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Why use a media consultant when buying media?

Media buyers today aren’t just in the business of negotiating discounts and creaming off a nice margin on every campaign.  They’re researchers, planners, strategists and hold a wealth of experience and knowledge that the ad-hoc advertiser can’t possibly begin to conceive.

You may believe that there is no benefit, and only additional cost, to utilising the services of a seasoned media buyer but there are a lot of hidden upsides you may not have considered.

It’s not wrong to buy and book your own advertising but I see a lot of local businesses using local ad-rags, advertising week in and week out, never changing their advert or message and wonder whether they’re really getting the best out of their media buy.

Whether you choose to continue to manage your own on or offline advertising or seek out the services of a media consultant here’s some simple steps to follow to get the most out of your advertising spend.

Step 1: Identify your target market

Who are you trying to reach?  Create a profile of your buyer.  You might want to consider – whether they’re male or female? How old they might be? What their average income is? Where do they live?

Step 2: Research

Once you’ve created a profile, do some further research (your own or use secondary research).  Ask yourself what they might read? Do they commute to work and how? Do they watch a lot of TV at home or are they out every evening and weekend?

It’s important to understand their buying behaviour as its only then you’ll be able to reach them where they’re comfortable being reached.

Step 3: Set your objectives

What do you want to achieve with this advertising?  Are you looking simply to create awareness of your brand? Do you want them to sign up for something in particular? Are you trying to sell a very specific item/service within a particular time frame?

Without setting an objective your campaign is surely going to fail as you’ll have nothing to benchmark the results against.

Step 4: Write out your media plan and strategy

Organisation is key to not making last-minute frantic mistakes in advertising – remember you’re working to other people’s deadlines now.

  • Where are you buying the media from?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are your objectives?
  • Where and when will your adverts appear?

Step 5: Execute your plan

Contact the media, negotiate your prices, write out a calendar of events and remember to include not only publication dates but artwork and copy deadline dates and most importantly track results as the adverts appear – what have you put in place to do this?

Step 6: Learn and adjust

Don’t be afraid just because you put so much time in to steps 1 through 5 that if something isn’t working, adjust it – easier with digital media than printed etc… of course.  Learn from your results and adjust, if not on this campaign then the next.

You may read that and think it sounds a doddle, in which case of course it makes sense to manage it in-house.  But if you’re still wondering what a media consultant will deliver over and above, consider this:

Research:
Research time would be far less, media consultants are people who know the media options available to you within the sort of budget you are talking and will be able to make quick recommendations.

Creative:
Many media consultants will be able to recommend or provide creative services to design your adverts and recommend a concept to meet your objectives.  This can be replicated swiftly across any or all of the media sources you’ve chosen without you having to consider pixel sizes, dpi, bleed etc.. and ensure consistency in your brand message across multi-media outlets.

Relationships;
Working with some of the media sources on a regular basis a media consultant will be able to perform ‘miracles’ when it comes to deadline extensions, changing adverts, negotiating discounts, bulk buys, enhancements and squeezing in last minute adverts and picking up bargains they can recommend will enhance your campaign.

Management:
Managing deadlines, managing the adverts ROI – monitoring and suggesting tweaks and keeping an eye on ad campaigns daily making sure your budget really is working for you.

Experience:
Where is the optimum place to have an advert in a newspaper or magazine?  How many words is too many words in an advert? Did you do everything right but forget your phone number?  The value of experience cannot be underestimated.

Without a doubt media consultants will more than earn their fee through speeding up the research and planning process, giving sound advice from experience and managing the media plan tightly to ensure you get the most out of your advertising spend.

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