Senior Media Strategist/Planner/Buyer at Freelancer
Each week on “Marketing for Your Future,” our hosts talk to experts in the marketing industry. Today, Mike White sat down with Christina Skirvin.
So take me through the process. When you start, you create a campaign for a client. Where does it all begin?
Absolutely. Well it begins with the planning. So when I sit down with a client, I like to talk about what their strategy and goals are, understand from them what their target audience is, sort of what the geographic reach is going to be, what the budget is, all of those are very important factors when you’re putting together what the plan will be. And then once you get the plan pulled together and approved, then the buying process is reaching out to all the reps and negotiating and using your relationships, your expertise to get the highest reaching frequency at the lowest cost for your client.
So once you’ve come to a decision on what you’re purchasing, you put in an insertion order. Tell me about what’s on the insertion order.
Oh yeah. Well I mean it depends on the media. But it’s very important to have as much as possible. This is your binding agreement with a media partner, the media vendor, so it’s really important to have all of the cost information, positioning, everything that you expect out of what you’re purchasing for them to deliver. It all needs to be written down on an insertion order, agreed to. It’s also very important to review any sort of contract you get from them. There’s all kinds of caveats and little things that are really important to read. Cancellation policies, all of those different things are very important to do, and as a media buyer, you know those are things to look for, to negotiate, to talk about, and include in an insertion order or any type of contract with a media partner.
Who typically sends over the creative and how is that done?
Well that really depends on the environment that you’re in. I’ve worked both client side and agency side. And in the agency that I’ve worked with, you pass off the media buy to the production trafficking project managers and the creative gets designed to spec. It gets trafficked out to our media partners through those people. My most recent role on the client side I handled all of that actually. So I worked directly with our creative team as well as the production folks with our media vendors, and I made sure that everything was produced to spec and then I trafficked it out to the vendors.
What role does creative play in the success of the campaign?
Creative’s very important. Absolutely. That’s why when you start, you start with media planning but you also start with, what’s the overall campaign plan? What is the messaging to the target audience? All of that comes into play actually when you’re putting the media plan together that way you’ve got the right creative, the right messaging, going to the audience in the right places.
So after your spots and dots run, how do you make sure that everything you agreed to actually got fulfilled?
Yeah absolutely. So that’s a very important role of a media buyer. And once something runs that you know it depends on what it is. If it’s going to be like an email going out or some banner ads running or if it’s going to be a print ad, there’s a different amount of lag time but you absolutely have to follow up to make sure that it ran right and it ran as ordered. So it ran in the right position, it ran in the right time period, it ran in the right market. And if there’s anything that brand did not run as it was ordered or agreed to via the contract, then you absolutely have to make that good for your client.
How many lines are on a typical monthly order for a customer? What’s the range?
Oh gosh, that’s so hard to say. I’ve had it where it’s 15 or 20 up to several hundred. So I mean, it just really depends on the level of campaign, the budget level — of course the bigger the budget, the more spots that you’re going to have to run. And it is. It’s going line by line not only making sure that it ran correctly as far as the right show or the right time period but that it also ran at the you know what the what the rating was. So there’s lots of different things that you have to check. And it’s not a necessarily fast process, but the more that you know and understand, the faster that you can go for sure.
So talk about the make good process that you’ve gone through.
Yeah. The make good process is similar to the negotiation process. But basically when you enter into a contract or an agreement with a media vendor, you’re expecting something for the dollars that you put in. And so if they don’t deliver or over deliver, it is essential to make sure that they absolutely do provide everything for the cost. So there’s several different options. One can be just you don’t pay the invoice so you got some free advertising even though it wasn’t what you ordered. You basically get it for free. Or there’s making it whole which would be like if it ran in the wrong spot, you got so many rating points that you need to make up, then it’s important to go back and work with the media vendor to make sure that you get all the points that you had paid for. Sometime that can be the same programming or it can be a different combination. But it’s absolutely an essential part of the media buying process. The post buy, the reconciliation, and making sure that you get absolutely everything that you paid for. And most times, media vendors will actually, when they’ve made a mistake, will usually go above and beyond.
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