Strategic B2B Media Planning: 5 Best Practices

Not too long ago, B2B media planning to keep your brand top of mind was as easy as finding the right trade magazine and buying enough full-page ads (with far forward positioning, of course).

Today, while you may still see print ads as part of a comprehensive B2B media plan, your strategy must consider a wealth of channels that can deliver greater dynamic, strategic and measurable performance.

Below are 5 best practices to consider when creating a B2B Media Plan:

1. Have a clear plan for measuring success.

Goals like “raising brand awareness” or “increasing follower counts” are often challenging to tie back to business goals. Ideally, your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). Don’t let uncertainty on how to estimate metrics prevent you from stating them. Make up a benchmark if you don’t have a historical reference point. You can always refine as you go, using real-time campaign data to help define more realistic performance.

2. Develop a plan to build your own first-party data.

Since both Apple and Google are making it harder to find audiences through identifiable data and third-party cookies, owning first-party data is more important than ever. You could do this by offering an eBook or White Paper through a gated landing page or as an incentive for signing up for an eNewsletter. Use paid media channels to drive targets to your landing pages, where you capture data as they take action.

3. Incorporate a full-funnel approach.

Your target may not be familiar enough with your brand to give you their contact information or ‘get married on the first date.’ Introduce yourself to targets with top-of-funnel activities such as blog posts, podcasts or videos. Then follow up with retargeting, inviting them to download more in-depth thought-leadership content or register to attend a webinar.

4. Consider your audience’s state of mind.

When selecting media channels, take into account the mindset of a user when they’re interacting with a platform and its content. For example, visitors to LinkedIn are typically in a business mindset and are actively looking to ‘invest’ time in their careers and may ‘spend’ time scrolling through lifestyle-themed topics elsewhere. Additionally, aligning your message with the right channel makes you more likely to appear in relevant trending topics like ‘Marketing Automation’ and ‘Cloud Computing’ in one place versus ‘Taylor Swift’ or ‘#worldemojiday’ in another.

5. Develop a test and learn strategy.

Set aside a portion of your budget to test one or two new platforms or activation approaches. The advanced targeting and optimization options available with most digital cost-per-click platforms enable you to measure and test effectiveness in a much more cost-efficient way.

While the right combination of goals, audience and media mix is different for every client and every media plan, incorporating these best practices into your planning process sets you up for success.

B2B Media is about much more than exposure, particularly given longer consideration cycles and the breadth of people at various stages in their journey to purchase. Incorporating these best practices to clarify goals, get specific on your targets, select the most suitable media, and capture and use data in ways you can test as prospects and customers move through the funnel will ultimately lead to repeatable success.