Media Strategy is the Forerunner to Effective Execution

By Michael D. Drexler

Years ago, independent media buying organizations emerged as an alternative to the full service agencies employed by advertisers. The idea made sense because these companies could devote all of their staff and resources to media with a singular focus on improving the efficiency of their client's investments.

But the concept of creating a media-only buying organization was flawed simply because they took no real interest in the relationship between media planning and buying. In fact, some of these companies were adversaries of those who performed the media planning function. They believed that tactics were far more important than strategy and only the ability to negotiate the lowest possible media rates were all that mattered to marketer's bottom line results.

The proposition that "we can buy it cheaper" was not only misguided but misrepresented and it soon became evident to advertisers that cheaper buying was not necessarily more effective buying. Furthermore, most organizations that handled both planning and buying not only could buy as well but also provide strategic insights into the overall media process that produced a significantly greater competitive advantage. And advertisers benefited from effective collaboration between planning and buying.



A few of these companies understood that media planning was really an integral part of the marketing and creative process and eventually, several other independent media buying companies changed their business model to establish a media planning capability as well. Today, as we look at the media landscape, we see not only the need for offline and online media integration, but buying and selling collaboration as well.

In our highly fragmented media world, customers are harder to reach than ever before. With greater mobility and points of contact, all available communication channels must be evaluated on a media neutral basis. The tools and resources necessary to demonstrate the correct balance between offline and online integration are an essential part of the media agency's ability to deliver an optimum solution.

In order to accomplish this, the media agency of the 21st Century must not only understand the lessons learned from traditional media usage, but even more important, how all media are adapting to new technologies that will forever change their relationship with consumers. Audiences to virtually every medium are demanding more in exchange for their time and their expectations are higher than ever simply because they have many more options to choose from. The media that deliver what they want, when they want it, will ultimately win out. Everything else will be an extraneous, casual relationship at best.

With the Internet now joining other mainstream media the characteristics of its audience behavior is also beginning to change. Less reaction to banners, more attention to new forms of rich media and multitasking. We see the emerging use of mo

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