How to Find a Media Planning Agency

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Appointing your media agency can be a decidedly tricky business.  The marketplace is crowded with agencies who claim to offer similar – or even identical – services. With so many options to choose from, how do you identify the best media planning agency to work with? Here are our recommendations:

  

  • Know the Media Agency Staff

Media agencies can be seen as an extension of your business. Their role is to guide and assist your company’s media-buying operations, and while doing this they will inevitably be heavily involved in your day-to-day work. So before you appoint an agency, it’s wise to consider the type of people you’d prefer to work with..

The personality, professionalism and expertise of the agency staff you liaise with can greatly impact the success of your operations. An agency with a different work ethos or approach to marketing, for example, is unlikely to be a good fit for your company and may even have a negative impact. 

  • Market Research and Analysis

Media planning does not (or at least should not!) consist of pre-packaged proposals. It’s imperative that your chosen agency carries out in-depth research into your company, your audience, your aims and objectives before developing any sort of media plans. This research will take a strategic look at your business objectives as well as compile an overview of your business’s sales, your target audience, media consumption patterns, competitor analysis, etc.

Well-equipped agencies will have access to leading market research tools, and their staff members will be trained to incorporate the results of this careful research into their plans. As the quality of the research often determines the quality of media plans, we strongly recommend paying close attention to the capabilities of any agency you are thinking of appointing.

 

  • They Understand Your Business

Successful media-planning agencies hold in-depth knowledge of sectors and their audiences.  When speaking with your potential partners, make sure they understand basic financial concepts such as lifetime value of a customer, profit margins, the breakeven point of a programme, demographics/characteristics of your audience, seasonality of purchases and your sales cycle length. It’s important that your planner understands this, as they will need to develop a strategy that aligns with your budget to ensure you derive the maximum possible ROI from your campaigns.

 

  • They Use the Right Tools

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re trying to find the right media partner. For example, you should ask whether they outsource their digital services or whether this is done in house. Which PPC platforms do they use, what analytics tracking processes do they have in place and so on. The better equipped the company you choose, the easier it will be for you to operate in the competitive market place. Make sure you know their capabilities.

 

  • Experience in Media Channels and Media Owners

Connecting research to the media mix is the foundation of a good media schedule. The media landscape has become fragmented with the growth of specialised media agencies looking at select areas of the media mix.  Speak with your potential media partner and ask how they build a media mix. Do they have planners in house or do they outsource services? What experience do they have with the media they are proposing? Also, ask for specific examples of programmes they’ve planned and run for other clients using the same channels.

 

  • They Believe in Data

A modern-day media planner uses data for rationalising campaigns, whilehile customising plans for maximising results, a/b testing and tracking campaign success have become part of the good practice. Gone are the days of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.  Your media partner should embrace testing various media to find just the right mix that will deliver on your marketing objectives.

 

  • The Negotiation Process

The best media planners and buyers negotiate with suppliers to deliver the best value and to identify where best to establish contact with the target customer. Find out whether the agencies you approach have long-lasting relationships with media owners; enquire about the extent of their buying power; and ask for evidence of their ability to drive a good bargain. These are all aspects worth investigating.

 

An experienced, well-equipped media agency can act as an extended arm of your marketing team   Call our team today to discuss how we can help you plan an effective media-buying strategy.