More often than not, new advertisers will set up their own ad buys and handle the media buying themselves. While this might be a wonderful educational experience, it is usually a big mistake, costing the company time, money and marketing results. Even if your company has experience in buying media, it would be wise to consider the following eight reasons for working with a professional media buying services agency.
1. It Costs Nothing
When you use a media buying services agency to buy your company’s radio and television advertising, the agency is paid through an agency-only discount provided by the station. For example, let’s say you want to buy an ad spot that costs $1000. If you work directly with the media station sales rep, that spot costs $1000. If you work with a media buying agency, that spot still costs $1000. Why? Because television stations give the media buyer a discount (usually 15%). This discount is not available to your company; only an established media buying agency is eligible to receive it. Your company pays the exact same amount, and your media buying services agency does the work, paid for by the station.
In our example, it might seem like overkill to introduce a buyer into the mix. If you were buying a limited run on a single station, you could probably do it yourself. On the other hand, longer runs or ads running on more than one station are much more complex. As a matter of fact, as you read on, you will find that not only does using a media buyer not cost anything, it actually stretches your ad budget to help you get a lot more for your advertising dollar.
2. Negotiation “Clout”
Media buying services agencies often have quite a bit of buying influence – in both local and national markets. Professional media buying agencies place advertising for several clients, giving them a total spend much larger than a single company might bring to the table. As you might guess, this level of spending gives them some real advantages when negotiating contracts. Your advertising schedule will benefit with lower prices per spot and better timeslots.
3. Negotiation Know-How
Professional media buyers will tell you that negotiating media buys is often more art than science. A really good buyer truly understands the stations being bought, knows how to reach a compromise that helps your company as well as the station and understands the tricks and traps that could cause problems with the buy.
Here’s an example: For one reason or another, television stations often “bump” spots (remove them from the schedule). If your negotiated price is below a certain threshold, your spots have a high likelihood of being bumped instead of another advertiser who is paying higher. The professional media buyer understands this and knows how to prevent this problem.
4. Tracking & “Make-Good” Ads
When you buy television advertising, your cost is based on the station’s promise that a certain number of people will see your spot. What happens if they don’t? Let’s say they promise a million viewers but only half that number tune in (something that happens quite often). What then? Think the station will track you down and let you know it happened, then offer some way to make up for it? Not likely.
A professional media buyer tracks the ratings for your advertising to make sure you get everything that you paid for. In the case above, your media buyer will request “make goods,” essentially free spots to make up for the ratings difference. This is huge benefit that will save your budget while also increasing delivery of your message. (For example, in 2008, we tracked a more than 20% under-delivery in one of our markets, saving our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.)
5. No More Sales Hassles
Your media buying services agency becomes the point of contact for all media reps – those working with your company and those who want to. You’re never stuck on the phone discussing “special advertising prices” or “one-day deals” again.
For one of our clients, this was by far his top benefit – even more than the money he saves, he enjoys the ability to tell media reps that he has a media agency and they should call us instead of him.
6. No More Accounting Hassles
No matter how hard you plan, television advertising billing fluctuates and is sometimes incorrect. This due to programming changes, scheduling adjustments and numerous other reasons. Within a media buying services company, you have an accountant that is accustomed to working with television stations to make sure that budgets are kept. This helps you avoid surprises in billing, and it gives you piece of mind that your invoices are correct.
7. More Time In Your Day
If you take away all of the accounting hassles, calls from sales reps, research into shows and networks, and all of the other miscellaneous work that goes into good media buying, then you can save lots of time. If you’ve worked with a media buying services agency, you know that working with one contact and company saves tons of time over placing on multiple media outlets.
8. Big-Picture Strategy
One of the biggest benefits of working with a media buyer is that they can often see the big picture in a way that the individual sales reps cannot. Your professional media buyer knows your target customers as well as all of your placements and all of your marketing goals. Instead of ordering media based on a station’s open inventory (what TV stations call their commercial slots), a professional buy is based on getting you what you need at the best prices available.