Communications Planning

Advertising Specialization Course

Media planning, as a discipline, has evolved from a game of numbers executed in a media buy to a much more strategic pursuit. Media planning—now more frequently referred to as communications planning—is about developing a holistic plan that drives brand marketing across platforms. Advertising in mass media is still valuable, but the rapid increase in the use of digital media has changed the playing field. Communications planning encompasses all ways to reach out to the consumer—including traditional and digital communication, word of mouth and product placement—and should inform the creative and development processes.

By examining the world of media from the perspectives of the client, the agency media/digital planner and the media organization seller, students will gain insights into all elements of the communications planning process. Students are challenged to ensure the client’s advertising budget will generate the greatest value and achieve the best results in the right set of media channels for their client.

The trick to communications planning today is connecting the consumers’ needs and wants with a brand’s proposition through various channels and/or content areas. The main factors driving these changes are:

  1. Accessibility of content
  2. Volume of available content
  3. Consumers’ ability to create and syndicate content on their own

Today’s consumers know they are being marketed to, and they actually enjoy it when it’s done in the right way. While a good media plan does need to be clever, it also must be commercially viable—meaning it must sell the product.


Evaluation and analysis of research and data; math and language of media planning; ability to define target audiences, develop consumer insights, present and write compelling communications strategies


Simmons, MRI+, AdSpender, SRDS, eMarketer, comScore, media buying software


  • Analyze what media is, what it isn’t and recognize how consumers are using and interacting with media today.
  • Examine diverse target audiences across age, gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and develop strategies to reach them.
  • Evaluate and create research that will lead to insights into a target audience’s behavior as it relates both to brand and media habits.
  • Develop the critical thinking ability to apply concepts, theories and principles in media behavior to create viable integrated communications strategies for customer engagement.
  • Create a compelling sales presentation to ensure that media properties are included on the media plan recommendation.
  • Enhance presentation and teamwork skills.
  • Develop proficiency with the tools available for media decision making; learn to evaluate and analyze data to develop a sound media recommendation.
  • Learn and use the language of media planning.
  • Apply media planning concepts and theories to write an effective media plan recommendation for a client. Gain skill and confidence in using media-buying software to create media schedules.


Amy Falkner