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Experience, Expertise and Infrastructure: Avoiding hidden costs for maximum value from your media budget.

by: Emilie Kassa

More and more companies are making in-house media buying part of their marketing business model. The initial cost savings are alluring, but cost is much more than staff, software and hardware. The spectrum of agency experience is vast and based on breadth of experience, knowledge and approach. Presuming an in-house infrastructure is 90% as effective as a professional media buying agency, you will lose $100,000 on every million you spend. If you’re accountable for the value of your total media budget, here are a few things to consider before you make the switch.

Media buying agencies are staffed with employees who have relevant experience and expertise in multiple brands and industries. They know what works, what doesn’t and aren’t afraid to try something new. Their broad experience allows them to be able to suggest successful tactics to use for your campaign. Agency media buyers take pride in cultivating exceptional relationships with their vendors. A good vendor relationship ensures that the client gets the best value for their dollar. Media buyers make it their business to find out all the details of the market, like competitors, political activity and geographical issues. All those factors are taken into account when we create a media plan for your product or service.

Our efficiency in negotiation and fast turnaround is also of great value. We can put multiple buyers on a task when quick turnaround is required and have people available to maintain the effort should a buyer leave the brand. Buyers are adept at managing budgets and producing quality work on a deadline while still employing media buying best practices. At Nonbox Media, we have the unique experience of placing tens of millions of dollars for political campaigns. We know the inventory pressure that occurs during a political season and can recommend alternate strategies that will maximize your exposure when inventory tightens up and becomes more expensive. Plus, buying agencies also have the advantage of employees who won’t become complacent in their position. Quality of work won’t suffer due to lack of experience, a stale perspective of the market or a routine work load.

There is a host of extra infrastructure costs that the media buying agency covers to help you meet your business goals. Agencies subscribe to Nielsen and ComScore media research data as well as several other research outlets. This data can be purchased by in-house media buying departments, but it will have a significant cost that a media buying agency would already have absorbed. Research is key in maximizing the ROI of your media buy, allowing you to target your message to high value consumers.

Once your buy is planned and purchased, more work happens behind the scenes. The agency traffic department is responsible for writing and sending traffic instructions and the ad, then confirming the spot has been received to air. After the buy has concluded, the media buyers will review the schedule to confirm that the buy delivered the results the media outlet promised. And finally, the media buying agency performs an invoice reconciliation and individual invoice payment to the media outlet on a monthly basis.

As Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of the 4A’s, discussed in a recent podcast, companies need to focus on the long-term concept of the value the media buying agency brings instead of just focusing on the short-term cost (e.g. cost for service, yearly commission). When you consider the extra experience, expertise and infrastructure that a media buying agency brings to the table, you can easily see how a media buying agency is often the best value for your marketing budget.

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