How Does Media Buying Work

Exeperienced Media Buyer

Experienced Media Buyers

Great products and services can only become “commercially great” if consumers know about them and in the end what businesses really need are products that are Commercially successful.
Commercially unsuccessful products can still be great in other ways, for example “Technically great”  and produce Kudos for the creator but that generally won’t lead to commercial success in the long-term and even businesses that do survive with a commercially unsuccessful but “great” product will discover that they sort of did things the hard way.

Communication really is the key to Successful Marketing

It’s often said that customer centric approach must be the starting point to a marketing strategy and it’s true!

However it’s amazing how often businesses fail at doing this, and they fail at an early stage too making their marketing strategy weak and inefficient.

Metaphorically speaking, ( please excuse this terrible military metaphor I watched a movie about the Crusades recently!)  you could say that they wanted to walk through a landscape right through the heart of different communities, to attract interest with information and messages, using sales experts to converse and engage them further on their specific concerns and conquer territory, but instead they march into the desert carrying banners and messages that are only partly relevant to the prospect group or perhaps relevant to different customer groups, not clearly visible, incomplete leaving unanswered questions and doubt. Their aim was to convert the population but instead all they left was some confusion, new objections, perhaps irritation they have strengthened the arch enemy “Procrastination” leaving a fertile landscape waiting for a competitor who can do a better job.


The customer centric approach must truly be taken to heart, start from a blank sheet of paper, identify and segment customer groups, enter into the mindset of each customer and truly aim to speak to that customer on a deep level, never just pay lip service to customer focus, if you do so you do so in peril, in my experience everytime this will lead to a degree of marketing failure at some level – at a minimum marketing will be inefficient, often ROI will be badly affected and in some cases the marketing strategy can be a total failure and perhaps damaging to the business and product itself.

“Without a customer centric foundation marketing campaigns leave products like a kite dancing in a hurricane”

Do not make the mistake of thinking that a customer centric approach precludes educating the prospect, far from it – customer education is an extremely effective technique to move prospects deeper into a sales funnel, they want information but it must be authoritative and perceived as impeccably reliable.

So what is required is accuracy and incisive targeting of customers with prospect segmentation and customized, targeted messages that speak to that customer.

The distillation of this strategic planning is customized advertising for prospect groups, truly awesome adverts achieve their status by achieving strategic objectives – placing the right advert in front of the right audience is the holy grail that you must aim for every time.


Your advert needs to be seen, not by just anyone but by your target audience and that is the reason that effective media buying is so critical,

Selling becomes a whole lot easier once you are speaking to the right people to sell to

In this article we will take you through the major considerations involved in media buying and share some tips on how to do it the right way.

What is Media Buying?

Introductory advertisement for CBS Eye logo. Fortune magazine De

“Earned” or “owned” media is in many ways harder to use or generate and very often has a lower efficiency than “paid” media.

Using paid media allows the client real freedom, they can be nimble and choose audiences as their needs dictate, switching from one audience to another, using A/B testing, reach new prospects every week this results in a reasonable expectation of higher and higher ROI, while being unencumbered with the huge demands of maintaining their own media source or earning new ones.
Paid media is the ultimate shortcut and using smart media buying techniques will produce reliable profit.


Media Buying Definition
Media buying is the acquisition of media real estate with the objective of securing the best spaces and timeslots. Purchasable media includes many formats traditionally from newspaper ads,  prime time TV slots and increasingly to online banner ads, influencer marketing, product placement, sponsorships too mention just a few.

The Three Major Aspects of the Media Buying Process:

  • Media Networking and Relationships: 
  • Media purchasers must develop and nurture media relationships with media channel owners.
  • Airtime and all media is limited and in order to get the best spaces, you need to know the right people and have great relationships.
  • Marketing Analysis:
  • Strategy is built on a foundation of analysis, beliefs, thought and planned action.
    The better each component is executed the better the end result, failure in any single component will result in overall failure – it’s as simple as that.
  • The more you practice and the more you strengthen your processes around marketing strategy execution the better you get at it – experience really does count and that’s why mentorship is so important in strategic marketing.
  • A media buyer has their finger on the pulse and will find the optimal media assets for communicating your message..
  •  Negotiation:
  • Try to get a price that works from Fox News! You will quickly see how a good media buyer with relationships can save their fees several times over in a single month just for one placement, never mind the value that they add in identifying the right media asset precisely.
  • As media buyer will be able to negotiate fair prices for the media and also negotiate clauses,  extra bonuses and find deals that add even more value to clients.

Selecting Media Assets

The key issue for media buying is selecting when and where advertising appears while balancing that decision against cost, efficiency in media buying is a core concept.

With sufficient budget network television adverts might be a viable option. The media buyer must identify the target demographic, select a channel and time slot that is used by the target audience and make a convincing proposal and justification document for the client to achieve sign-off.

Small businesses and Local businesses will usually find investing in local newspapers, magazines, and television stations produces a far higher return on investment..

Once the ideal media channel is selected, the media buyer contacts the media owner to confirm availability, gather extra information and all being well will commence negotiation to secure the best possible price for the client.

In terms of workload the process itself can be variable, a totally inexperienced media buyer will find each stage a great deal of work but a shortfall of relationships and a lack of negotiating power will mean that the first and third stages will have many “dead-ends” and that means that they will do that work over and over until they find a satisfactory solution, and the final solution they arrive at will almost certainly not be as good as a experienced media buyer can secure – as I said at the outset “in media buying experience really pays off”

Use and experienced marketing agency that already has an established media network and excellent media industry relationships.

When your budget is very limited you can consider doing some of your own research, no experienced media buyer will recommend that they don’t do any research however and neither do I – trust me when I say that is a gamble that is unlikely to pay off.

Finally do nurture your own relationships with both media buyers and media owners if you have the opportunity – it really is an old school industry in some senses and relationships are critical to success.

I wish you all the success in your marketing adventures, please contact me with any questions or to discuss your projects.

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