A media planner is like a writer who creates the screen play for a film. A media buyer is like the actor who brings the film to life. A politician with a good message who fails to get out the vote loses the election. And a good media idea, poorly executed, might as well have been a bad idea. Sometimes execution is everything.
A media plan might be brilliant, but will it be executed Money Shot with equal zeal? Will the plan be executed on budget with the right media vehicles, in the right place, at the right time and with maximum communications impact? If not, the plan might not look so brilliant any more. Media planning, media buying, and media selling are all equal communications partners in driving ROI.
Why is Buying Underestimated?
Since all of the disciplines (planning, buying, selling) are all of roughly equal in importance, I have always wondered why media textbooks dedicate only a few pages to the art and science of media buying and no pages to media selling. Clients probably place the highest importance on the cost effectiveness of the buys negotiated on their behalf. Agencies can lose clients on the basis of poor media buying performance, bu I don’t think I can ever remember an agency losing an account because of a media simulation model.
Perhaps some academics believe that media planning is more conceptual, more creative, more research oriented, and provides better mettle for the mind. But these assumptions aren’t necessarily so. Media buying at its best requires honed negotiation skills which could be a course in psychology. Buying also it requires an understanding of the communications process that rivals media planning. And media buyers need a knowledge of the research documenting how different media variables, such as commercial affect performance and advertising effectiveness.
It is ironic that so many clients have the opposite belief where buying is more important than planning. After all, that is where the rubber hits the road and the dollars are spent.
In the 21st century, media buyers won’t just be responsible for buying TRPS or clicks at the lowest possible price, but must learn how to “buy communication, not TRPS, according to many experts. Beyond CPM, how can a buy’s communications effectiveness be maximized? Program involvement, attention levels, contextual considerations, commercial positioning and a host of other factors have a greater impact on communications effectiveness than media weight and CPMs. TRPS are not TRPS.
Where the Jobs Are
Students interested in a career in advertising need to study the art and science of media buying because it is an important part of th business and because jobs in buying are more plentiful than jobs in planning.n the 21st century, students also need a point of difference to help them land a job in every competitive arena. Unless they go to work for a mega agency, where are students going to learn about media buying including negotiating strategy, the role of program involvement, commercial positioning, and context –if not in the classroom?
Everyone in the marketing communications business needs to develop a good understanding of the convergence of planning and buying and selling. Media is transitioning to Integrated Marketing.