7 Step Media Plan Checklist


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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Ready to master your media planning for 2022? We’ve taken a deep dive into the key elements of a successful media plan – a core component in multi channel strategy. Read on to discover 7 steps to maximize the value of your media plan and make it best in class.

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7 Step Media Plan Checklist

Our first party research conducted among 200 senior B2B marketers within our Insights for Professionals (IFP) community reveals why multi channel marketing is so important and delves into the essential components of an effective multi channel strategy. Key to achieving this is to focus efforts on creating a unified, fully integrated and seamless cross-channel experience which engages potential buyers at multiple touchpoints.

To go one step further, we’ve taken a deeper dive into the key elements of a successful media plan – a core component in multi channel strategy. Read on to discover 7 steps to maximize the value of your media plan and make it best in class.

This article covers:

  • How to gain the most out of your media plan in 7 steps
  • Key considerations from our inhouse RTB expert
  • Template to help map your channels against objectives
  • Team planner to quickly understand roles, goals and KPIs

Ready to master your media planning for 2022? We’ve got you covered…

Step 1: Set your goals and objectives

Goals and objectives provide clear focus for the different stages of your demand generation strategy. This is an essential starting point for any media plan and will help your teams better understand how to coordinate multi channel campaigns to deliver the desired results.

Inbox Insight diagram showing how to develop goals and objectives

Setting targets and KPIs against these objectives will provide greater clarity and accountability. For more information on how to do this, see Step 6.

Step 2: Define your audience and targeting strategy

With greater audience profiling capabilities in channels such as paid social and programmatic, if you’re wanting to maximize your budget it’s crucial you pay attention to your targeting strategy.

While interrogating your CRM and calculating your total addressable market (TAM) will help you build accurate Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP), the most advanced strategies look to combine data from multiple sources to provide a 360 view of their target audience behavior and uncover viable lookalikes. This includes:

Charts from Inbox Insight multi channel strategy report showing which insights respondents use to inform audience segmentation criteria

When you take into consideration the small percentage of buyers that are in-market at any given time, it is clear to see why marketers are adopting a multifaceted approach to audience intelligence gathering in order to provide better visibility and analysis of their marketplace.

Enriching your targeting strategy with data will also help to inform the criteria to segment your target audiences further into priority tiers to maximize campaign effectiveness and spend.

Insights from Inbox Insight's in-house RTB Expert, Jasdeep

Step 3: Research your audience

In order to maximise ROI, increase conversions and optimize engagement, your choice of media needs to reflect your target audience’s behavior. This demands thorough research into their information eco system, along with a focus on understanding where they spend their time, what topics and trends are capturing their interests and identifying their pain points and future initiatives.

Recommended methods for covering this intelligence:

  • Custom market survey reports
  • Social listening platforms
  • Competitor intelligence reports
  • First party intent data reports

Adding this information to your target persona profiles will be invaluable when it comes to channel selection and your content strategy.

Step 4: Select your channels

From your research you should know which channels are the most crucial, how they align to your target buyer’s journey and what content works best.

Use this knowledge to map out your channels against your goals and objectives to better understand how each activity is going to help you achieve your multi channel strategy.

Inbox Insight visual on how to develop objectives and goals against channel selection and optimization techniques

Having a holistic masterplan such as the above will help everyone understand their role in the context of the demand generation strategy. This will also increase opportunities for your experts to identify optimizations they can make to maximize alignment with other multi channel activity.

Deciding inventory

Inventory decisions can again be informed by the Brand or DR nature of a campaign, but ultimately the decision comes down to Cost, Reach, Quality and finding your Audiences, which can often mean that a balance needs to be struck across your requirements, dependent on what you are trying to achieve.

Step 5: Tailor your content strategy to match your channel activity

Once you have your channels in place, you can match your content format to the right channels for optimized engagements.

As B2B target buyers no longer move down a clean linear passage to purchase, it is vital to reflect this in your media plan. Your channels and content should therefore enable your target buyers to zig zag through a series of digital touchpoints.

