Media planners are key players in the advertising and marketing industry. Essentially, these guys are tasked with maximising returns on advertising and promotional activities across different media channels. The role of a media planner is often combined with that of a media buyer, though larger companies tend to employ separate individuals for this purpose.
Media planners are responsible for analysing data, thinking creatively and dreaming up innovative strategies to make sure marketing campaigns reach the right target audience in the most effective way possible. Basically, these guys assess the impact and suitability of different types of media for targeting a specific market that their client wants to reach.
Media planners collect and analyse information about different media channels, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, films, television, the internet and outdoor media, such as posters and digital billboards, with regards to consumer behaviour, circulation, audience trends and the impact of different methods.
Armed with this critical analysis, media planners devise or recommend strategies for using certain media effectively to attract and retain customers, increase brand recognition, and maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Media planners need to work closely with their clients, understand their wants, needs and objectives and then make the important decisions about what media channels should be used for specific campaigns. These choices have an impact on what the creative team produces and vice versa.
Therefore, in order to facilitate this dynamic, many integrated agencies now employ in-house media planners. Finally, media planners work alongside media buyers to help direct the acquisition of certain advertising slots and spaces.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries for assistant and junior media planners range between £15,000 and £25,000.Senior media planners and team leaders earn between £25,000 and £45,000 per annum, while media planning managers, directors and professionals with more than ten years’ experience can earn salaries upwards of £50,000.
A media planner’s working hours are similar to that of the other professions within the advertising and marketing industry (i.e. between 35 and 40 hours per week), except when deadlines are approaching, or you’re required to give presentations or attend meetings outside of your normal working hours, that fit in around your client’s schedule.
A degree in marketing, English, media studies, journalism, business management, operational research or another related subject will be useful in securing a job as a media planner. However, graduates from all academic backgrounds can enter this profession.
Considering the highly competitive nature of the advertising and marketing industry, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to build a career in this area without a degree or a considerable amount of industry experience.
Training & progression
Training is mainly provided ‘on-the-job’ with new media planners gaining first-hand experience under the guidance of senior colleagues in the media planning team. Much of the initial training involves understanding technical tools and methodologies for media-specific analysis, such as readership surveys, circulation and trade figures, web analytics, audience tracking and television and radio ratings.
Career progression is enabled through outstanding performance, dedication and enthusiasm. You may even get the opportunity to be promoted into a managerial position within five to six years.
Thereafter, growth and success are dependent upon individual contributions to the bottom-line and gaining diverse skill sets which can be applied to other industries and professions outside of the advertising and media planning world, e.g. financial analysis, research or academic pursuits.