Media Agency – How, What, Why?

How does a media agency work?

It starts with a brief
Work for a media agency begins when they are briefed by a client, or they bid on a campaign based on a brief. The brief can be for a specific sales or branding goal, such as increasing sales of a particular product, or for a broad one, such as raising awareness of a company or an organisation. However, a lot of the work a media agency does is sales based. If the brief involves a digital strategy, it could be aimed at producing better search engine results, increasing content-driven returns on investment, search engine marketing, or even website heath. Website health involves ensuring your company has landing pages that are both relevant to the product and to the search results. It also means making sure there is quality content on those pages that can both help drive sales and attract relevant search traffic. A digital brief can also be in the form of social media advertising and marketing, involving both native and advertising content. A brief can even be aimed at increasing social media influencer content for a specific product or range. Media agencies have specific specialised departments, including for digital, but also for media buying, media strategy, media planning, research and insights. A good media agency will attack the brief across all departments. This allows media agencies to develop comprehensive campaigns, based on the best information available, and gives the campaign the best chance of success.

Using research and insights to develop strategy
A big key to developing a successful campaign is research and consumer insights. What media agencies do is all about people, both clients and consumers. From a client perspective, a good media agency will work on the basis of trust, partnering with clients and media vendors in a very open way.
Media agencies will develop insights about how the product or the brand at the centre of the campaign is perceived, what people like about it and what they don’t. They will do the same for their competitor. Knowing as much as possible about the industry as a whole is important. And being able to use the experience of other campaigns is vital, as is understanding a client’s business goals. At Nunn Media we want to be an extension of our clients businesses, and to do this we have to look at everything through their eyes. Therefore it’s important to understand not just the objective of the campaign, but the overall business objectives and planning of the company.
When it comes to consumers, knowing as much about them as you can is vital. Media agencies work to know what consumers think, how they feel, how they act and why they act and what they want, need and desire. That information drives a campaign and its planning and strategy. It allows the clients to target consumers more efficiently and promote behavioural change. Media agencies know people live in the real world, not just in focus groups or at the end of a phone survey. Everyone has different needs, different values, and different drivers. They are constantly looking out for what works for them, on more media platforms than ever before. Being able to find and communicate to a target audience in a way that can work is what media agencies do. But first they must know who they are. A good media agency will immerse itself in the lives of the consumers to gain an intimate insight into who they are, how they behave and how they interact with brands and communications.

Developing, planning and implementing a strategy
Consumer insights lead the strategy and planning process, with the aim of identifying the best way to reach the consumer, change their behaviour and reach the campaign goals. To do this, a media agency can work with other companies linked to the client, such as an advertising agency, or contract one themselves. Once the content and the strategy is devised it is time for delivery. A key part of this is media buying. Media agencies will use their experience and their relationships to secure the media buys needed to make a campaign successful. Media agencies spend a lot of money with media companies, and this volume allows them to negotiate good deals for their clients. Having an understanding of what has worked in the past, and an intricate knowledge of all media platforms, the audience they reach and the effectiveness they have, is a key here. As are relationships. Media agencies work closely with media companies for a number if reasons. One of those reasons is to ensure when a new media product is released, their clients are the ones who can benefit from it early on. A media agency strategy can run a campaign on or across multiple media platforms. Having the understanding, experience and know how to make that a success is at the core of how a media agency works.

What does a media agency Do?

A media agency’s key role is to maximize the effectiveness of a marketing campaign through a comprehensive media strategy and detailed consumer insights, all while using market experience and relationships to get the best deal for the client.

Turning a brief into a strategy
The work of a media agency begins with a briefing from a client, outlining their specific sales or product-awareness goals. These goals can be as broad as increasing traffic to a website, or as specific as changing a brand’s perception in the marketplace, however they are usually sales-based. From here, a media agency will develop a media strategy and provide expert recommendations to brands and advertisers. One of the keys to this strategy will be to understand the client’s business objectives and the product itself. At Nunn Media we see ourselves not as consultants, but as extensions to our clients’ companies. This means our clients can focus on other parts of the business and leave the media buying with our experienced staff. We also look at our client’s business challenges, taking a holistic approach to building a successful strategy. This ensures our strategy and our solutions are tailored to align with their systems, challenges and business goals. From here, a strategy considers which platforms to use and when to use them, to maximise efficiency and make sure the targeted audience is being reached.
Partnerships and communication are the keystones of any good media agency strategy. This communication involves understanding where the client or the brand is at and why they are there. From here it is a matter of setting objectives and finding out where the client wants to be. Next comes the development of a plan, understanding how to get where they want to be. The final part of the strategy centres around evaluating the campaign and understanding if the objectives were met.

