Advertising your company or product in print media, radio, cinema, Outdoor/Out-Of-Home (OOH), TV media or across a digital network can be an exciting time. You know your budget, your ad looks fantastic, the copy is creative and on-brand, you’ve incorporated a call-to-action strategy and you know exactly when you want it to go live. Now all you need to do is call up and book with one of the big media companies, grab some popcorn and watch your sales jump sky high, right?
There are a few things you might want to consider first.
Are you Getting a Good Price?
When you contact a media company directly, after answering a few basic questions on budget, company and timing you will likely be sent an impressive looking document with rate card pricing – almost like a menu for media placements. While it may be exciting to scroll through and buy a few placements, there is a commonly acknowledged truism in the advertising world that no-one pays the standard rate card for media. And often, those beautiful schedules you're presented with really don't equate to great value for money with limited reach and frequency.
Utilising media buyers, on the other hand, provides a major advantage in securing value for money. They are experienced negotiators, and have the knowledge of the latest actual prices that are paid for print, TV, OOH, digital or radio media. Media buyers have access to last-minute distress rates which can lead to huge discounts, have a thorough understanding of bulk-buying volume deals and opportunities, and their experience in programming often saves clients well above their 10 per cent commission rate.
Will Your Ad Receive Premium Placement?
This is highly contentious topic, a point when the question ‘did you read the fine print’ comes into play. Using TV media as an example, these media companies have a very defined amount of broadcast real estate over 24 hours that they can sell to advertisers. Since they secure annual partnerships with major brands and agencies in the many millions of dollars, they tend to reserve their premium placements and peak viewership times for these customers. If you are contacting the broadcast owner directly to arrange a one-off booking, it’s quite possible your ad will be screened in the early hours of the morning or in a segment that is far less desirable and competitive. This scenario is common across most media platforms. However, a media specialist buying media on your behalf knows the language and red flags to be weary of, and can ensure you are getting the best possible schedule for your budget.
Will You Receive Adequate Customer Service?
Unfortunately, there is a lot that can go wrong when buying media. What if your ad doesn’t go live on time? Or what if the incorrect version of the creative is used? Or perhaps clicking the ad is sending people to the wrong destination? In times such as these, it is reassuring and advantageous to have a media specialist who can fight in your corner and have any issues rectified quickly on your behalf. Alternatively, in booking directly you are competing for attention and customer service with major brands in multi-million-dollar deals who are more likely to be prioritised. Choose a media buyer at an agency where you don’t feel like a small fish in a large pond.
Are You Targeting the Right Audience?
With so many media platforms on offer in our modern age, unless you have extensive media buying experience it is difficult to know if your hard-earned media dollars are being invested in the right media to reach your optimum target audience. Who are the existing consumers of your product or service? Which demographic is most likely to become new customers? What is their media appetite? Adopting a specific media strategy through a specialised agency means you get this added advice and also allows for more complex media buying methodologies and access to new medias that may be perfect from both a targeting and a value perspective.
What Level of Reporting is Provided?
The majority of media owners across print, radio, OOH, TV media or digital media will provide a proof of posting and results data in some form. But it will be up to you to interpret this. If you don’t have a media buying background, you may not have the time required to Google the lingo and marketing terms used? How will you determine success and identify areas to improve in future? Another consideration commonly checked by media buyers is whether the platform you are booking actually does get approximately the number of eyeballs it claims - is the viewership/readership audited by a reputable independent source?
An experienced media buyer integrates all of the above considerations included in their service. If you look for the right Agency fit and choose someone where you don’t feel like a small fish in a large pond, you can have the peace of mind that every marketing dollar is working its hardest to deliver results.
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