For the most part, advertising, marketing and promotional activities are dependent on the availability of suitable platforms to reach the right target audience. Print, radio, television, film and the internet are the critical media platforms through which products and services are publicised and sold. These various different types of media are the main stomping ground for media buyers.
Essentially, media buyers do exactly what it says on the tin: they buy media space. They keep an eye on the media, assess the efficacy of certain platforms and media channels and then make the important decisions about where advertising campaigns are actually going to be unleashed upon the world.
Yep, that’s right – the media buyer is the key element in ensuring that advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns are exposed to the right target audience in the most effective place possible, thereby gaining recognition and new customers for the product or service in question.
Most of these guys are employed by integrated media agencies. However, some large companies or organisations with in-house advertising/marketing departments will also be looking to employ them.
Media buyers tend to work alongside media planners when executing media-based promotional strategies for their clients. Working together, they are a force to be reckoned with! Their symbiotic relationship is so important that quite often some people are even employed to take on both roles at once!
Media buyers conduct extensive research and identify the right target demographic for specific campaigns. They then work with media planners to devise media buying strategies which will achieve the right level of coverage.
In order to stay on the ball, media buyers need to keep their eye on the key performance indicators of ad campaigns. For instance, they might assess and evaluate data that relates to the circulation and distribution of certain media channels. Furthermore, they might use web analytics tools to monitor digital campaigns.
If you stumbled across the natural habitat of a media buyer, you would find them networking like nobody’s business and establishing relationships with media sales agencies and potential clients. They would then be reviewing the success of certain campaigns and negotiating with media sales agencies in order to make vital adjustments and changes.
Media buyers also need to be savvy with money, as they will be entrusted with a budget, which must be spent wisely. They will be attending meetings with their clients, giving presentations and reporting back to them on the results of their various campaigns. They’ve got to get it right! After all, a client won’t be too impressed if someone has been advertising their new, expensive, diamond-encrusted watch in Farmers Weekly.
Salary & benefits
For new media buyers undertaking their first job, salary levels vary between £18,000 and £25,000. More experienced buyers can earn between £25,000 and £35,000, and senior media buying professionals with more than ten years’ experience can earn between £35,000 and £55,000.
Media buyers tend to work primarily in an office environment, since a substantial part of their job can be managed through telephone and online communications. You might, however, be required to visit major clients and media sales agencies from time to time.
Working hours are also pretty standard, except during campaign launches when you might be working late to meet impending deadlines. Furthermore, a large portion of a media buyer’s job involves networking with clients, business partners and other industry professionals after regular office hours.
Degrees, diplomas or other vocational qualifications in media-related or business disciplines are generally preferred, though candidates from other streams can also apply for media buying jobs.
A degree or vocational qualification is by no means essential though. If you’ve got the right kind of analytical, organisation and communication skills, you can certainly thrive in this line of work.
Whatever your academic background is, you will need to know the media like the back of your hand. A certain amount of commercial awareness also wouldn’t go amiss!
Training & progression
The nature of training and development activities for media buyers tends to depend on the size of the employer. The larger, established agencies with a national and international presence may guide you through a structured training programme. However, the majority of agencies will train you as you go!
As a junior media buyer, you will be learning the trade under the supervision of experienced colleagues. However, the best way to impress is to take some initiative, get stuck in, take on as much responsibility as possible and keep your finger on the pulse of the latest media and industry trends.
Career progression is driven by your individual skill, experience and performance – and there are certainly opportunities for talented performers to progress into managerial roles after gaining only a few years of experience.