The challenge for most B2B organizations when it comes to paid media is refusing to settle for status quo.
It would be easy to mimic what competitors are doing in the paid media space, or to repeat an existing paid media plan because it’s ready to go and has always been done that way. Or to ignore paid media entirely, thinking it’s not necessary.
But the fact is, paid media has become a crucial component of most B2B marketing plans. In the current content-rich B2B environment, organic messaging alone is not providing brands the traction it used to. Brands need to put paid media behind their efforts to get their stories heard.
And it’s not just awareness that paid media can support. In the current environment, paid media also can highlight brand differences, nurture leads and result in increased revenues.
This is why we advocate a different approach: raising expectations when it comes to paid media.
What should B2B organizations expect from paid media now? In our view, paid media should serve to amplify brand stories while also giving clients a competitive advantage and increased revenues.
We do this by continually applying what we learn about customer engagement to dictate how to execute and even modify paid media strategies along the way. Although it sounds complicated, it can be summed up with six major considerations.
Six Steps to Successful Paid Media Strategy
- Begin with a benchmark: Every paid media plan should begin with a review of the competitive landscape to learn how industry platforms are being used and how customers are responding to those efforts. Taking this high-level view helps to highlight familiar and overused patterns as well as untapped media opportunities.
- Develop the strategy: Armed with a solid competitive understanding, organizations will find it easier to develop paid media campaigns that can go beyond awareness messaging to achieve higher levels of engagement across channels and increased conversions. We do this by using media to continually help prospects along the buyer journey, and by selecting media partners that will provide a competitive advantage.
- Test and validate the results: With media and engagement trends changing by the day, paid media can’t be a one-and-done proposition. Rather, media plans should be nimble enough to change with the trends. So when we document performance, we also test and optimize media strategies. We use real-time data to make recommendations on how to improve paid media to make each tactic as effective as possible. Ultimately this means understanding target audiences and what drives engagement and conversions. We also continually track new opportunities with an eye to refine and optimize the media plan.
- Integrated reporting: Successful paid media campaigns also take a holistic view of media allocations across platforms and how they’re working toward goals. This 30,000-foot view of paid media messaging illustrates how each placement can potentially impact other placements, and how all of the placements integrate with each other.
- Streamline where possible. We also work to simplify media for our clients because over time, paid media efforts can become fragmented. Streamlining also occurs when we track paid media strategies holistically for clients, showing how media was utilized across platforms and how each placement performed. Assessing performance this way naturally highlights opportunities to make paid media plans simpler and easier to maintain.
- Humanize brands. Finally, we incorporate human elements by sharing provocative brand stories that differentiate brands and deepen customer connections. Understanding how customers engage with media also helps to keep messaging relevant rather than intrusive.
All together, these six considerations support paid media strategies that engage target audiences the ways they want to be engaged. And because engagement trends can change rapidly, optimization and fine-tuning based on key performance indicators help to ensure that paid media efforts continue to perform. We’ll talk more about some of these indicators and analytics in the next post.
In the meantime, B2B organizations interested in learning whether their paid media efforts are keeping up with engagement trends should get in touch with us for a conversation.