Understanding the consumer
A key to the implementation and management of any campaign is understanding both the consumer and the competition. In fact, this is the basis of everything a media agency does. Media agencies do a lot of research work to create consumer insights. Both quantitative and qualitative research is used to paint a picture of a consumer’s behaviour and what motivates them. They first look at who the client’s consumers are and how loyal they are. They understand how a consumer makes a purchase and where they find out about new brands and products. Importantly, media agencies also work to understand what most influences consumer’s choices, and how a brand is perceived up against a competitor. This is all about people, people who live in the real world. Good media agencies understand that people are different and all have different needs, behaviours, drivers and perceptions. They are all looking for something that works for them. A media agency will discover and understand that reality and use that information to understand how the media landscape influences their lives, their attitudes and their behaviours. At the end of the day, media agencies invest in research to get to know consumers and how to reach them. This investment, which can also involve software and online research, can also be used to understand the competitor’s brand, and how consumers relate to it. Once all this data is received, media agencies will create a campaign, and an implementation strategy, on behalf of the client. This campaign is still led by the objectives outlined initially by the client and by the media agency’s holistic approach and understanding of the company’s short term and long term goals. Given the ever-changing media landscape, these campaigns can include the traditional TV, print, and radio, as well as out-of-home advertising (such as billboards), digital, social media and search.

Benefit from relationships and experience
Experienced media agencies will have close relationships with a lot of media companies, which can benefit their clients. With the amount of volume some media agencies trade, they can often leverage a good price for their client, or secure prime positioning, if this fits in with their strategy. This can allow agencies to provide individual clients with the best recommendations for their individual needs, including an effective mix of media. It means that small companies can also get good results, and aren’t dwarfed by the spend of big multinational companies.
Good media agencies can understand the intricacies of each platform, such as TV trading, and how they can specifically benefit certain clients. They also understand, the importance of all platforms, and the benefits of delivering campaigns across them. This can also mean different strategies within campaigns, and the allocation of extra resources to deliver, for example, website content for searches. And finally, a media agency’s job is not done when the campaign is finished. Analysis and reporting during and after a campaign is an important tool for both the client and the media agency. It can help improve campaigns as they are running, help measure success against objective, and provide transparency for the client in terms of return on investment.

Why use a media agency?

Let your staff focus on their roles
Media agencies today are highly skilled organisations. Gone are the days when they purely booked ads in the newspaper or the TV station they thought would work best, using a relationship to get their clients a good deal. Sure, they still get great deals today, but their work is highly sophisticated and very specialised. For a company to do the type of work, and the amount of work, a media agency does today to get the results they are after, they would have to take their eyes of the ball, and their regular roles would suffer. Media agencies allow companies, and their staff, to do what they do best. The last thing anyone wants is sales or marketing staff, or management, spending hours working on campaigns or researching consumer behaviour. However, that doesn’t mean media agencies are divorced from what their clients do. Quite the opposite. A good media company will not just know the product, its consumers, and the best way to reach the company’s objectives. A good media agency will understand their client’s long term goals and it business objectives. This can help media planners drive a campaign, and means media agencies can almost become an extension of their client’s company. Media agencies that take a holistic and integrated approach such as this end up with a deep understanding of their client’s business challenges, as well as the campaign’s. So while media agencies allow companies and organisations to not take their eyes off the ball, they can work hard to make sure theirs is well and truly fixed to it.

Expertise in a nuanced field
The media market has never been more fragmented than it is today. Consumers have never had more ways to find the information they want, and to communicate with each other. The digital age has done more than just add another media platform to the traditional TV, radio, newspaper and out-of-home marketing. It has created a huge range of nuanced opportunities to get a message out. Think websites, social and the ever-changing search offerings. Each of these areas is amazingly intricate in itself, and how to make them work together as one requires high-level skills. Media agencies have knowledge and expertise across all platforms, and even within them. The digital space is the workroom of any modern media agency, and they have departments dedicated to that alone. They also have separate departments for strategy, planning and buying, ensuring an opportunity is never missed. And of course, media agencies have an immense focus on consumer insights. Finding out what consumers think of a brand and why, what motivates them in their daily life and what it would take to change their habits is an expertise you can’t find anywhere else. The research and technology that goes into this area is almost unique. And, of course, you need to understand what it all means, and how to use it best. Knowing how to reach the target audience, and what strategies will work to change their habits, their behaviours, or their minds is a skill media agency staff hone over a number of years.

Experience where it counts
Expertise is one thing, experience is another. Media agencies work hard to develop campaigns for their clients, and spend a lot of time analysing their results and their effectiveness. In fact, reporting and analysis is an important part of every campaign process. Media agencies can use experience and learnings to benefit new clients. If something worked, or it didn’t, then that can be used to adjust an existing campaign, and benefit a new one. That kind of experience and intellectual track record is almost invaluable. These learnings can come from strategy, planning, buying or even consumer insights. And they can also come from having a diverse range of clients. Being able to successfully manage big, medium and small business campaigns creates a level of experience that is hard to top. It also creates a level of buying power that client cannot get anywhere else. Media agencies deal with a lot of media companies of all shapes and sizes. They are valuable clients of theirs and understand the importance of offering the best deal possible. A media agency that values experience also values innovation. Looking for, and knowing where to go to find, the latest technology that can give a client’s campaign the edge is vital. And being able to recognize whether it is useful or relevant is also a key skill. Experience also creates relationships. Media agencies need to establish quality relationships with media companies for a number of reasons. The first one is to get a great deal for their clients. Media agencies also need to be the first call a media company makes when they have a new product or service that they think will be an asset to an important customer. This cannot happen without a strong and healthy relationship.