Advertising Investments

Media spending is the largest single expenditure for most marketers. But not all advertising investments are effective. Ad content aside, marketers may spend thousands on a campaign that reaches the wrong people. Or worse yet, they may pay a premium price for mediocre media exposure. Ultimately, to reach the right audience and get the most response, you need to invest your advertising dollars wisely.

Wise media investment means knowing what outlets are available, what spots on each one should cost, and how to plan the right mix of outlets appropriate for the particular product or service. But when you're busy managing your business or running your department, you may not have the time or experience to make well-planned and -researched advertising investments. For this reason, you shouldn't attempt media planning alone if you can possibly avoid it. The most successful marketers seek the advice of seasoned media advisors to ensure the ongoing success of their advertising campaigns.

Consider the following four ways an experienced media buyer can help increase the effectiveness of your advertising:


With all the media options available today, you need to work with someone who knows how to put together a plan that maximizes results. When you do it on your own, you may not be able to figure out what will work best for you, and you will probably end up paying too much. Good media buyers have access to information that allows them to secure the best rates and the optimal level of media clearance. Keep in mind that media buyers usually have a long list of clients, so they may also buy time for companies in the same industry in other markets. This is great news for you, because they can then apply what's working in other markets when buying in yours.

Because of their buying power and leverage, media buyers have access to lower advertising rates. For example, television stations usually have inventory left over at various time slots. While you probably won't have access to this space on your own, your media buyer will.


A good media buyer or planner can help sort through the various media options available to you and determine the right media mix to achieve your goals. Media is always changing and a media buyer can help you adapt to the changes. For example, many of the biggest national advertisers have found that broadcast television is too expensive, so they've put more of their money into cable advertising. This has pushed up some of the cable advertising rates, so some mediasavvy people have moved their money to satellite advertising. With 25 million people watching satellite television, that market obviously deserves some consideration.

Also, the Internet has recently become a larger component of media buys. Some of the largest advertisers are now putting more substantial investments into the Internet, where a few years ago people hesitated to invest in online advertising. A good media buyer will know the details of all these options and can help you make the right advertising choices.


An unbiased media expert will help you avoid some common mistakes marketers make, such as buying time directly from stations or cable operators. For example, many marketers purchase spots on local cable channels. But limiting your campaign to these local outlets rarely works because you reach such a small audience.

Another common mistake is purchasing time on only one station in your market. A television advertising sales representative may come to you with what seems like a good deal, but putting your entire budget on only one station is not always a good idea. A television campaign needs to air on several stations to effectively reach your audience. This type of sales representative is rarely looking out for your best interests. They are more likely just trying to maximize their own commission.


Another important aspect is measuring and analyzing media performance. Your advertising is only as good as the value of the leads or sales it generates, and measuring cost per lead or cost per order as a barometer of the media effectiveness is essential.

Direct-response media buying is the most-measurable form of advertising because it allows you to determine what types of media are performing best for you. You can measure performance by utilizing separate 800 numbers for each station, network or form of media to track the results. However, some marketers prefer to use easily remembered numbers instead of a regular 800 numbers, for example 1-800CALL NOW.


Once you've decided that a media buying firm can make a positive impact on your advertising campaign, you can use the following tips to find the right one for your business.

First, look at its track record or some case studies from its existing clients. Has it worked with companies in an industry similar to yours.

Was it successful?

Next, consider buying-volume and leverage. A company with a larger buying power will know more about what works and what doesn't for a broader range of businesses. Also, look for a creative buyer who will seek out different opportunities when things don't work and who will be able to breathe new life into a slowing campaign.

Finally, consider what type of research tools are used to identify target audiences and to decide which networks and stations ads may run on. An expert media buyer will be able to help you figure out what medium will work best with your product.


In today's competitive environment, understanding how to effectively market your company is more important than ever. By forming an alliance with a seasoned media advisor, you'll get more for your advertising money, avoid the common mistakes that marketers make when they try to purchase ad space on their own, and enhance your chances of tapping into the best media options available. Use this information to find the right media buyer for your business, and you can maximize the return on all your advertising investments.

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