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Tips for Developing a Successful Media Plan

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November is in full swing, and that means it is time to start finalizing your food ingredient marketing communications plan for 2019. In this week’s blog post, we take a glimpse behind the curtain to discuss everything that goes into developing a successful media plan with a Q&A featuring Ginny Allumbaugh, director of media services. Read on to learn how your food ingredient company can maximize the impact of its advertising campaigns amidst the evolving B2B landscape.

What drives a successful media plan?

A successful media plan needs balance. This involves a careful mix of different forms of media, such as print and digital advertisements, advertorials and trade show sponsorships, to increase impressions and make the most of your marketing dollars. Next is direction. By clearly identifying your team’s objectives from the beginning, you can determine what is realistic for your budget and overall expectations.

What factors should be considered before starting a media plan?

Several factors influence a media plan, including: target audience, budget, goals and expectations, but the media plan is only part of the puzzle. You also need a creative campaign with a sound, strategic message that resonates well with your target audience. You can have the best media plan, but if you don’t have the creative components to bring your brand story to life, nothing else really matters.

Why is media planning important for food ingredient marketing?

With so many media outlets competing for customers’ attention and numerous trade publications covering a wide variety of channels, industries and regions, creating a strategic media plan that gets your message in front of the right people at the right time is key to maximizing your investments. To do this effectively, it’s important to consider your target audience — their behaviors, challenges and attitudes — and which outlets will have the greatest impact for reaching them.

Why are measurable objectives important?

Measurable objectives allow you to continually evaluate the results of your media plan and gauge its success. If you are not reaching your desired objectives, you may want to revisit the media plan or the creative you’re running to make changes. For example, if you aren’t getting the desired results, consider placing more digital ads or allocating a greater share of your budget toward trade show advertising to increase your reach and brand exposure.

Why should companies consider both print and digital tactics when developing media plans?

We’re witnessing the next generation of B2B buyers getting their news in real time through e-newsletters, digital publications and social media channels like LinkedIn. Digital media is highly attractive because it can be measured. You know who is looking at your ad, where the viewers are and how long they are reviewing the information. That’s not to say that print should be abandoned. In fact, it is still highly valuable. Food ingredient trade publications are often stored away and referenced later. With print, you want to keep in mind the editorial content of a publication so your message is seen by decision-makers who are truly interested in your specific topic or industry issue.

Where do trade show sponsorships fall into the mix, and how do you help clients in this area?

Industry trade shows hold a lot of potential for food ingredient companies. Sponsorships are a great way to let your customers know your company is a vital part of the industry and to keep your brand in front of key prospects and customers. Most trade shows have numerous sponsorship opportunities available that can become part of your larger trade show strategy to connect with current and potential customers.

How soon should a company begin its media plan for the following year?

A company should be evaluating its media plan year-round in anticipation of the coming year. September/October is the best time to start putting the plan together and gathering media kits and editorial calendars from publications. Your media plan should be finalized by the end of November since many publications have December deadlines for ads running early the next year.

How do you stay up to date with all of the media opportunities that are available?

I am always meeting with reps to learn about their publications and media offerings, as well as reviewing trade publications to learn which companies have a heavy ad presence and what industry issues/trends are hot. It’s also valuable to attend industry trade shows to learn what is being offered and to speak with companies and publication groups that are at the show.

What other tips do you have for food ingredient companies?

Partnering with an agency — like Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing — that has relationships with many food ingredient publications and can negotiate rates and value-added media can help take some of the burden off of in-house marketing teams. Crafting a successful media plan, like any other part of your marketing strategy, is essential to making sure you get the best results.

Remember, there is no silver bullet when it comes to food ingredient marketing. What works well for one company may not be ideal for another. Working with a partner that specializes in B2B food ingredient marketing can help you identify the most effective strategy and tactics for your brand. For more information about developing a successful media plan, please contact us.

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