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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2011:4:
Media Selection for Marketing Communication - an exploratory study among marketing managers -

Claudia A. Rademaker ()

Abstract: For marketing managers, decisions in media planning and consequently the media selection are becoming increasingly complex and challenging as more media options are available. This exploratory study examines the factors that guide and influence marketing managers when selecting media for their ad campaigns. The extent to which green environmental issues, advertiser-agency cooperation and the economic recession influence media selection is focused on. The sample was chosen on the basis of a cluster analysis on annual media investments among the largest advertisers in Sweden. The results of the cluster analysis showed some correspondence with type of industry and revealed eight clusters with different portfolios of media expenditures.

The results of the interviews indicated that despite companies’ environmental policies, green environmental issues do not seem to be considered by the marketing managers in this study when selecting advertising media. Among the marketing managers it is perceived that considering the green environment when selecting advertising media is not part of their responsibility.

The results also indicated that the marketing managers spend a great amount of time on selecting and building relationships with new agencies. Rather than primarily agency performance evaluations, the marketing managers indicate personal chemistry to be a key element for good collaboration between advertisers and agencies. Compared to earlier studies on developing advertiser-agency relationships, the marketing managers in this study seem to be more similar to American than to Dutch marketing managers in the sense that they put social bonding before agency performance evaluations. The lack of personal chemistry was found to be one of the main reasons for companies to switch agencies. The interviews revealed that it is primarily the marketing manager that is involved in the media selection and that the role of agencies is to give additional secondary input on the matter.

The marketing managers in this study indicate that in times of an economic recession there is a stronger need to be flexible and to adjust marketing (communication) plans which is in line with prior research. In addition, the marketing managers perceive an economic recession to provide better negotiation opportunities with agencies and media suppliers. This study may add to previous findings by indicating that during an economic recession receiving special offers from media suppliers is popular among the marketing managers which may lead to adjustments of the marketing communication plan and thus to more ad hoc media decisions.

Furthermore, this study concludes with a discussion on the factors that may hinder marketing managers from performing more effective media selection, e.g. basing media selection on mostly previous experience, main agency appointment, short term agency collaboration and the non-use of models.

Keywords: Marketing Managers; Media Selection; Advertising; Marketing Communication; Green Environment; Advertiser-agency Cooperation; Economic Recession; (follow links to similar papers)

54 pages, November 11, 2011, Revised November 21, 2011

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