Business planning, whether in the form of a business plan, growth plan, or marketing plan, is often celebrated as vital to a company’s success. Yet, seldom do any of these plans provide the tangible benefits that can be found by using an advertising media plan. A well thought out advertising media plan improves the efficiency of your advertising spending, allowing you to reach more potential customers for less money than by making arbitrary decisions on how to advertise. It provides a reference for when and where to spend your advertising dollars. Following the plan keeps you from making mistakes with your spending, such as accepting the “unbelievable” deal that an advertising salesperson has whipped up for that month. While taking advantage of those deals sometimes makes sense, the low prices offered also lure business owners into media that don’t effectively reach potential customers. Another important reason to have an advertising media plan is that following it will keep your business from overspending at the beginning of the year. Poor spending choices early in a year can result in being forced to stop advertising late in the year or outspending your intended budget. This is especially important for retail operations which benefit most from expanded advertising during the year-end holiday season. A plan addressing these two problem areas can easily be created by any business owner. A more detailed advertising media plan, which includes research into who to target with advertising, how often to target them and what media will reach them most cost effectively requires a much greater time investment. A detailed advertising media plan includes analysis of media based demographics reached, cost per thousand potential customers reached (CPM), the overall number of potential customers reached (reach) and how often the potential customer will see the ad (frequency). Reconciling these different factors requires a significant amount of quantitative analysis, but the result should be a plan that provides the best media exposure your budget can provide. Because of the time consuming nature of creating a detailed plan and the need to understand a number of specialized calculations, it may be beneficial to have an expert produce your company’s advertising media plan, such as an advertising agency. Agencies have information allowing them to complete the plan much more efficiently than a business owner could. For example, the agency would have an exhaustive list of media options, with pricing and demographic information on file. It would take a business owner many hours to acquire the same information. Regardless of whether you tackle an advertising media plan yourself, or hire a professional, your company will benefit from efficiently targeting its advertising spending.