Today’s media is way too complex and demographically fragmented for the “broad based” media solutions of even a few years ago. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a large international corporation or a small local business, it still takes research and planning, in addition to smart negotiating and a unique message, to drive business forward. And if you think digital media is “the future”, you’re wrong. It’s the present.
Media is the single most expensive cost of any marketing campaign, typically accounting for 80% of the dollars. Trying to plan and negotiate without the benefit of expertise is no different than being your own lawyer, accountant or doctor. Media Negotiation is part art, part science and years of industry experience. It has nothing to do with the cost of a media unit. Let me repeat that. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COST OF A MEDIA UNIT. So if you’re not negotiating dollars, what do the pros negotiate? Targeted Audience delivery! Other factors that are integral to being a media negotiating pro are: knowledge of market rate seasonality, live verses recorded delayed viewing, market programming, vendor ability to run schedules, trafficking history, vendor competition, client competition, the ability to create special and unique promotions, and media relationships. That’s the REAL meaning of media clout. It’s not about having the biggest bat. It’s about knowing how to swing.
Broadcast television, broadcast radio, cable, satellite, syndicated and national television all have their unique audience and all require different skills in planning and buying. Understanding the ratings, seasonal adjustments, developing the buying philosophy for live and recorded ratings, establishing specific buying guidelines unique to every client, building rapport with vendor reps and management, and understanding their inventory demands and sweet spots requires skilled buyers with creative thinking. It's the discipline of checking contracts, getting signed confirmations, scrutinizing invoices to ensure schedules run as ordered, negotiating make-goods and credits, and post buy analysis.
It takes a media team and media software to properly evaluate and monitor the schedules, making a considerable difference in the outcome. A freelance buyer working hourly is going to cut these steps in order to reduce the media fees, which often is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Get a good understanding of your buyers’ credentials and have them explain their process. With approximately 80% of your advertising budget going into media, hiring a media buyer is as important as the creative director. The message has to be right; so does the media buy!