5 Ways to Know You’re Working with a Media Expert

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With the rise of digital media and self-service platforms, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of media professionals. Sometimes these people have outstanding credentials, but other times they have little-to-no experience. So how can you tell if you’re working with a media veteran or just a hack?

To help you distinguish if your media expert is, in fact, an expert, make sure you’re hitting these five points.

1. Your media expert regularly provides explanations of best practices.touch-screen-1023967_640

A seasoned media professional is well versed in best practices for whatever types of media they plan or buy. When questions arise, or you begin a new project, your expert should spend some time explaining to you the best practices. Most media processes are pretty indepth. There’s more to analyze than meets the eye. There should be some level of explanation of the process, the media variables and the common incorrect assumptions that are often made.

When discussing best practices for purchasing a television schedule, for instance, your media expert should provide you with some outline of the process of working with the reps, reviewing ratings information and selecting spots. They might also explain that some posers may be purchasing packages on your behalf without being able to provide any analysis of cost or ratings through typical media tools. This shows your expert really knows the best practice and can explain to you the things you should look out for.

2. You receive expected outcomes as part of your media plan.

When your media professional provides you with a media plan or proposal, this should include some level of expected outcomes. You should receive a media plan that incorporates more than just a simple budget and timeline.

Your professional should have some estimating tools and industry benchmarks that would allow them to provide you with some expectations of what you can achieve with the budget that you are planning to spend. If you’re planning a television or radio campaign, you should receive an estimate of GRPs or spots that you would be able to purchase with your budget.

The most frequent offense that’s occurring is in digital advertising. Across the board — whether you purchase display, video with an audio visual equipment rental option for projecting an audiovisual, paid search or social media campaigns — you should be receiving some expected outcomes based on the audience and budget you’re planning to spend. Utilizing digital planning tools and industry performance benchmarks, your media professional should be giving you an expectation around impressions, clicks, conversions or other KPIs.

That’s not to say your expert will achieve this goal 100 percent of the time, but they should provide some analysis of why they cannot achieve the goals. The audience may have changed, or the budget dispersed differently from what was originally planned, but there should be some goals to begin the campaign.

3. The media expert explains what optimizations have been made on a campaign (and why).


This particular point can send a mixed message. To be clear, I’m not suggesting your media expert should have to provide you with a full report of what exact changes were made to a campaign each and every time these are made (especially in the digital space, since these optimizations should be happening very frequently).

What I am suggesting, though, is that if a campaign is under performing and they’ve mentioned to you that they’ve made optimizations to improve it, they should be able to tell you what types of changes they’ve made.

Often times when we see conversions are low for a digital campaign, I might let the client know at our reporting meeting that we’ve made some optimizations to improve performance. It might be something along the lines of:

  • “We’ve changed creative versions — version C was performing better than A or B, so we removed them.”
  • “We removed five of the underperforming exchanges that we were originally purchasing and added eight more in their place to test performance.”
  • Or, in an extreme case, “We are unhappy with the performance of this vendor and have decided to move from vendor one to vendor two.”

All of these changes include a specific problem that was isolated and a solution that was explained to you as the client.

4. You’re receiving consistent reports that provide metrics that matter to your business.

Regardless of the type of media that you purchase, your media expert should be providing you with reporting at regular intervals that shows how the campaign is performing against the goals that were set in our second point. Your reporting can be weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annually, but they should provide you with some sense of what the campaign is achieving.

These reports could include an analysis of the money the media expert has saved you, the pacing against the final goal, number of calls generated or the ROI based on your company’s sales. No matter what the report is, it shouldn’t just be a summary of clicks. It should directly tie to your business objectives and the objectives of the campaign.

5. The expert stewards your account and can explain in detail what they are monitoring.


This is probably the single most important thing that your expert should be doing for you and your campaigns, but it’s frequently the most overlooked. Whenever media professionals sell services, we focus on things like strategy and negotiation. We often fail to mention how important stewarding the campaign is and the role that we play within this.

A true media expert should be verifying that the creative is actually running in the right place at the right time and at the agreed upon price. This process includes gathering screenshots, tearsheets or spot records from our media sales representatives and reviewing them for accuracy against our ordered campaigns.

If something didn’t run correctly, we should be following up with the salesperson to get some added value for the client or a makegood of some kind. These errors happen more frequently than you would think. A good media person can be invaluable if they are regularly catching these errors and ensuring that you’ve gotten what you paid for on a campaign.

Want to talk more media? Tweet us @QuinlanCompany or contact us to set up a one-on-one meeting.

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