Retail planning can be a challenging process for media planners and buyers.

It gets especially complex when dealing with a multi-channel Christmas campaign running across 12 weeks.

So how do make sure you get the results you need?

1. Plan ahead and be choosy about channels

It’s essential to establish relevant channels up-front for the duration of the campaign period and each cycle.

Consider duplicating these choices across each phase of the campaign to maintain awareness levels across the full period on all chosen channels.

2. Know your target market

Find out what content your consumers are most likely to consume to help you make programmatic targeting decisions.

Analyse them carefully using data sources such as TGI, RAJAR, GWI, JNOR and digital tools.

These tools will help identify the touchpoints that offer the best coverage, biases, cost-effectiveness, impact and synergy with other channels.

3. Stay channel neutral

Plan from a channel-neutral perspective, bearing in mind your key objectives and the target audience’s media consumption habits.

By establishing all this information up-front, you can make a more accurate estimate of the budget required by each channel for each phase.

4. Setting media weights

Following a typical recency strategy assumption that there are always people in the market to buy FMCG, we can set relatively low 1 + Reach objectives by channel, by week or by burst.

The setting of these media weights is vital to ensure a consistent method of costing over a prolonged period.

5. Take a week-by-week approach

While the campaign messaging may change each week, the core advertising idea or theme is likely to stay the same throughout.

So it may require up-front weighting to establish campaign awareness, before focusing on a digital performance phase.

6. Build strong relationships with media owners

Booking the plan with media owners requires a fair amount of detail.

Ideally, each touchpoint would require granular flighting or copy instructions and channel-specific creative e.g. TikTok-native content vs Facebook feed carousels.

7. Stay agile

Always be ready to adapt and stay open to innovation and the idea of making tweaks to the plan as they are needed.