4 Ways To Create An Effective Media Strategy

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.

The martech and data ecosystem is anything but straightforward. A constant influx of new technology, platforms, regulations and trends make it overwhelming for marketing practitioners to choose the right strategies, let alone for non-practitioners to fully understand.  This confusion can cause marketers to throw up their hands and say “well, this is how we’ve always done it,” creating a dangerous confirmation bias.  And then executives are frustrated when this same marketing strategy doesn’t offer a crystal clear ROI.

However, with a sound strategy based in data and curating continual insights, you will not only be driving success for your marketing team, but also winning over the brand executives.

So here are four ways marketers can build an effective marketing strategy that leading executives can get behind:

Do the work upfront to pre-optimize. Creating a successful marketing strategy requires early investment in research to understand your current customers, prospective customers and the industry at large. Knowing the target audience is critical, as it will inform which media trends to watch, allowing for a smarter initial channel strategy. Placing platform pixels on the website ahead of campaign launch provides unique intel on who is driving digital conversions and identifying UX changes that might be needed to prevent drop off. Having a data-driven rationale to your marketing recommendations will help executives be able to more easily digest your media plan and understand how you came to your overarching strategy.



Lean into the platform AI, but confirm with the human eye. Programmatic platforms have sophisticated algorithms that drive a cycle of continuous learning, allowing for real-time optimization based on key website activities or goal efficiency metrics. This allows dollars to be auto-allocated toward top performing channels, audiences, and creatives. However, there is a human intuition needed to ensure non-media-based intel is always being under consideration, such as knowing that an uptick in certain search terms does not necessarily mean it’s for something positive (could be scandal or tragedy, etc.). Executives will be in favor of data that drives real-time improvements results, but will appreciate that human intuition offers brand safety and business intel.

Assume some risk in effort to drive future learnings. Leading with a test-and-learn mentality allows for brand growth because marketers understand that it’s okay to be wrong, as long as you drive continual improvement through insights. A learning agenda facilitates conversation, asking key questions and making changes based on whether your hypothesis was supported or refuted. This might feel risky, since people don’t like to be seen as failing. But there’s no shame in being wrong as long as you fail forward. Communicating key learnings to executives shows how your marketing efforts are driving new business and media insights, and will evoke confidence that the team is moving in a positive direction.

Use the data to tell a story. Disparate pieces of information will not land with executives unless you connect the dots, telling a story with the data. There is no need to get in the weeds, as that will likely cause more confusion than benefit. Instead, ensure the media data and learnings have a story arc: set the stage, explain the challenge, showcase how you overcame the challenge, and leave them with the “so what.” Make it something they feel comfortable retelling and can position them as a hero to other stakeholders.

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