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Who is a Media Strategist…and Why Do You Need One?

Analyzing, selecting and buying media used to be very simple. Print, radio, and outdoor were the only options. Direct mail changed the game, as did multiple TV channels (conventional and cable).

Then came the digital era and the proliferation of big- and small-screen options, social media, PPC advertising, SEO, SEM, events, sponsorships, community engagement, and OTT (over-the-top) advertising.

What also emerged was the ability to target, track, and measure advertising effectiveness. In the case of digital advertising, data availability and finite (and immediate) tracking now enables advertisers to rapidly adjust and optimize their spend. Big data and integrated reporting can be used to refine a marketing strategy and spend.

Where do you spend your precious marketing dollars to generate the best ROI for your business? SMBs are especially challenged, as vendors knock on their doors (virtually), to convince them that THEIR tactical solution is the best one.


Enter the Media Strategist

The role itself is not new. In the Mad Men era, every agency and many big brands employed professionals who “divided the marketing spending pie,” negotiating the best deals on paid media. They were (and are) essential to the strategic planning and marketing process because they:

Are unbiased in their recommendations. They propose the right media for the budget, the target market, and the goals.

Have the insights that come from buying for different clients and use cases.

Deliver long-term savings because they negotiate volume pricing based on multiple client buys.

Stay on top of trends and can bring you new opportunities.

Analyze the performance of specific media and help you fine-tune your strategies.

Create and manage the media mix to ensure the best ROI. Omni-channel media buying is not a one-size-fits-all game. A professional media strategist will create the right mix for your business and adjust that mix and spend based on results.


The Value of an Experienced Media Strategist

The role of the media planner has expanded to that of a media strategist and it has become more complex as the number of options has grown. Working with experienced professionals who have a big-picture view of your business can save you money in the long-term and break down some of the silos that exist within companies and specialty agencies.

Great media strategists also help you make major trade-off decisions when budgets must be scaled-back. Because they are objective, they will recommend what’s best for your bottom line rather than clinging to their “favorite” media outlets.

Whether your marketing budget is in the five-digit or multi-million range…a local business or a global entity…seeking the expertise of a professional media strategist will pay back in the long-run — not only in the effectiveness of programs but also in the savings from misdirected spend.

Make sure you look for a strategic media planning partner with experience in your industry or target market and solid long-term relationships with a variety of outlets. Reporting is also critical, so you know where every dollar is going and you can make adjustments as needed. Engage a strategist who knows both conventional and digital media. Combining the right channels is the key to delivering awareness and results with your target market.

Above all, seek out a company partner you like and trust. The right relationship can span many business cycles and your media strategist can help you navigate the ups and downs of marketing cycles and the growth of new channels — and ensure that every dollar is wisely spent.



More about Nancy...
Founder of theONswitch marketing (, Nancy Shenker was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, publishes four websites, has a regular column in Thrive Global, and writes for a wide range of tech companies and other businesses. She also contributed to (a column called Bots & Bodies about the human side of tech). She speaks frequently about trends at national conferences in a variety of industries.

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