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M2M: Christine Kubisztal on Strategic Media Planning
February 22, 2018
M2M: Christine Kubisztal on Strategic Media Planning
Zhana Veleska

This week’s Marketer to Marketer (M2M) blog features Christine Kubisztal, the Director of Integrated Media and Analytics at CBD. With over 15 years of strategic communication planning and buying experience, she’s developed award-winning media plans for major retail, healthcare and higher education clients.

It’s a little-known fact that Christine Kubisztal once interned at the popular radio station WJMK FM during her college years at DePaul University, working with two iconic Chicago DJs: Dick Biondi and John "Records" Landecker. At the time, she aspired to be an on-air radio personality – that is, until she discovered her passion for the marketing and promotions side of the industry while developing radio plans for the station’s clients.

Today, Christine is the head of media planning, buying and analytics at CBD, where she helps clients think up innovative ways to reach, engage and acquire new customers.

Q&A with Christine Kubisztal

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to media planning?

From a media standpoint, my goal is to help clients express their marketing and business objectives to their target audiences through a variety of communication channels, while keeping a keen eye to incorporate KPIs so we can track our success. Media has changed exponentially in recent years, so I also dedicate myself to learning about new media platforms to help our clients differentiate themselves and their products in the marketplace.


Why is strategy so important when it comes to integrated media planning?

The way many clients approach media planning, they typically want to dive into the tactics first. Without an overarching strategy to guide planning, they can end up with tactics that don’t align with their main objectives.

For example, if your business goal is to sell a thousand units per month via an e-commerce website, you most likely want to consider a digital-first channel approach. It sounds very logical but having a deep understanding of the how media channels contribute to business objectives is imperative, especially in today’s fragmented communications world.

Marketers typically want to start with a TOPS approach [Tactics, Objectives, Purpose, Strategy]. I help to guide their communications planning to a POST approach [Purpose, Objective, Strategy, Tactics].


When it comes to strategic media planning, what are the most common client goals you’ve encountered?

With our B2B clients, the most common goals that we encounter are lead generation and customer acquisition. It's important that we level set on a client’s goals prior to beginning any media planning or digital analytics measurement plan.


What is one "trick of the trade" that you use to obtain the best media placements for clients?

I am a huge proponent of providing a strategic brief to media partners prior to requesting communication proposals. The brief really helps a media partner to understand a client’s unique needs and that way they can tailor the presentation specific to the client’s business goals and objectives.

This is where my years of media buying experience plays a critical role. We will typically brief and meet with many different media partners before I find one that can provide fresh ideas for executions that are radically different from anything our clients have done previously. The key is not to settle for “off-the-shelf” ideas. Push for the NBDB or Never Been Done Before.


In your opinion, what are some must-have traits of a successful media planner?

The media world is constantly changing. What is new and emerging this month, is mainstream and in use the next. You have to constantly have your finger on the pulse of how technology is influencing media channels.

For example, Artificial Intelligence is a big media industry buzzword right now. My job is to stay ahead of the curve on how AI is being applied to media channels and make recommendations to our clients on how they can utilize this new technology.


What advice would you offer to a business that is struggling to achieve the results they need out of their media plan?

I have a planning philosophy that no plans are ever set in cement. The beauty of the media world today is that there are no “must-buy” channels any more. Through optimization and analytics we can be flexible with our channel selections and really work to constantly change the plans to develop the best results. To use another analogy, we can “skate to the puck” of what is working best.

Having been a long time client myself, I would advise clients to not be afraid of change. Be open to new ideas and consider unconventional tactics. Maybe you don’t go all in, but do consider allocating 10-15% of your budget for “Test and Learn” initiatives. For example, one of our clients recently used programmatic streaming audio after discovering that a considerable amount of their target audience was consuming this media. The inclusion of this new channel helped them reach and connect with a new audience in ways that they had not been able to previously and drove new business leads to their website.


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Last but not least, what is meaningful to you outside of your role at CBD?

Working out. I wish I had more time to dedicate to fitness. I’m a competitive person by nature, so I like pushing myself to be more active, whether that’s through lifting weights, running or biking.


Want to learn more from Christine Kubisztal? Connect with her on LinkedIn for even more tips on strategic media planning. Next up in the M2M series, we’ll be featuring Justin Twymon, CBD's Director of Digital Strategy and Development.