Media Buyer Tells All

It’s cool to do business with people that “get it.” This medium represents tremendous opportunity for just about every business we can think of. When a company decides that it must move forward with some sort of online presence, its people don’t always know what that means. And that’s okay — a willingness to learn the nuances of an entirely new way of doing business is usually enough to get started in online promotion.

But sometimes, on the way to “getting it,” we have to put up with some pretty silly inquiries. Here are some of my favorites that people have asked of me.

  1. What does it cost for an online campaign? As much as I’d like to see it, Internet campaigns do not come in little cardboard boxes like the latest version of Photoshop. If online promotional campaigns were an off-the-shelf solution, we wouldn’t need media planners, creative directors, producers and account managers. You should probably be asking “How much might it cost to achieve this specific objective using online media?”
  2. How many GRPs will I get out of this online campaign? As I have stated rather emphatically in several previous columns, we don’t measure things this way online. Gross Rating Points are a measure of reach against a given buying target. Traditional buying targets are generally not specific enough to match the actual target of your campaign. Instead, we target people online by mindset and by content synergy.
  3. I went to Yahoo yesterday and I didn’t see my ad running. What’s wrong? Big portal sites are just that — big. They tend to have a lot of advertisers and numerous content areas. Did you check the targeted areas that were bought? Did you hit “reload” a couple of times to see if the ad came up? Are the ads targeted to an audience of which you are not a member?
  4. Your client sells widgets made for the MacIntosh. Do you want to buy any ROS inventory? No. If my client’s product is made for the Mac, I think that purchasing untargeted inventory is a terrific way to waste money. I should probably buy platform-targeted inventory, or other ad inventory in content areas directed toward Mac users.
  5. Do you have Internet access/an email address/a computer? Sales reps usually ask this, right before they ask you to look at something on their web site or offer to send you information. My clients’ online campaigns would probably be pretty crummy if I insisted on planning them without a working web browser, or if I sent all my correspondence via snail mail.
  6. I want to see what a media plan for my product would look like before I sign a contract with you. Can you put something together for me? Sure. I know exactly what you mean. Just last week, my plumber installed a new water heater in my basement so that I could see what one looks like. Oh, and the pizzeria next door is sending over a large pie for me to take a look at.
  7. Can you tell the search engines that we need to be listed #1 under the keyword “widget” or we won’t advertise anymore? Yes. I can tell them that. And I’m sure they’ll commend me for my respect of the separation between advertising and editorial.
  8. I understand that we didn’t make the buy this time, but would you mind if my associates on the West Coast met with your client directly? Yes. That’s an invitation for disaster. Only two things can happen — either your associates will waste my client’s time or they will convince my client to advertise with you for the wrong reasons. Please respect an agency’s relationship with its client.

I hope you got a kick out of this week’s column and can identify with it. Online media is so much more fun if we laugh at ourselves every now and then. Next week I’ll get back into the swing of things with something a bit more serious.

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