Media Buying

Don’t Become an Advertising Victim.

The largest slice of the advertising budget usually goes towards the purchase of advertising inventory. The TV commercials, billboards, pay-per-click ads, radio spots, yellow pages ads, direct mail pieces, newspaper and magazine ads you purchase are critically important to the success of your campaign. This is where your message meets your customers.

It’s difficult to overstate the number of ways that money can be wasted when inexperienced people purchase advertising. Unfortunately, it’s also nearly impossible for the inexperienced to tell how much money they are losing because they lack a comprehensive understanding of the tools and data used to evaluate media placements. Most people simply assume it’s a matter of trying to get more  X (commercials, clicks, impressions etc.) for the given budget.

We encounter clients on a regular basis that are using in-house resources to manage media planning and placement. In nearly every case, we are able to demonstrate significant inefficiencies in the schedules they are buying. This can be a touchy subject, particularly when it’s the owner of the business that is doing the purchasing. They often take great pride in the knowledge they have acquired on the subject and usually feel that they are already getting great deals and buying optimized schedules.

Your Office Manager Is Not A Media Buyer.

Another situation that often occurs is when someone in the organization has been appointed to “take care of the advertising.” This person may be someone with a marketing background or it could be an office manager or other employee that’s simply taken an interest in the marketing side of the business. Again, rarely do we find that these situations result in optimal media purchases and in many cases find that there are gross inefficiencies taking place resulting in wasted spending, under-delivery and poor results.

Granted, if your monthly media plan consists of a few ads in the local neighborhood papers and a coupon mailer, there’s probably not enough spending going on to cause much damage. But when you reach the point where your monthly advertising budget is in the $10K and up range, you’re playing a very risky game with your money if you choose to march ahead without professional guidance.

And don’t assume that full-service advertising agencies are always equipped to handle media planning and placement either. Many of these firms are not staffed with experienced media planners and are hesitant to purchase the software and ratings data required to do the job right. It’s an expensive proposition to hire experienced media buyers and planners and to provide them with the tools necessary to do the job properly.

Before you hire anyone to handle your media planning and placement, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • What media planning and buying software resources do you have in-house?
  • Which ratings services do you subscribe to?
  • What qualitative research providers do you use?
  • How many markets have your in-house buyers purchased media in?
  • Describe your post-buy analysis process for each media.
  • What are the approximate budget levels you have placed in each medium?
  • Do you subscribe to services that provide cost-efficiency projections for each medium and market?

Honest answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea of whether you are dealing with a firm where media planning is a core competency or one that’s offering it as a tack-on service.

It’s Only Simple On The Surface.

Each and every advertising medium requires a specialized set of skills and knowledge to be researched, negotiated, placed and evaluated properly. Television schedules, for instance, are generally bought based on ratings projections. After the schedules run, they should be compared to the actual delivery of the programming to insure that the delivery goals were reached. In cases where delivery was not achieved, the station is obligated to provide free bonus commercials to make up for the under-delivery. Unless you have a subscription to the Nielsen TV ratings service and the proper software to analyze the data, there’s really no way to keep track of this other than asking your sales rep to do it for you. As you can imagine, this isn’t always the most reliable way to insure that you get everything you paid for.

Another great example is pay-per-click advertising. There are multiple campaign management platforms to deal with (i.e. Google, Yahoo & Bing) and each of them operates differently. Then you have the critical issue of keyword research. Next you have to make decisions about geography, dayparting, bid pricing, content networks, ad groups, ad text, split testing, landing pages, destination URL’s and all kinds of other variables. Goofing up on any one of these things can mean the difference between making a profit and throwing your money down the drain with every click.

The media companies that sell advertising make it extremely easy for anyone with a checkbook to buy it. They also do a great job of making you feel like a savvy negotiator that is getting a great deal on the best inventory they have to offer. It’s an easy game to manipulate because they have access to more information than you do.

You Probably Turn To A Professional For Personal Investing Advice. Advertising Investments Are Just As Important And Usually Carry More Risk.

Contact Media is uniquely positioned to provide best-in-class media planning and buying services. We’ve placed millions of dollars worth of advertising across all major delivery platforms in markets across the U.S. We’re going to show you where you need to be and what you can live without. We’ll uncover the inefficiencies in your advertising schedules and optimize them for maximum results.

In many cases, our media management fees are completely covered by discounts we receive from our vendors – you don’t have to spend a penny more than you currently are to get professional media management services and gain assurance that your budget is being allocated properly. We provide complete invoice reconciliation services and even take care of vendor payments if you prefer. Each month, you will receive a complete summary of your campaign along with hard copies of all vendor invoices and performance statistics.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our media planning and buying services and philosophy, please review our FREE report, Why Do I Need A Media Agency?, by filling out the form below. Or contact us anytime. We are always happy to help.

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