Canadian Magazine Industry News
5 June 2009,     TORONTO
Notes from MagNet: What media buyers really want
Ildiko Marshall
Like people working in the media, employees at ad agencies have less time and more responsibilities than ever. This was one of the many messages carried forward by panelists Laura Maurice, Tim Hughes and Michele Beaulieu at a seminar called "On the Plan: What Media Buyers Want Now" held Thursday at MagNet. Moderated by Today`s Parent publisher Ildiko Marshall, the discussion was frank and forthright, though whether anyone in attendance actually came away knowing exactly what media buyers want is debatable. Nevertheless, here are some tips we picked up:
  • Avoid generic responses to RFPs. Media buyers and their clients are all looking for innovation and ideas, so fine-tune your pitches accordingly.
  • At the same time, it`s not worth putting together "cold-call" proposals without contacting a planner first. "I get about 30 of these a day," Maurice said.
  • If you want to get onto agency plans, get audited and get listed in CARD.
  • Third-party research about your magazine has value; publisher-generated stuff carries no credibility.
  • Seek out partnerships with other media to offer stronger packages. For example, regional publishers could team up with each other to offer a national buy.
  • PMB data on an RFP response is filler; you`ve already jumped that hurdle.
  • Agency clients are generally not well-educated about new media. "The number of conversations we have about what we`re going to do on Facebook is staggering," Hughes said.
  • Agencies use ComScore Media Metrix as the primary measurement tool for online.
  • Don`t start a relationship with an agency through e-mail: they`re too easy to ignore. Use the phone and make sure you`ve done as much research as possible before the call, so you`re not wasting time asking questions that could have been answered online.
  • If you`re going to discount your rates or offer something like a 2-for-1, position it strongly as a one-off. "If it becomes the new base rate, you`ll never climb out of that hole," Hughes said.
— M.U.
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