What is the day in the life of an online media planner/buyer they really like? I’ve been asked this question from time to time when interviewing prospective employees and my usual the answer has been,
“There is no routine. Things change from day to day and it totally depends on where in the planning cycle you are.”
I just came to a realization that this is not true anymore.
The day of an
online media planner is one that could easily be turned into a reality TV show, much like The Osbournes or The Anna Nicole Show. Maybe not all of the media planners in today’s market are
quite as colorful as these characters, but I think that everyone would learn a lot from stepping into the shoes of an online media buyer.
The issues that online media planners and buyers face have
become surprisingly redundant on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, these problems are typical of what is going on in our industry.
Here are some highlights of the episodes that one could expect
to see if they tuned into “The Online Media Show:”
Trafficking, trafficking and more trafficking: With the abundance of ad-servers in the marketplace, online media professionals need to
be well versed in multiple interfaces. Watch as ”Ozzy” bangs his head against a wall while re-trafficking creative to half the sites on the buy because the publisher changed the size of the ad
units in the unannounced redesign of their homepage last week. Then he bites off the top of an insertion order. Under-delivery: Most sites still have trouble sticking to a number. Whether
they under-deliver or over-deliver, it never seems that they get it right. Watch as “Anna” relates the story about how her “Uncle Vito” kept having the same problem with the olive oil in
his lasagna recipe. Too much, too little, never enough… never quite right. All this while running around in a thong. Credit Checks: Too many companies froze up two years ago, so now
everyone wants a credit report. The “Free Credit Report” ads you see online are clicked by the accounting departments of the online publishers more often than any other target audience. Watch as
“Jenni” goes on a rampage at Walmart when they refuse to accept her credit card for purchase, saying she didn’t pass the credit check due to an accounting error from when she worked at “Ad
Agency A.”Terms and Conditions: Watch as “Justin” goes back and forth with the publishers as both sides try to make changes to the “industry standard” terms and conditions that
were adopted more than a year ago yet no one seems to accept. Eventually Justin breaks down, sings his rendition of the Nancy Sinatra classic, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” and pulls the campaign
from two publishers who won’t accept the T&C’s. This after he faxed over an Insertion Order, the publisher signed it and faxed it back, and requested he re-sign and fax it back to the publisher and
follow it up with a hardcopy signature to be digitally saved as a PDF and re-signed by the agency. Mystery Sales Reps and Re-Orgs: Watch as “Tammy” the online sales rep tries to
survive the company re-org while “Hunter” works desperately to find out who is covering his business since his last four sales reps were voted off the island by the Senior Management council.
A lot of my articles deal with the issues that face online media professionals and my ideas on how we can try to simplify what we do and make our jobs more efficient. If the process is streamlined,
then we can focus on the bigger issues of how to service clients and develop winning strategies online.
Online media can be a very frustrating business as we tend to become mired in the smaller,
redundant issues without trying to view the bigger picture. I can name at least a dozen very well known Senior Media People in New York and San Francisco who have recently become disgruntled with
things and taken a break. Personally, I wish they were still around; trying to push for change, but it’s easy to see why they have temporarily left. Many of these people have been trying for years to
get things done – pushing for standards, bringing clients online - and it seems like the same old issues are still being addressed. It can be a sisyphysian task sometimes, and somewhat comical at
others. Somehow though, we need to work together to get this industry moving.
This is an un-paralleled opportunity, let’s not waste it. Let’s not waste our time on a low-budget, rushed-to-market
reality TV shows when we can write the Oscar-winning script for the future of advertising.