Opinion: The Media Planner/Buyer Is Here to Stay

I read an article the other day claiming that the service of media planning is “up for grabs” in today’s advertising marketplace. The author’s premise was that the comprehensive media planning model must compete with a growing list of alternatives offered to clients who may not know how to differentiate between these options. Publishers and other media companies package media planning and buying into their capabilities and many digital agencies who build websites have started to help their clients promote them, too. Let’s not forget the big tech giants that have made self-service advertising appear far easier than it really is.

While all of the threats described in the aforementioned article are real, I wholeheartedly disagree that experienced media planners are at risk of being replaced. I’ve staked my business upon these services and our team continues to find success doing what we love and what we excel at.

It’s not uncommon to talk to a web designer who dabbles in paid search or a copywriter who offers to build out a rudimentary paid social campaign. Part of this cross-sectional capability stems from the big tech companies like Google and Facebook that have successfully convinced users they don’t need to hire a media expert to set up a paid campaign. The sheer number of how-to articles containing all the steps you need to take to get your brand launched into the paid media sphere using self-serve tools is staggering.

I believe people working in advertising today are smart to expand beyond their unique skill sets and become educated across multiple disciplines. Not only is it interesting to master new concepts, it’s absolutely necessary to assure better outcomes for our clients, especially those who are investing heavily in digital media which changes so rapidly. Even though our specialty is in paid media planning, we often evaluate campaign landing pages or websites to be sure they meet the latest search engine standards. We’ll edit paid social copy to be sure it adheres to a specific media platform’s content requirements. This added expertise makes us more valuable to our clients who depend on us to bring a higher level of knowledge and awareness to their media campaigns. 

Let’s look at what we’re doing here at Richardson Media Group that sets us apart from the rest. Here are four reasons why you should choose to work with an experienced planner/buyer:

  1. We know how media works. Experienced planners/buyers understand how different media vehicles deliver messaging to all types of target audiences. Whether it’s a search query that serves up a relevant ad, or a display ad that appears adjacent to contextually relevant content, the right ad placement happens thanks to a planner’s expertise.
  2. We leave the FOMO at the door. Experienced planners/buyers always start with a detailed intake session during which we ask questions about client goals and interpret the responses we hear in order to create a more thoughtful media plan. One thing you’ll never see us do around here is assume we need to purchase ads on a particular media platform, simply because everyone else is doing it.
  3. We tell a more accurate story. I hear lots of digital folks say they take a data-driven approach to media buying. Data is a popular buzzword that many media people latch onto because their clients have come to expect it. We’re data-driven too! I get skeptical when I find out these same self-proclaimed digital gurus are using Google Analytics to interpret their media campaign performance. Don’t get me wrong, GA is a wonderful tool that we use to gain insight into website traffic and onsite user behavior, but it doesn’t tell the whole story about how audiences are interacting and engaging with an ad campaign.
  4. We close the loop. To use another overused expression, we are accountable – to the media vendors we buy from, the clients we serve, as well as to our industry colleagues. Ask any media sales rep. who has called on us recently and they will tell you we may not always choose to recommend a particular media product, but we’ll always give their pitches our time and consideration. That level of thoroughness sets us apart and makes us a more valuable contributor to this profession. It also gives our clients a sense of confidence that they can leave the entire process to us and expect to receive an informed recommendation in return.

Working as a media planner/buyer means devoting the extra time to stay ahead of the knowledge curve, digging into the individual nuances of each campaign and optimizing as we go, reporting accurate and relevant data, and learning from what’s gone well in past campaigns to make our future campaigns even better. We do all of these things because experience has shown us it’s the most reliable way to deliver effective outcomes. At the end of the day, I’m confident you won’t get that level of service anywhere else.

Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management, and SEO.


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Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.

In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts and hosts our BSuite podcast. Favorite topics for both platforms include the entrepreneurial journey, sustainability + social responsibility, media planning, media buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.