It has always been a challenge to explain – what do I do in office? Until I joined my job, I didn’t even know many people from the same field. Probably it’s also because of my lack of knowledge about advertising world as a young graduate. The irony was that I had a bachelor’s degree in advertising and one of the key subjects was Media Planning. I had never paid attention to the subject which was destined to transform my life in future. I got campus recruitment even before the results were out. But usually first job may not be your dream job. So, I had joined the company but I was not enjoying the place and work. It was a big organisation with typical hierarchy and structure. I always felt lost. There were endless people working and I was one of them. I didn’t see much future there for myself. Also, the knowledge gained in grad school was in vain because I was not applying in any shape or form.
One day I got a call from a friend cum foe in college. Her company was looking for a ‘media planner’. I told her upfront that I had no knowledge about the job but since she was my ex-classmate and best friends (in the past) she knew my calibre. She agreed to help me as she was in a similar position doing the same job. Initially I was hesitant because the pay offered was 30% lower than what I was getting. But I just said “yes” without thinking much. You know when people say “You should listen to your inner voice”. I could literally hear my inner voice and even after joining with a pay cut I felt good. To everyone, monies is poor for beginners in advertising. You start seeing money only after 5 years of experience. Probably one of the reasons, not many people join the industry. This industry is not about money but passion and fame.
I did this little interview with myself on all the questions that I am generally asked related to my job-
1) What is Media Planning & buying?
Media planning & buying is about booking advertising space with media companies (For example- Starplus) for the clients (Ex. Maggi). Media planning decisions are based on data analysis, insights’ tool etc. These tools help in understanding client’s target audience and target audience’s media habits. And based on the findings, media publishers are engaged in discussion on advertising space. For example: TV channels sell their ad space to media agencies (where I work) and based on the relevancy of the channel program and client’s target audience, media planner will decide on the channel program to place the ads.
2) What are the different types of media that you deal with?
Broadly media can generally be split into three forms :
Offline media : TV, Print, Magazine
Online media : Display banners (ads you see on the website), Paid Search (the red box you see on top of searches in google), Social media (facebook, LinkedIn etc.
Outdoor media: Bus shelters, Billboards, hoardings etc.
3) What exactly you do?
Out of the three media – I am part of the Online media. It is also known as Digital marketing. So, in online media, there is something called Paid Search advertising. And what I do is manage Paid search ads for my client. For example: A computer company wants to show ads when someone is searching for “computers” in Google. Google has a tool called “AdWords”. This tool provides a platform to small businesses where a campaign can be set up. The campaign set up would include ‘deciding on the list of keywords to advertise, writing ad copies (ads) that show up when a keyword is searched and setting up budget and timeline for the campaign.
The campaign starts on the due date and performance is reviewed on the daily and weekly basis. I manage the AdWords tool and campaign for a certain client.No, it’s not related to IT but yes it is technical.
Paid Search ads look something like below –
4) What does one need to get into this profession?
To enter this profession, you don’t need any special qualifications. This is a specialised skill that you gain on the job. This is one of the reasons why people from all kinds of background get into media. But to all the beginners, having an advertising degree will surely help in grasping the technical media terms – reach, frequency, GRPs, TRP etc. But yes, most of the people that I know of, have grown within media agency from the scratch (starting the career with media like myself). Because getting into this field, mid-way could be tough because if you are joining at the manager level, you would be expected to come in and start working without much training on basics.
5) What is the future for Media planners?
After few years of experience, the door really opens up for media planners. They can move to the client side or the publisher side because people are looking for digital talent at agencies. Agency folks have diverse exposure on categories, clients, teams etc. So, generally media planners are in very high demand. Also, there is a healthy growth within agencies too. Infact, most of the times, there is a talent crunch in the industry. So, it is easy to find a job for media planners.
6) What is the remuneration for media planners?
As I mentioned earlier, it is not a very rewarding career in terms of finance in the beginning. You become a valuable resource only after few years of experience and when you start adding value to the agency business and to the clients. Also things are changing at many places and bigger companies are offering a much better starting salary than in the past. Similar salary as any marketing executive gets in a bigger firm.
7) Which are the bigger companies in the world of media agencies?
Omnicom Group (OMD, PHD), WPP’s GroupM (Mindshare, Mediacom, MEC), Publicis group (Starcom, Zenith Optimedia) are the three major companies but ofcourse there are tonnes of other agencies coming up in various markets.
This was a very brief and simple explanation of what I do. So, now people shouldn’t confuse ‘Mediacom’ with ‘Mediacorp.”. They are media companies but Mediacom is a media agency and more like a media consultant. Mediacorp is a media group that owns the channel and sells advertising space whereas “Mediacom” buy that advertising space from them.
I really enjoy what I do. Its lots of fun when it comes to media parties, gathering, conferences and meeting interesting people. Also having fun work-stations, food stuffed pantry and other perks. It is a small world and generally people know each other .
I thought I would share with you so that it gives you an understanding of what I do and you can also ask your friends or acquaintance to find out more about this profession so that they can consider this as their career option.
If you have any question related to this, feel free to reach out.
This is my last post on career series. From next post onwards, I am again a free bird to post my newer experiences beyond career. I will continue to add posts in career series as and when I have something worthwhile.
Career Series : 1. Do the benefits of studying abroad justify the difficulties?
Career Series : 4. Work – Life – Balance!!!
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