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Series: Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Best Practices [Media Buying]

by Kim Ballard


We’re following up on our marketing best practices. You might remember our blog from a few months back on email. We’re going down a different path with this post: media buying.

It takes a recipe of a number of ingredients to create a strong media buy. To sum it up though, media buying is essentially the art of ensuring advertisers’ (in our case, our clients’) ads appear where they want them to, when they want them to, and that they pay the best possible price for these appearances. So, how do you balance these needs with the needs and capabilities of the stations? What steps must be taken to ensure price and reach are where everyone involved wants and needs them to be? Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started and best practices our media team utilizes that will set you up for media buying success.

Best Practices:

1. Do I fully understand mine (or my clients’) goals for the buy?

Best Practice: If you’re buying media for a client, start by making sure your relationship with them is that of a business partnership. You should view the client and yourself as a team, working together to develop and execute the best buy possible to accomplish their business objectives. Knowing their goals, their business, their target audiences, and then knowing where their target audiences can be found and when will ensure you’re placing the best buy possible.

2. Who am I advertising to?

Best Practice: Reach, frequency, and demographics are important factors when developing a strong media buy. Some advertisers believe in a vast range of networks and stations to enlarge overall reach. The problem here is that they aren’t concentrating on how effective the media actually will be for their target audience. Note that on average consumers need to see messaging seven times before they make a purchase decision. Our team believes in really knowing who you are talking and advertising to in order to dominate their media consumption outlets. Focusing on our clients’ key target demographics and being present there all the time ensures we are reaching as many relevant people, as often as possible.

3. Am I focusing on just the math?

Best Practice: Media buying comes down to more than math. The numbers approach to media buying is fairly standard and unfortunately, this facet of marketing has become nothing more than a math equation to many. It is important to go beyond “points based” buying methods and combine the math with granular lifestyle and demographic research, as well as common sense to select only the most effective media and outlets given your goals.

4. Do I have relationships with media reps in my area?

Best Practice: Work to build close relationships with media partners in your area. If you’re just starting out with traditional media, consider partnering with an advertising agency. This relationship and the creation of a shared vested interest in the success of your business will create a more effective and affordable media plan. If you have relationships with partners, continue them. This is the best way to create the smartest, most long lasting overall marketing and advertising plan of action.

Does your company currently follow these best practices? What other best practices do you have that we missed? Share it with us in the comments below!