Media buying is a pretty straightforward concept, but it’s difficult to explain to people when they ask what I do, because most of it takes place in the background. I might say, “Well, you know how people create ads and TV commercials?” People will commonly respond with “Oh! So you’re like Don Draper in Mad Men?” Not exactly – but Don Draper couldn’t have been successful without some good media buyers behind him. That’s because the most creative, thought-provoking ads are useless, if they’re not being seen by the right people at the right time – and that’s where media buyers and planners come in.

Media buying is an industry term, and it doesn’t really give away what it is. In this case, “media” stands for “ad space.” Media buyers purchase ad space anywhere ad space can be purchased – on television, the radio, billboards and buses, on the internet – you get the idea. You might be thinking “OK, so I call up some TV ad salespeople and give them some money, and I have my ad campaign!” It’s not quite that simple…actually, it’s not even remotely that simple. Media buyers need to be a hybrid of creative and analytical thinkers. They need to be able to look at big-picture, seek out of the box ideas for advertising and make them come to reality, while at the same time fitting a thousand tiny pieces into one large puzzle, all while staying under budget and over-delivering. Since there is so much that goes into media buying, it’s beneficial to take advantage of professional media buyer. Here are a few reasons it’s worth considering working with a professional media buyer or firm on your next ad campaign:

Research, research, and then some more research. Media buyers and planners subscribe to and have access to special demographic research tools. Used effectively, these tools can provide information as broad as the demographic makeup of a market, exact TV programs that loyal purchasers of a specific car brand, or whether beer drinkers spend more time listening to the radio or watching Hulu. Since the core of media buying is getting an ad in front of the right audience at the right time, this information is gold.

Ratings actually mean something. To the average person, the ratings a show pulls in are a measure of its success. To an advertiser, it’s a value equation; media buyers don’t just buy 100 spots (that’s industry lingo for “commercials”) – in fact, with the right tools, you could hypothetically put a media buy together without ever looking at the name of the programs you’re buying (though I wouldn’t advise this – Real Housewives might get extraordinary ratings, but they’re not likely to be effective if you’re trying to sell commercial business equipment). Buyers look at “Total Ratings Points,” impressions, and other things to achieve the highest number of views on a commercial for the lowest overall cost. The goal is efficiency, not overreach.

We have the relationships you don’t. We have specific sales reps assigned to us for all our accounts, and we work with them regularly. As a firm we spend a lot of money with our assigned reps and therefore they work hard to keep us happy. That means better rates and service for our clients, and more trust on both ends.

We know what to ask for, and what to look for. We always ask for more – discounted rates, extra (bonus) spots, longer runs on billboards and bus ads – because we know we can, and because we’re not afraid to. It’s another way we get more value for our clients, and we leverage our relationships to do that.

We make sure you get what you paid for. We don’t just look at whether or not everything ran at the right time. We make sure there are no trees in front of your billboards, that the panels on buses aren’t torn or falling down. We also make sure that if we buy 100 TV spots but only got 80 percent of the “points” that we purchased, that the stations make those up. We are after viewers, after all.

Spending some money to get some advertising sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s actually something of a science that involves a lot of tools, negotiation, relationship building, and knowledge. Curious about how we can help with your paid media needs? Shoot us an email!