Imagine the headline, “Media Audit Uncovers Mishandling of Media Budgets.” This is an email you never want to see in your inbox.
Without the right system in place, it’s hard to avoid budgeting mistakes. Miscommunications, changing plans, and project handoffs lay down a minefield that’s difficult to navigate. Even with heroic efforts, it’s virtually impossible to keep track of all the exhaustive details of your media plan.
Bionic today unveiled a new set of tools that enable advertisers’ and agencies’ media teams to establish and authorize media budgets, to monitor media plan implementations, and to audit the budget – all through one, seamlessly integrated system. These new features add unprecedented transparency, accountability, and control to your media budgets.
The Old Way to Establish Your Media Budget
Every advertising campaign starts with a high level media budget. Those budgets are typically broken down into multiple pieces according to the strategy and goals of the advertising campaign. This breakdown might be according to a channel mix, a market strategy, a media investment strategy, a vendor strategy, a set of business initiatives, allocations for each media planner, or another segmentation strategy.
This budget breakdown has typically been done separately from the media planning function, often in Excel spreadsheets. This disconnection leads to errors resulting from miscommunication, misunderstanding, and the constant changes that are typical of advertising campaigns. It’s virtually impossible to keep everyone “on the same page” without an integrated system. As a result, mistakes get made. Sometimes these are big budget mistakes.
A Better Way to Establish Your Media Budget
Bionic media investment management software solves these budgeting problems with powerful new tools that enable you to establish your media budget in an integrated media planning system.
With Bionic’s new “budget” tab on your campaign, you can segment your budget into “buckets.” Each bucket represents a segment of your overall budget. It is completely flexible, and you can allocate the money or name the buckets however suits you. Here are a few examples of potential budget breakouts:
- Creative theme, strategy, or asset
- The planner which that portion of the budget is assigned
- Market or audience
- Time period (i.e. quarterly budget)
- Business unit funding that portion of the budget
- Holiday or event promotion (i.e. Valentine’s Day Sale, Spring Break Getaway)
Once your buckets are created, you can allocate budget amounts to each of those buckets and see a graphic visualization of your budget breakdown.
How to Track Media Authorizations
While you may choose to start media planning without a formal media authorization, you never want to buy the media without proper authorization. It’s critical to track and communicate the status of the media authorizations related to your budget.
With Bionic, you can indicate the media authorization status of each budget bucket as either draft, pending, authorized, or rejected.
In the case of an authorized bucket, you can also add the associated purchase order number (“PO number”) that is assigned to this budget. This comes in handy later when you get to billing.
This flexible approach to media authorization enables you to authorize your budget in pieces (versus “all or nothing”). You can authorize digital separately from television. You can authorize your annual budget in quarterly segments.
How to Tie Media Plan Placements to Budgets
After establishing your budget, you’ll want to connect your media plan to your budget.
To assign a media plan placement to a budget bucket, you simply indicate that in the new “bucket” column in your media plan. You’ll be able to see how much of each bucket has been allocated, or more importantly, if you are going to overspend a budget bucket. You see all of this while you’re in media planning mode, so it’s hard to make a mistake.
How to Monitor Media Planning Progress
You’ll also want to monitor the progress of media planning against your media budget, especially if you have a team working on it.
With Bionic, you’ll be able to see how much of each bucket is planned in your campaign. On the budget tab, you’ll know at a glance:
- How much budget is still available?
- Where are we over budget?
You can move money from one bucket to another to balance your budget – with proper authorization, of course! You can also quickly access the media plan details associated with any bucket by clicking the planned amount.
How to Audit Your Media Budgets
Whenever you’re dealing with other people’s money, you need an audit trail for proper governance and compliance.
As you and your teammates are adding buckets to your budget, changing amounts, authorizing budgets, assigning PO numbers, connecting placements, and making other changes to budgets and media plans, Bionic is automatically tracking every move behind the scenes in a complete audit trail.
You can access the audit trail by clicking the “history” button. This will bring up a ledger showing the complete history of changes including what changed, who changed it, when they changed it, and the value before and after the change.
You can use this audit trail to investigate unusual changes or simply to report on the lifecycle of changes to media budgets and media plans. This powerful history tool has many applications.