Much like the town criers of days gone by, today’s media buyers are charged with getting the word out. But rather than loud voices and elaborate costumes to catch the public’s attention, their strategies are far more sophisticated.
“A media buyer places advertising time and space on television, radio, print media and outdoors,” says Susan Hebel, a senior media buyer with Ren Scott Creative.
Strategizing a basic media plan
When a new client comes on board, there’s a lot of discussion that leads to the strategy that best fits each unique client’s marketing objectives.
- What is the client’s business?
- Who is the client trying to reach - age, gender, education, income level?
- What are the most effective media options to achieve the client’s marketing goals? What’s available and what are the costs on TV, radio, print and digital bulletin boards? Availability – and price - can vary based on the time of year. Even events such as the political campaign season have to be factored in.
- Should multiple media be used? Simultaneously or separately?
- What’s the client’s budget?
“We work with various budgets,” says Tricia Pressley, also a senior media buyer, who notes that the digital component has drastically changed the media arena - even in the past 18 years that she’s been buying and planning media. “We work collaboratively with our account services team, creative team and digital team to strategize the who, when and how. … Then we put the plan into action.”
Responsibilities of a media buyer
In a nutshell, there’s:
- Planning and research
- Negotiating and media buying
Using television as an example, Susan says they’ll request inventory and ratings information from the TV stations - then analyze and compare all the data.
“We negotiate the best rates possible to optimize the client’s media budget,” says Susan. “But once the buy is made, we’re not done.”
“Every spot is tracked in real time, day by day,” says Tricia of how direct response advertising allows for optimizing on behalf of the client.
“We can track how many leads today, last week, the month before,” says Susan. “If a station or program isn’t generating leads, we quickly have to make a change.”
Along with help from Emily, a junior media buyer who rounds out their team, a roster of over 25 clients in myriad marketing stages is managed on a daily basis.
“A client’s media mix is often complex, devised to work collectively for the biggest impact,” says Tricia, who also has experience on the other side, selling media, and using all those experiences to best help the client.
Media planning and buying involve researching the most effective approach, while acknowledging that budget is often in the driver’s seat.
“It’s a lengthy process - and this attention to detail and monitoring the return on investment is the completion of a thoroughly researched media recommendation. Effectiveness and efficiency are our goals,” says Tricia.
“We’re very transparent – and accountable to our clients. We take good care of them,” says Susan.