Inbox Insight brand awareness diagram

From the above diagram you can see how B2B buyers can ping back and forth between engagement points facilitated by the multi channel strategy. Every piece of content provides a potential touchpoint.

Also, see on our diagram how external channels such as social media and paid channels increase the surface area for distributing your message and attracting early interest? As we work inwards the surface area becomes more concentrated, helping to reign in the focus of your target audience and drive them ever closer to your ultimate goal.

By surrounding your audiences with immersive content experiences, supported by multi-channel content distribution tactics, you stand a better chance of keeping your audiences orbiting your digital ecosystem towards your ultimate conversion goal.

If you work with a content team, sharing this document will help content creators identify the range of assets required to build strong engagement. Along with opportunities to repurpose long form content such as whitepapers into atomised assets adapted for consumption earlier on in the buyer journey, and that can be used to serialize content or help build sequential messaging, aimed to support sustained multi-touchpoint engagement.

Retargeting users

It’s no secret that the majority of actions driven by Direct Response campaigns will come from Retargeting efforts. As such, Retargeting needs to be given the respect that it deserves. Broadly speaking, identify your optimal frequency for Response and stick with it to drive scale, but do so without being overbearing and alienating your audiences. Ensure that your ads are well branded and offer the user value, and then ensure that this is underpinned by the broadest Reach possible (via highly targeted Prospecting efforts). Ensure that your Conversion Journey / Customer Journey is Optimized, to drive Users through this process, and finally, don’t be afraid of getting more sophisticated with your approach to attributions/ View Through Windows.

Step 6: Brief all your teams

If you oversee multiple teams or individuals operating different media executions (whether inhouse or external) it is critical everyone is working towards a shared agenda. Below is a template to help you do just that.

Inbox Insight template for briefing teams objectives, goals and KPIs

Individual channel briefs are also required to provide the depth and focus necessary to execute the channel activity. Leveraging SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) objectives and assigning relevant KPIs are recommended as they provide greater clarity, control and accountability. These should align to the overarching objectives and KPIs set in Step 1.

Step 7: Monitor, Evaluate and Refine

If you’ve set KPIs aligned to your channel objectives as recommended in Step 6, keeping on track is much easier.

According to our research, over half (50.35%) of B2B marketers operating an advanced multi channel strategy provide weekly reports and 48% product daily reports to ensure all different channel teams are working towards the same agenda.

Selecting the right combination of metrics to analyze your KPIs will help your teams understand how progress is going and where they need to step in and make further optimizations.

For Brand Led campaigns focusing on metrics such as Reach, Frequency, CTR, and Viewability is key, while Direct Response campaigns should ideally focus on CTR and Conversion Rate / CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).

Having this level of transparency will help to keep channel activity as efficient as possible, helping to minimize wasted spend.

Ready to supercharge your media plan?

Now you’ve discovered the 7 key elements of an effective media plan, what’s next? Don’t delay putting these essential steps into action – the sooner a well thought out plan is in place, the sooner you’ll see the benefits in line with your overarching strategy.

Set your goals and objectives from the outset, then define your audience and targeting strategy. You can then research your audience and use this as a basis to select your channels. From there, tailor your content strategy to match your channel activity – remembering, importantly, to brief all of your teams to ensure everyone is onboard with the plan. Finally, monitor, evaluate and refine your media plan as necessary to be sure it remains aligned to your initial goals and objectives.

For further B2B multi channel strategy insights, download our full research report: B2B Multi Channel Strategy: Market Research Report


Inbox Insight

Inbox Insight promote the best B2B content marketing practices enhanced by a data-driven approach. We believe putting audience insights at the heart of every digital campaign, drives superior experiences for both our business communities and clients.

It’s about continuously leveraging audience intelligence to understand what they want to hear, and translating this into thoughtful demand generation campaigns that resonate with decision makers across the full buyer journey.


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