ClickCease A Media Plan That Generates Results (5 Steps in 2023)

A Media Plan That Generates Results (5 Steps in 2023)


Media plan steps

Plus, practical media plan examples to kick-start your planning process

This article takes a how-to approach. We’re getting hands-on with the planning process, showing you exactly how to develop a working media plan that will:

  • Maximize your return on media investment (ROMI) 
  • Enable you to achieve your marketing goals 
  • Adapt in an ever-changing advertising landscape 

Plus, some real-world media plan examples help you contextualize the whole thing.

Without further ado, here are the five steps to a working media plan:

Know Your Target Audience

There’s no point in buying media if your target audience doesn’t see it. Before building a media plan, you should be familiar with your customers.

And not just on the surface. With so much first-party data available now, it’s easier than ever to create rich customer profiles and create micro-segments to deliver more relevant brand experiences.

Before you spend a single dollar on advertising, you should have a clear idea of your target audiences:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Interests
  • Media consumption habits

Some ad planners create ‘avatars,’ composite (sometimes idealistic) profiles with their target customer’s traits. They then use that avatar to determine where their target audience consumes media – online, in print, television, or radio – to inform the media planning process.

Whether this works for you depends on your audience segments. Global brands will find the task tricky, as their audiences are diverse in every sense of the word.

This is where first-party data is essential for an effective marketing plan. For example, a media plan based on intuition will likely reflect the brand goals. 

That makes sense on paper and gives marketers a feeling of control over the message. But a media plan that uses digital marketing data to hone the channel and content mix will always be more effective at cutting through the noise.

We’ll explain how to do that shortly.

Define Goals For Your Media Plan

You can only measure the success or failure of your efforts if you set clear goals. And you can only set clear goals with a solid strategy. 

Media planning targets need to be grounded in business goals.

For example, a plan might target a 3% conversion rate from media exposure to actual sales. Or the marketer might want 7% of people who see their message to visit the site and sign up for a newsletter. 

Those figures mean almost nothing without context.

A good tip here is to link media planning goals to customer value. CEOs and CMOs want to know that marketing activity contributes to business growth, so make customer value your ‘north star’ from the start. 

Mediatool’s Strategic Planning feature simplifies this process, enabling marketers to closely monitor their contribution to business goals. In the Strategic Planning timeline, you get a birds-eye view of targets and budgets, bringing results in line with high-level targets.

Use Smart Tools for Your Media Plan

The days of flying blind or solo while putting together a media plan are over. 

Martech (marketing technology) makes it easier for media planners to collaborate with colleagues and clients while developing strategies and launching campaigns faster.

Investing in MarTech that suits your organization’s requirements is key.

Mediatool is one example of media planning software ideal for global brands and growing agencies. With Mediatool, marketing teams can plan, organize, manage and optimize media investments in one browser-based platform. 

With the ability to control user access and keep media planning files and communications in one place, Mediatool is ideal for brands and agencies that want the balance of security and flexibility in an end-to-end platform.

Determine the Perfect Media Mix

The media landscape is diverse and dynamic. Veteran media planners will still remember when TikTok ads weren’t a ‘thing,’ and media buying was manual.

As digital marketing becomes more multi-channel and customers seek personalized experiences, media planners face two intertwined challenges:

  1. Delivering the best customer experience
  2. Optimizing limited budgets

Marketing data is the essential ingredient for optimized media plans. Collecting, analyzing, and interrogating your data allows you to understand where your audience wants to consume media.

Of course, there’s no such thing as the “perfect” media mix from the outset. Adopting an agile marketing approach means your team can develop and launch campaigns faster, monitor performance, and adjust advertising investments. 

Mediatool makes that process possible in real-time. With a wide range of third-party integrations and real-time data feeds, you can track, analyze, and optimize media investments to boost ROMI.

Execute Your Media Plan

You might have noticed that we jumped from the media mix to launching a campaign. Don’t worry; we’ll double back shortly with some examples of media plans.

Launching a campaign doesn’t mean the media planning process is complete. It simply means you’re ready to put ideas into action, typically by:

  • Buying ad space in publications
  • Going live with social media ads
  • Building a search advertising campaign
  • Sending creative to media vendors
  • Launching programmatic ads

Of course, the specific mix of tactics and platforms you use is based on the insights gleaned from data.

The key takeaway from this step is that a media planner’s job is still ongoing when the media plan launches. As soon as content goes live, you should monitor results, gather insights from marketing data, and recommend optimizations.

Mediatool enables this agility while allowing you to keep media plans, conversations, and budgets. Agencies can keep client data separate in secure folders, and brands can collaborate across time zones to break down siloes.

Plus, as results flow into Mediatool, you can filter and segment data to identify top-performing assets and channels. This insight is invaluable for testing new ideas and optimizing your media plan.

Media Plan Examples

There are four key ingredients to a media plan:

The Calendar

A media planner’s calendar is their bible. But if you search “media plan example” online, you’ll see many results that look like spreadsheets.

Ignore them.

Media planning is more dynamic and collaborative than spreadsheets allow. Martech enables media planners to create and edit calendars in seconds as things change.

Mediatool’s media planning calendar provides this simplified view, giving media planners an easy-to-read flowchart. But all the information marketers and media planners need is in the calendar. They can expand, filter, adjust the view, and explore creative assets all within the calendar screen.

Approval Flow

Modern marketing teams need tools that enable real-time collaboration, authentic conversation, and transparent planning. Media planners are too busy to deal with missing file versions or inflexible systems.

Mediatool’s enriched approval flow is built for better collaboration and transparent feedback. Media planners can share files, track comments, implement edits and submit approval requests without leaving the platform. 

Strategic Oversight

It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you get deep into the media planning process. But media planners must keep an eye on strategic goals as they develop channel plans. 

Formalizing this link from the start makes reporting and optimizing much easier later. In other words, media planners should have a way to plan, measure, evaluate and improve that links marketing activity to business goals.

That’s where Mediatool’s Strategic Planning tool is so valuable. In the Strategic planning view, targets link to high-level goals, creating a birds-eye view of all marketing activity.

Content and Creative 

The final ingredient is a place to keep media content. Many versions and iterations of content are created throughout the media planning process. Media planners need to attach the final approved content to ad placement information so they can track everything going out into the world.

This task becomes significantly more complex as you create multivariate tests with new content ideas.

But Mediatool makes it easy.

Content is stored in the calendar view, so media planners can quickly check which creative is associated with what placement. You never need to worry about losing track of content because the approved version – plus the approvals process and all associated communication – is available in a couple of clicks.

Ready to Take Your Media Planning Potential to the Next Level?

Book a demo of Mediatool to see how the end-to-end tool simplifies the media planning process for better results at every stage.

Better planning. Better collaboration. Better management, tracking, and optimization. 

It all adds up to better marketing campaign management with Mediatool.

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