Marketing Applications of Linear Programs for Media Selection & Marketing Research

Instructor: Kyle Aken

Kyle is a journalist and marketer that has taught writing to a number of different children and adults after graduating from college with a degree in Journalism. He has a passion for not just the written word, but for finding the universal truths of the world.

Do you want to learn more about how to use linear programming techniques for marketing applications? This lesson will help you understand how to use linear programming to do marketing research, media selection, or even pick a marketing strategy.

Linear Programming for Marketing

Even though linear programming techniques have not reached the level of acceptance and recognition they deserve, linear programming is a useful tool when it comes to marketing applications. From media selection to market research, linear programming has many benefits as a tried and tested problem-solving method that can enhance the decision-making process. This technique is especially useful when there are constraints or restrictions when it comes to making a decision in certain applications of marketing.

What is Linear Programming?

Linear programming is a way to allocate scarce resources using a mathematical technique. The technique is often used to optimize the value of an objective, such as minimizing costs or maximizing profits while dealing with any constraints. In plain English, this means the technique is designed to help marketers or managers to plan and make better decisions regarding resource allocation. In fact, linear programs allow marketers to make the best use of limited resources, from money to manpower, materials to time, or skills to facilities, just to mention a few resources.

Marketers must take the given problem and turn it into a linear programming model, using the appropriate variables and the standard techniques to solve the real life problem. The model has the following elements:

1) Variables that represent the available choices

2) The mathematical expression that relates to the variables and the conditions involved

Linear programming generates solutions that are based on the characteristics and features of the actual situation or problem. Therefore, the application of linear programming is very broad and can find solutions in diverse fields like marketing. In fact, this technique is very successful in marketing and distribution management, among other areas. For example, a marketing manager can use linear programming to allocate a fixed advertising budget across several media channels to maximize audience exposure.

Requirements for Linear Programming

Linear programming problems have four main elements in common:

1) The objective of linear programming is to find an expression that minimizes or maximizes some quantity, from cost to profit, which is called the objective function.

2) The constraints or restrictions limit the extent the objective can be pursued and accomplished.

3) There must be more than one alternative course of action to take when it comes to linear programming because it is a tool that figures out which decision is the best course of action for allocating resources.

4) Finally, both the objective and constraints must be expressed in terms of inequalities of linear equations.

One of the most basic and used applications in linear programming is the product-mix problem, which involves allocating resources to one of two products. In the end, the company wants to figure out how much of the limited resources to use for each product to maximize profits or minimize costs. However, when it comes to marketing, there are two main applications of linear programming, media selection and marketing research.

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