An integrated media plan is a detailed strategy to achieve your marketing goals by delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. While the concept is straightforward, the process of considering multiple media platforms and the numerous variables within each can be daunting. And it’s only with an integrated media strategy that marketing success can be achieved.
Both B2C and B2B integrated media plans use a multichannel approach, mixing traditional and digital channels. A company with consumer products might consider the full range of consumer-focused media: radio, TV, print, display/retargeting, email marketing, paid search, search engine marketing, social media, or events.
A strictly B2B company would focus only on those channels that deliver a business decision-maker audience relevant to their product or service category. While that might limit consideration of certain media platforms, it does not limit the diligence and creativity involved in developing a successful integrated plan.
In either case—whether a B2C or B2B plan—the more you understand about your target audience, the better equipped you will be to determine which vehicles are appropriate for your media mix. Here’s why it makes a difference:
- Campaigns integrating 4 or more channels will outperform single- or dual-channel campaigns by 300%.
- Multichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
- Strong multichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact.
- Businesses that successfully employ a consistent cross-channel marketing strategy enjoy a 14.6% year-over-year increase in annual revenue.
As you can see, successfully implementing a multichannel approach can lead to a competitive advantage. Still, it is an underutilized tactic, as up to 55% of companies have no cross-channel strategy in place, and 64% of marketers cite lack of resources and investment as their primary obstacle to multichannel marketing.
Nonetheless, with a few strategic maneuvers, you can put yourself in position to adopt a multichannel approach to capitalize on these opportunities.
4 STEPS TO DEVELOPING AN INTEGRATED MEDIA PLAN
1. Set appropriate goals
Utilize SMART goals to lay out the framework for what you want to achieve and how it will be done. SMART stands for:
Specific – Setting specific goals enables greater clarity on the process required to achieve them; if goals are too vague, it may be impossible to know if they have been met.
Measurable – Establish/quantify an indicator of success for each goal.
Attainable – Do not set unattainable goals. Keep them realistic, and strive for a balance of long-term goals with more achievable, short-term goals.
Realistic – Keep it in line with your strategy by making sure it is going to cause a positive overall impact with your overarching goals; adapt the goal as needed to make sure it fits the campaign.
Time-related – Set a specific time period for executing your campaign and measuring the results. It will help you chart progress as you go and determine if any adjustments need to be made.
2. Define your target audience
As you review your customer data, you can marry your existing online data with offline data such as demographics and buyer traits/habits to create a comprehensive picture of the target audience, including how, when, and where to reach them. Understand the problem that you solve for them and how to help them in their journey. As you learn more about your audience, you may learn what types of media and content they prefer to consume as well, which will inform your media buying decisions.
3. Select appropriate media platforms
In a digital age, it may be tempting to put your entire budget toward digital media. After all, it’s great for driving awareness and is unmatched in its trackability. However, the best integrated media plans come from understanding the process your target customer or decision maker goes through on their buying journey, and following them as they move along. What channels can you use to engage with them?
Though most office environments utilize computers and cloud services, many B2B industries still rely on traditional media for marketing, continuing education, and other important industry-related events. While traditional media elicits a more emotional response, digital placements still have their place, and can be highly effective at achieving a multitude of tactics. As such, selected channels should be complimentary, enabling an effective multichannel approach to deliver a compelling, unified message.
4. Analyze and follow up
Once the campaign begins, you can start tracking your progress against the previously stated goals. Based on your earlier quantification, you can establish benchmarks to track the progress of each channel as the campaign moves along. While reviewing the performance, look for areas that are performing exceptionally well and could be further enhanced with a larger share of the budget, as well as areas that are not performing as anticipated.
Allow each channel enough time to prove itself, but don’t let under-performing channels go on too long or you may lose an opportunity to capitalize on moving those funds to a better-performing channel. Monitoring the results as the campaign progresses allows for on-the-go optimizations that will maximize the potential of the campaign, and provide key learnings for future campaigns.
When creating a marketing plan, the overall success of the campaign will depend on your ability to reach the audience in the right way with the most effective (and timely) messaging. Your integrated media plan should strive for a mix of digital and traditional tactics that are influenced by the behaviors of your target audience as they move from awareness to consideration and finally, their buying decision.