Why I'm Jealous of Media Planners

They Have Lasting Relationships

By Published on .

Remember when media planners and buyers were the low-paid, under-appreciated members of the agency team? Well, that was then. Now media is the place to be. With the splintering of advertising media, clients are confused about how to reach their customers in cost-effective ways. Hell, they're confused about how to reach them, period.
Marc Brownstein Marc Brownstein
So enter the media folks. They're placing advertising everywhere -- on all three screens and in places that were never considered advertising vehicles. And they are leading the way with guerilla marketing. I'm jealous that they have the client's trust to handle all of the non-traditional parts of the buy as well.

Media shops also are getting smart with brand strategy, and clients are taking notice. That makes me very jealous. That's OUR turf! And I thought we were doing a pretty good job of leading with strategy and positioning memorable brands.

And, finally, I'm jealous that media shops keep their clients much longer than advertising agencies do. Did you ever think about that? It's true. I'd like to know what the actual statistics are on length of client relationships between advertisers and their media planning/buying shops, and advertisers and their advertising agencies. It can't be good for the creative folks. In my own experience, my agency is affiliated with media shops (who we work very closely with, and have great respect for), and long after we part ways with the client, the media shops stay on. Why? Mainly because much of media planning and buying is an objective science that can be evaluated and validated with post-buy reports. Creative, on the other hand, is a purely subjective art that plays to the whims of a client. Your idea could be a homerun today, and strike out tomorrow. But that media plan, it rarely disappoints.

What's left for agencies that create advertising? Why, we can execute, of course! Seriously. We'd better be careful, or we'll relegate ourselves irrelevant.

My advice for those on the subjective side of the business: Build trust with your clients with brilliant insights, expressed in unexpected ways. Set up metrics in advance, and measure the results of your work. Do that with consistency and steadfast discipline, and you'll find your agency doing the kind of work that lured you into this industry in the first place. And your clients won't shop elsewhere for the work you were originally hired to do.
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