The TV commercials that popped up in the middle of a TV soap opera or the advertisement on the hoarding around the corner, or the pretty girl in the lipstick ad that greets in the morning are determined by the modern day media planner who determines which advertisement you see and where you see it as well. Were you also taken in by the guerilla marketing campaigns of Saawariya and Om shanti Om? While it may appear to be an ad world each advertisement you see is the result of a well planned strategy.
Role of a media Planner: The role of a media planner starts the moment the creative development of an advertisement is complete. The media planning department is responsible for the planning, scheduling booking of ads and purchasing space and time in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV outdoor hoardings, etc. The basic aim of a media planner is to assist the client in achieving his business objectives through advertising by recommending the best media platforms available to advertisers. The media planning department must therefore devise the most effective strategy to bring a campaign message to the target audience within a given budget.
After an initial media plan is drawn up in accordance with the needs of the client the target audience and the advertising budget, media planners make decisions regarding the different media where the ads should ideally feature in order to ensure maximum visibility. For instance, a lipstick will specifically be advertised in a women’s magazine and in primetime slots on TV channels that air soap operas and other such media. Another important part of the media planning department is media buying. A media buyer has to negotiate to buy space in print or time on electronic media at the best rates. In order to do this, it is extremely crucial that a media planner understands the buying and selling trends within the media industry.
What it takes to be a media Planner: Understanding the market environment is of vital importance for a media planner. Though, someone with an MBA in marketing will be a preferred option, the nature of this field is such that most skills necessary for this profile are acquired on the job making your educational background insignificant reveals brand strategist. The entry level positions assistant media planner or assistant media buyer generally requires a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major in marketing or advertising. A background in either communication or media is also helpful.
Experienced applicants who posses at least a master’s degree usually fill research positions.. Often, the people in these positions have a background in marketing or statistics and years of experience. Most advertising agencies have their own media planning departments in place to handle their clients. Initiative Worldwide, Carat, Zenoith Optimedia, Starcom, Mindshare and OMD are some of the global standalone media planning agencies.
Skill Sets: A media planner must have a thorough understanding of the client’s products the target audience for those products and their buying patterns, along with knowledge of every media vehicle. It is imperative that a media planner be aware of the prevalent market condition and be equipped with the knowledge to predict future trends. The ability to plan and work within a specified budget, good analytical skills, an aptitude for handling large numbers and negotiating rates with media sellers and the clients are other required skill sets.
Scope of a career in Media planning: With an increasing number of foreign products intent on making a debut in India, the future looks bright for those considering media planning as a career option. At this stage, it is important to understand where the market is headed. The role of the modern media planner is expanding. Today, a media planner also performs the role of a communication planner, brand planner or strategist. This reflects a shift from traditional media planning to a more holistic approach with the planner now having to consider, amongst other things, PR, below the line channels, in-sore , digital media, product placement and other emerging communications channels. If you have an understanding of the market and the consumer and are willing to put in long hours, which are necessary for media planning, you could find yourself carving a successful career in this much coveted field.