creativity, too. Imagine if your brand’s audience was an ideal fit for Instagram targeting. And your competitor had the exact same idea. How would you stand out?

Here’s where creative problem-solving can kick in. Maybe you tap influencers to make a deeper connection with your consumer. Or you experiment with different types of content. Or you switch your channel plan altogether and look for up-and-coming social platforms or overlooked social networks like Reddit. Creativity can help you find the right way to reach your consumer, without adding to the noise of your competitors.

Myth #3: Media budgets are primarily for acquiring and converting consumers.

Within the last 6-12 months, we have seen a huge shift in brands allocating marketing dollars towards recruitment. Both B2B and B2C companies are using ad dollars not only to sell products, but also to hire the people who make the products and fulfill the services. Most LEAP Group clients now have a dedicated portion of their marketing budget focused on addressing the talent shortage. This level of commitment was unheard of pre-pandemic.

Myth #4: A great media buy can compensate for sub-par creative. Or vice-versa.

Relying on the perfect media buy to carry weaker creative is a risky strategy. The most foolproof way to succeed is to put equal time, effort, dollars and commitment to media and creative. With an equal budget split, media and creative can work hand-in-hand to inform and lift each other.

Creative relies on media for data and understanding where the ad will run so they can optimize to the specific formats and channels, and how the buy works. Media relies on creative to stand out in the channel and use visuals, audio and other cues to convey a message that will drive results.

Particularly for brands that have limited budgets, media can set guardrails for creative, so you get the most bang for the buck. With a targeting mindset, creative can come up with unique ways to bring the product to life that speak directly to the specific audience’s wants and needs. A compelling story in video format is something that media can amplify and use to fill the top of the funnel and generate leads.

Myth #5: TV is the most prestigious channel to run ads.

Historically, the peak of advertising was live TV placements. It had both reach and cache. Today, the more sophisticated and talented brand managers are using channels like YouTube, Reddit and content creators to speak directly to their target. Now you will see big brands with big budgets like Ford, Apple and Nike on these digital platforms.

Prestige in advertising is relative. You are likely to reach more people and sell more products with programmatic advertising, but it’s not nearly as sexy. The right targeting and personalization—rather than the mass appeal and impressions waste with broadcast TV—drives results.

Myth #6: Paid search is always the answer for a B2B brand.

Many brands view paid search as the savior, but its effectiveness depends on your objectives. Brands need to advertise in the channels that can solve their unique business problems, rather than try to replicate others’ media buys. There’s a point of diminishing returns in every channel. Diversifying the media mix and thinking deeply about who and where your audience is, and what creative best suits those platforms, is what works.

Myth #7: Advertising on social media is overrated.

The reason why social media is so popular for digital advertising is because it’s where people are and where people spend a huge amount of time.

Almost every social network offers dynamic, cool ad opportunities. It’s up to brands to come up with new ways to use these channels and new creative to run. While paid social as a channel is no longer cutting-edge, the right ad buys and ad creative work.

Myth #8: Influencer marketing creates the most authentic content.

As the influencer marketing industry has grown, we’re seeing less authenticity and more saturation. The connection that once felt authentic now can feel more fake and transactional. Particularly within the past two years, LEAP Group has seen a big drop-off in how our B2C and B2B clients want to engage in this space. It’s become a smaller budget line item to accomplish specific goals, rather than a must-have.

Myth #9: Media plans should be solely driven by KPIs.

Media should track both overall business results and KPIs. For example, if your brand’s goal is to increase sales in a specific region, your media plan should be focused on how to achieve sales—not just the tactics that lead to the most eyeballs, clicks or lead generation form fills.

Boardroom conversations need to be bigger than Cost Per Impression (CPM). Media and creative plans should be built around what the business is trying to achieve, not optimizing to a specific KPI.

Myth #10: Optimization happens after campaigns.

The days of set-it-and-forget-it media are long gone. Hands-on media buyers and analysts are essential to make adjustments and seek out optimizations in real-time.

Social media also can be used as a testing sandbox to inform campaigns. You can test new types of creative, brand messaging and targeting using a portion of your budget before making a larger commitment. Smart and brave brands use their social feed to test new thinking and get real feedback from a group who knows them and cares about their brand. It’s not only possible, it’s essential to run tests that generate impressions and learnings to inform the next campaign.

Mythical Results are Real

The marketing and media landscape has changed dramatically. In an abbreviated time window, we’ve had to rapidly adapt as marketers and consumers – from transitioning all our communication to digital mediums, to hitting the streets to call for social justice reform. From craving constant news updates to dealing with information consumption fatigue. From plotting our re-entry into the “real world” to building avatars to run errands like grocery shopping in an immersive digital metaverse.

To realize your media goals and get maximum traction from your marketing efforts, you’ll need to reach your target audience on the right channel, at the right time, with the right message. This strategy can, at times, feel mythical – how do you develop an omnipresent brand presence with your target audience without breaking the bank?

As brands and marketers, our role in society is to not only increase sales and revenue for our businesses and shareholders, but to do so by creating meaningful connections with our audiences, delivering authentic customer experiences that build trust and loyalty.

A comprehensive media strategy and layered media plan can help your business build and maintain trust with your audience – and identify which channels are best to leverage in those efforts. With the proper media and creative strategy, LEAP Amp can accomplish these mythical results.