The marketing and advertising industry has changed more in the past few years than it has in the past fifty, according to an Adobe poll. With the overall media landscape changing faster than a chameleon changes color, it is imperative that the team in charge of your media buying is able to adapt quickly and deliver your message to the correct audience, in the right place, at the appropriate time and at the lowest price. If you’re not convinced your media manager accomplishes all of these goals, it’s time to have a look at other media service providers. We’ve put together what we believe are the top 4 things to ask yourself when evaluating a media agency.
Is my media team media agnostic?
Does your media agency only believe in digital? Or do they beat the TV drum and say, “TV is a must buy!” Or even worse, make comments like, “Print media is dead.” Consider this: several media agencies are set up to super serve a specific medium. Nowadays, with all the online and offline media options available, you need to find a media manager who will provide strategy and recommendations across all media channels in an unbiased and unselfish way. The best media planners find what’s right for you and your budget. This is probably one of the largest advantages of working with a media team who’s agnostic. They’ll consider all media choices and won’t favor any particular medium. When looking for a media agency, find one who believes in ALL media channels and who can offer you insights and examples of work they’ve done in those media.
Does my media team get me the lowest prices?
This seems like a no-brainer right? As a client, you expect your media buying agency to get the lowest pricing and spend each dollar as if it were their own. Well unfortunately, this is not always the case, and frankly, it’s only part of the entire equation. Yes, you do want a media team that negotiates well on your behalf, but much like your lawyer or investment counselor, what you really desire is a good outcome, a.k.a., a great return on your investment. The lowest unit rate, no matter what medium you’re buying, isn’t the only factor. Ask your current media team what tools they use to invest your money and achieve the best possible ROI. Ask how their media buyers communicate with each other and if each buyer can see the others’ rates and historical pricing, because having this data available in real-time allows your buyer to leverage current info into better investment decisions for you. Consider this: in most media agencies, media pricing and history is siloed in each media department or by account. Not a great way to operate in today’s landscape.
Does my media team fit within our culture?
You might glance over this point and think to yourself, “Yes, of course my media buying agency knows my product or service and has plenty of experience managing media in my business category.” Well that’s great – but do they know and fully understand your business at its core? Can they work within the framework and timelines you do? Do they strive to meet the benchmarks you’re being evaluated on? Are they educating you with new media and insights? Do they actively collaborate with you to meet your goals or does it seem they just deliver the same old tired solutions and never test new media? If you don’t have your media manager on speed dial (or at least in your “favorites”) and you still think of your media team as a vendor – it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.
Does my media team hold themselves accountable?
The Adobe survey revealed that marketers’ greatest concern was that they were reaching their customers. When evaluating a media agency, accountability is perhaps the most important criteria of all. Our media team holds ourselves and our media vendors accountable. We ensure media schedules are delivered properly and that KPI’s are measured and improved throughout a campaign. That could be in the form of a creative change or perhaps reallocating a portion of the buy. If a media buy we recommended doesn’t perform up to par, we do whatever is necessary to make it right. Make sure your media buyer isn’t just plugging you into a “set-it-and-forget-it” type buy and that they are actively managing, optimizing and delivering the best results possible.
Communicating accountability should not be difficult! It’s no different than getting an investment statement from your bank or stock advisor. What forms of reporting do you get from your media manager? Do you get daily or weekly updates and insights? Do they have a client dashboard for you to sign into at 2AM when you can’t sleep so you can see how your campaign is performing?
If your media buyer is excelling in the points above you’ll be in good shape to face the never-ending evolution of marketing and advertising. The role of your media manager is not set in stone and it will remain dynamic for the foreseeable future. If that thought makes you uncomfortable just remember, “To change is to improve – to change often is to perfect (Winston Churchill).” We’re proud to be part of a team who’s constantly changing, and perfecting our craft.