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What Skills Does a Successful Media Buyer Need?

Jonathan Rolley
Jonathan Rolley Posted on Nov 18, 2015, 5:30:00 AM

Media buyers are masters of changing many hats in order to get the job done. From the complexities of understanding the media buying market to having the soft skills to negotiate with others, there’s a wide gamut of traits that media buyers need to develop in order to be successful.

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What do media buyers do?

Television media buyers plan, negotiate, buy and optimise media schedules. It looks incredibly simple when it’s written out like that, but TV buying is an intricate business, and one that's only getting more detailed as technology for advertising, media and data analytics grows more complex. The process is also refined by the platform or combination of networks that is being used.

In addition to managing TV advertising media buys and schedules, buyers also keep a keen eye on the market so that they can make further recommendations for new media opportunities. Based on feedback from clients, data analytics and negotiations with outlets, they’ll need to continually adjust their approach to get better results for clients. Not all TV buyers are equal; having a team of knowledgeable and passionate buyers in your advertising agency or on your account can be the difference between success and failure.

Doing this job successfully requires a variety of different key skills. Here’s a quick list to look for in a successful TV media buyer that can help any company to leverage their marketing investment for specific business actions:

An effective media buyer has:

Strong negotiating skills – Ensuring the client is accessing the lowest rates is absolutely key, along with high response rate placement. Media buyers need to negotiate with networks and providers to seek out the right combination of exposure, placement and price per TV spot for response delivery.

Strategic thinking capabilities – The advertising landscape is in a constant state of flux and plans need to change to meet them. Your media buyer can’t use the same plans they relied on five – or even two – years ago. Responding to the rapidly changing climate and developing a new strategic plan is essential for any TV advertising buyer. Look for a track record of their ability to adapt to new situations.

Effective research skills to discover what will work for target consumers – Each DRTV campaign has a unique set of consumers with specific needs. From a certain time of day, ad length and overall marketing message, a TV advertising buyer needs to be able to understand what works for target consumers and craft campaigns that efficiently reach those audiences.

A skill for analysis and optimisation – After results come in from campaigns, buyers should have the tools and know-how to analyse those results in order to make more strategic decisions in the future. The process of analysing is continuous so it’s something that an excellent media buyer will be well versed in. It empowers them to understand what’s really going on through the course of a campaign and to know how to make improvements in the future.

Strong relations with media outlets –  Television buyers act as the go-between for clients and media outlets that have the space and time to share. Understanding client needs and who they are trying to reach is important, but buyers also need to understand and have connections with media outlets. A television advertising buyer who has taken the time to develop these relationships in order to take advantage of reduced rates, special programming, seasonality, new shows, cross-channel promotions, additional bonuses and other opportunities is a valuable addition to any marketing team.

A mindset geared toward testing – Perpetually testing is the only way to ensure that a campaign is in a constant state of evolution and adaptation. Successful television advertising buyers not only understand that testing is part of the process, but they also look for opportunities to test and refine their processes throughout the course of a campaign. This is one of the keys to marketing success.

An ongoing strategic planning process – Although every television advertising campaign is different, there are trends within each successful one. Experienced television advertising buyers use reliable processes that they can use again and again to get consistent results. These processes are used throughout the life of a campaign so that the strategies can be refined for better results.

Effective TV advertising buyers don’t learn these skills overnight – but over years of experience in the field. TV advertising buyers that deliver the best results know the market inside and out and have the strategic acumen to make smart decisions on behalf of their clients.



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Jonathan Rolley
This post was Written by Jonathan Rolley

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