Media planning is broadly to find solutions for:
Reach: Which media would carry the message to the biggest chunk of the target audience
Frequency: How many times should the ad appear for the desired consumer response
Impact: How effectively can a message be conveyed for generating interest in a product
Continuity: For what period should the media presence remain for generating awareness
What do they do?
Media planners are the backbone of an advertising agency. They ensure that a client’s marketing communication reaches its target audience at the least possible expenditure.
An ineffective media plan will take the wind out of even the most creative advertisements. “Media planners combine creative thinking with factual analysis to develop appropriate strategies,” says Gaurav Dikshit, media controller, media direction, RK Swamy BBDO. “They apply knowledge of the media and communication platforms to identify the most appropriate vehicle for building awareness. They work with the press, television, radio and new media, in particular the Internet, as well as more unusual platforms (cell phone, viral e-mail etc).”
“The role of a media planner is very important (in a campaign), as he has to decide on the media mix and, thereby, is responsible for the distribution of budget,” adds Dikshit, 28, who joined Group M Team LG as a media intern in 2004, at a pay of Rs 10,000 per month. Today, he earns about Rs 70,000 per month.
With the proliferation of media vehicles, the scope of a media planner’s work has greatly expanded. “In today’s scenario, a media planner is also a brand planner, one who works closely with the brand manager,” points out Dikshit. “His role includes analysing target audiences, reading market trends and understanding the motivation of consumers,” he adds.
However, good media planners are hard to come by in India. “That’s because no university/college offers a specialised course in media planning and this is the most non-glamorous part of advertising,” says Eeshita Ghosh, business director, MediaCom.
Moreover, many planners have moved into other, related fields, thereby creating a constant gap in supply, says Hemant Choudhhry, strategy and media planning head, Brand Serve. Inadequate training adds to the lack of able manpower. “There are few planners and a lot of work, so there is little time for training the existing planners, resulting in less exposure to evolving technologies,” points out Choudhhry.
But for a good planner, the employment pasture is big — s/he can work in a marketing company as communication consultant, liaising with media agencies, or join a TV channel, planning campaigns for programmes aired on that channel, says Shan Jain, vice-president, media direction, specialist media services group, RK Swamy BBDO.
Tight deadlines, long hours and the constant fight for better return on investment (ROI) are some of the challenges facing the profession. “Lack of research for outdoor/online/mobile advertising make it difficult to measure the ROI,” says Choudhhry. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly complex to figure out the right media mix, given the growing number of media options, he says. However, it is this ever-expanding media scene in India that makes a planner’s profession so dynamic and thriving.
Source: HT Horizons
. Ability to analyse data. A sense of numbers and a sense of cost and cost-efficiency
. Ability to write reports and presentations
. Strong organisational skills
. Strong interpersonal, negotiation and communication skills, for liaising with
colleagues, clients and media owners
. The ability to work with information technology resources such as databases and
spreadsheets, for the collection and management of information
. A good understanding of media types and a skill set for innovative thinking
How do I get there?
To enter the field of advertising and media planning you will have to do a course in advertising and then specialise in media planning.
You could also take another route, by doing MBA and specialising in marketing. A course in economics, mathematics or statistics is often helpful. This lets a person delve into demographic and psychographic reports and to analyse data. Since a contemporary media planner has to work with electronic media models, relevant knowledge of these is essential