The media industry can feel like a pretty intimidating place. Lots of big brands hiring big agencies, global media conglomerates under scrutiny for questionable business practices and an expanding media landscape with infinite opportunities to evaluate.
However, hiring the right media agency can provide brands, even the smallest ones, with huge benefits and ultimately improve profits.
You don’t need to be spending £1m on media to hire a media agency – you will see the benefits from budgets as small as £100,000 or even less. Of course, many clients start off buying media direct and many continue to do so, bringing in ex-agency staff to run their marketing co-ordination.
But for most clients, this is too costly, and deep pockets are required to subscribe to the research tools (which can cost in excess of £50,000 per year at the very basic level) which agencies use to understand who the client’s target audience are, how they consume media and the relative performance of various media options.
A large media agency can offer a broad range of expertise with access to strategists, insight/data teams, investment specialists, digital gurus, response buffs and the list goes on. As a smaller spending client, however, you may well end up a small fish in a big pond and be allocated a junior account exec to handle your business.
Smaller, independent agencies can be a very good alternative for the smaller spending client. Quite often these agencies consist of (ex-big agency) media directors who are committed to delivering media campaigns that will work and will deliver on the bottom line.
Your business will be important to them and they will offer expertise and experience which would be inaccessible at a big agency.
If you think that costs are prohibitive, think again. Media agencies get paid agency commission by media owners and therefore hiring a media agency is possible without any additional cost.
If you do want to go it alone, then here are some top tips:
- Write a marketing/media strategy and set KPIs
- Use your customer data and collateral – they’re your most powerful asset
- Ensure you fully understand your target audience and their consumption of media
- Put together a media schedule considering key factors: timing, formats, flighting, etc
- When faced with an opportunity from a media owner, refer back to your strategy and audience – is it a good fit?
- When buying your campaign, look to extrapolate as much value as possible, considering all opportunities (i.e. subscription lists, events, PR introductions, etc.)
- Measure your campaign, analyse your results and continually refine your schedule to optimise performance
However, given that a media agency should be able to deliver all of the above at no cost to you, I’m pretty sure this is an attractive alternative to the stretched small business owner.