by Laurie Panas-Brackett
When a company still tries to deal with the media after they have hired a media agent to represent them – the company suffers.
When you sign the contract to have an agency represent you, you are placing the responsibility of that media buy and all the elements that go into that buy such as research, negotiations, media questions, requests, and proposals to that agency. The agency in return should be saving you time by collecting all the data and providing DMA data which is non-partisan, straight facts on which stations are best to reach the target audience for the campaign goal. The agency should also be fighting for the lowest rates and the best scheduled value. They should understand how to put together an OES, Optimum Efficiency Schedule that not only offers the best value for your GRP’s, Gross Rating Points, but also will be effective in its results. Too many impressions are an oversaturated schedule while too little frequency will not get the results or the sales. Understanding the right schedule mix is what professional media buying and planning is all about.
The process by which a successful media campaign is achieved is with trust by the client first. The client must trust its agency and disclose information needed to research and provide the best media schedule options. They must also trust that the agency is going to protect the client and the client’s best interests by only disclosing what is needed to get optimum rates from the media.
This should be important to the client because media reps deal with all types of businesses including your competition. Their job is to get more media placed on their station [that is how they make their commissions]. Often times, information is leaked about your schedule, your marketing strategy, your campaign and marketing message before it was made public. Your competition then had an unfair advantage of knowing what your company was planning. Sales people do this to get another sale from your competition.
An agency puts themselves on the line for the client with the time invested in research, the cost invested in buying the services to research firms for industry and area data such as Nielson ratings or SQAD on the client’s behalf as well as the financial risk the agency takes when placing a buy for the client. A good agency will research terms, contracts and posting agreements and consult with their clients on what station groups provide if a media schedule runs incorrectly. No, it is not guaranteed that every station group or media will refund your monies if they mess up your schedule.
An agency’s job is to know about programming. You might not choose to have your company’s message run next to competitors or in a program about handguns or child abuse. Agencies will also check to make sure that the spot has aired in it’s entirety. Spots that cut off are dropped or the network feed loses its signal should all be considered make up spots. On line links that were not correctly programmed should be reimbursed but many times media will offer something in their best interest and not yours. An agency also tracks and schedules the traffic so your marketing message is accurate for that campaign. And a huge part of the agency’s job is to post the schedule to make sure it ran the way they scheduled it and if not, you should receive make goods at the same value as originally placed or get your money back.
With the consolidation of many media companies, negotiating and protecting a client is getting even more challenging. Media companies give “free” production or special offers to the client to make them think they are getting a value. These gimmicks work in many cases and the client gets a great vacation but a lousy radio schedule or a nice seat at a football game but an unsuccessful TV schedule.
Invest in the right media schedule, make more profits from the right schedule and you can buy your own tickets and vacations that are best for your family. By accepting these “free” offers or promotions and associating with the media in social settings, you are reducing the agency’s effectiveness because now the media know they can bribe the client and they know the client’s weakness. The rep also now knows he can circumvent the media buyer and go directly to the client. This is very bad for the client since they want the best deal and they want a professional firm to do the buying on their behalf. The agency’s “power” has been lessened so the client looses. They no longer have the ability to negotiate with strength, because the rep knows if he can’t get what he wants at the agency level, he can always go directly to the client. Client’s…. don’t be fooled by getting rates “direct”. You are buying off the media rate card that is based on supply and demand of that station and not on the number of eyes that are viewing that station or program. They could be sold out because of a huge off air promotion they are doing and you purchase the rates at a “discount” for that week only to be disappointed when the schedule doesn’t work. The viewers were just not there, even though the media sold out their inventory.
Please advertisers! Let the agency do the job you hired them to do! Turn it ALL over to the agency, and let them direct you in what should be bought. Media reps work for the media, agencies work for the client.
Let the media experts from the agency handle the advertising budget for best results!