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A Media Planner's Approach to B2B Advertising: Part One

Posted by Sean Norton on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 @ 14:02 PM


Not unlike consumer advertising, media planning and buying in the B2B space is largely about efficiently reaching a client’s target audience, within a finite budget, at precisely the right time. All the while, we must stay true to a communication strategy, allow for creative flexibility, produce tangible results and stay a step ahead of the competition. Sounds like a lot of work, but that’s not all. While B2B audiences (and budgets) are relatively smaller than those in the consumer world, we still face many nuances that make planning and buying in this space quite challenging. Some of these include:

  • Niche audiences in very unique industries
  • Volatility and over-publishing by the trades
  • Evolving print, digital and mobile opportunities
  • Inconsistencies in digital reporting

In this series of articles, we’ll draw from our extensive experience and expertise in the B2B automotive industry to outline our approach to media planning and buying for B2B clients. We’ve had the pleasure of creating integrated media programs for some of the most trusted and recognized brands in this arena for over a decade – household names like AutoTrader.com, vAuto, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim Auctions, to name a few. So let’s get started.

Step One: Immerse yourself in your B2B client’s business

As a media agency, we consider ourselves an extension of our clients’ marketing department. Their goals are our goals, and without knowing the intricacies of their trade and understanding their communication strategy, we cannot effectively drive their media programs. By immersing ourselves in our customers’ business, we not only score huge brownie points with our direct reports, but we also build the confidence needed to stand by our recommendations and prove our value – time and time again. This not only includes countless hours of researching the category, thumbing through the trade pubs and aligning ourselves with the right associations, but more importantly, really getting our hands dirty with our client partners and digging in to the heart of their business – where it truly counts.

In the B2B automotive space for example, we have had the opportunity to experience first-hand our clients doing what they do best. We’ve attended live auto auctions at Manheim Atlanta, including a tour of the massive state of the art facility, a first-hand look at their inspections processes, and my personal favorite, the “High Line” auction – think BMW, Porsche and Mercedes. While this all sounds like fun and games, it also gave us a inside perspective of how Manheim works with their auto dealer customers to efficiently remarket used vehicles and increase dealership profits. By witnessing Manheim’s trade first-hand, we were able to apply this knowledge to our annual media recommendations. Furthermore, it inspired our creative partners to design a new campaign surrounding the auction experience at Manheim. Without this on-site experience, this would not have been possible.

We’ve also had the opportunity to attend the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) convention on a number of occasions. A good excuse to go to Vegas or Orlando, you ask? Of course! But this also gives us the opportunity to walk the convention floor and surround ourselves with industry movers and shakers, including our beloved clients AutoTrader.com, vAuto and Kelley Blue Book. The NADA convention is also a great place to learn about current automotive legislation, dealership trends and best practices and most importantly, what tools will help auto dealers succeed and increase their bottom line. We use this information to create media recommendations that directly position our clients as leaders in the industry and drive home their message.

By immersing ourselves in our B2B clients’ business, we can take what we learn and apply it to our media plans and recommendations. As a bonus, we also learn a lot about our clients’ competitors – what are they doing differently and how are they communicating to the same audience? Combine this knowledge with our proprietary MediaWatch Competitive Study, and we have a wealth of competitive knowledge to put to use in our B2B media plans.

Stay tuned for more good media ideas regarding B2B planning and buying.

McCulloch+Company is an advertising media services company that integrates the innovation of digital media with the strengths of traditional paths. Founded in 1984 and located in historic Roswell, Georgia, McCulloch+Company is regarded as one of the Southeast's preeminent media agencies. The agency is skilled at managing B2B and B2C clients in a multitude of industry categories. Click here to contact us for a free media plan evaluation. 

Topics: B2B advertising, Atlanta, Media Agency, good media ideas, media planning, ad agency, media buying, top atlanta media buying agency, client, automotive advertising

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