An agency silo between the planning and buying teams is costing mid-market companies money, exposure or both.
There is an art that has been lost in the negotiation and buying process of most media agencies. While it has benefitted the agency, it has done a great disservice to the client, especially for mid-market size companies. The common process these days is for the advertising industry to separate its media planning and buying departments. Many agencies believe that separating these departments offers a more streamlined process and ultimately can create a faster more efficient workflow. Good for their bottom line but not necessarily good for their clients.
This is basically how it works. The planning team meets with the client in person or over the phone and discusses the client’s specific objectives. Who the target is, the campaign timing, what mediums to utilize, and what the overall budget will be. Then they develop a media buying plan based on the information they have gathered. Typically, a planner’s main objective revolves around GRPs to best reach the target audience while staying within the budget. GRPs are important but certainly should not be the only credential used.
The plan is then passed to the media buyers who are responsible for purchasing the specific plan as outlined by the planner. Since the buyer has no direct contact with the client, they normally follow the plan presented verbatim. As a result, the buyers who see and secure all the pricing and can see the entire lay of the market being purchased can do little to alter the plan for efficiency or savings. Instead their buying must follow the planner’s instructions even though the planners may have no idea of the cost of one medium to another or even the difference between the cost of two competing companies in the same medium.
This internal office disconnect can be a crucial misstep for a mid-market company that needs to ensure they are investigating every opportunity and receiving the best campaign for their investment. This cannot happen if the planner doesn’t have any control over the media negotiations and if the buyer doesn’t have any direct contact with the client to make other recommendations based on their findings.
When a planner and buyer work together, or if the planner is also a buyer, the outcome for a regional company with a mid-sized budget can be better optimized. The entire purpose of working with a media agency is to ensure that a media investment is spent wisely. Hidden opportunities that can increase visibility and capitalize on a campaign’s budget are more easily found and can be utilized when there is a unified team.