Friday, May 8, 2015

The true/false of media buying and planning

How do you hire someone to join your team? Every industry and place of employment has to determine what will make an ideal candidate for an available position; media planning and buying agencies are no different.

Currently, our agency is looking for a person who can fill our coordinator job position. Because media planning and buying is typically not the main focus of advertising curriculum at universities, a lot of the interviewing process is effectively explaining to college graduates what media planners and buyers do.

For those college graduates who are excited to join the advertising world, first of all, welcome. Secondly, here is a quick true/false list about our job here at Ruth Burke & Associates:

Truth: You need to understand math. Media planning and buying largely consists of balancing budgets, negotiating rates with vendors, updating flowcharts and formulas, dealing with gross budgets, net costs, and calculating client commission rates. Therefore, your brain, a calculator, and Excel are going to be utilized constantly.

False: You quit working every Friday at 4:30p to drink. While we like to have fun and celebrate with agency outings, pizza Fridays, summer hours, holidays, birthday parties, etc., we are here to work. Some other agencies like to advertise the fun atmosphere of the office with “Beer Thirty” on Fridays, which is fun, but it comes from the “work hard, play harder” mentality. Meaning, while it’s fun to stop work on Fridays early, it’s expected to work past the 5pm quitting time all other days of the week. We like to work hard and enjoy life.

Truth: You will get free tickets to concerts and events. This is not a guarantee, but because media planners and buyers constantly work with sales reps from all media, free tickets become available. A lot of the time, the tickets are sent to clients as a “Thank you” for working with us. However, there are times where you can enjoy a concert or show that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

False: You never travel or get out of the office… hello cubicle! We’ll be honest, the majority of the time, you will be in your office conducting work via email and phone. A large portion of our time is coordinating between the vendor and the client and making sure everything runs smoothly. However, there are times when we get to be social and interact with the media community in a non-work capacity. Also, a good portion of our clients are not local to the Kansas City area. So, occasional market visits can come up. And for those clients who are in Kansas City, we get to go to different areas of town that may not be in our comfort zone.

False: Every media buy is the same, so it’s easy to be a buyer/planner. Every client has a different set of goals when advertising. Budgets are different as are geographic and demographic target parameters. If trying to reach a woman 25-49 in northern Kansas City, it wouldn’t make sense to advertise in a magazine that is distributed only in southern Kansas City. Each media platform has to be evaluated to determine what makes the most sense for the client and the campaign.

Truth: If you like solving puzzles, you might be a planner. A lot of what we do is problem solve. Whether it’s picking up tickets for radio promotion for the client, updating a flowchart and campaign to account for the $20,000 cut in the budget and still keeping the majority of the media unchanged, or determining if a makegood meets the criteria needed to be approved, media planners and buyers ultimately make decisions that affect a lot of different outcomes.

Overall, we look for team members who are willing to lead projects, be the supportive role for other employees when needed, be engaged in the clients’ needs, rein in big ideas and implement them in a real-life way.

One way to best summarize a media planner/buyer’s job objective is to organize the chaos.