5 Ways Media Buyers Can Adapt to a More Digitized Broadcast Marketing World

Moving away from the ‘wood veneer’ methods

By Shereta Williams, April 29, 2019

Once transmitted to an antenna on a stationary wood veneer box, TV delivery has certainly changed. While local broadcast TV content remains popular for audiences and advertisers alike, the way we watch looks different. We can view news and sports in the palm of our hands in the bedroom, the coffee shop or on public transportation.

Technology has also automated the process of buying local broadcast TV so agency personnel can better serve clients, but some agencies and buyers are slow to adapt. While we’ve seen widespread adoption of technology among the general public, it’s ironic that many media buyers are still conducting business with “wood veneer media methods.” They still prefer their traditional tools and processes to negotiate, finalize and track ad buys. But it’s only a matter of time before this way of doing things evolves. Like TV delivery itself, agencies and buyers need to modernize to stay ahead of the competition.

Offer more value to clients and move the industry forward.

There’s an impetus for change, and it’s coming from the agencies’ clients themselves. Advertisers want their agencies to think smarter and accomplish more for them. Here are some suggestions on how to do this.

Automate mundane tasks

Like the sleeker screens we watch TV with today, there are more elegant technologies for local broadcast TV media buying. Technology allows buyers to spend less time on mundane tasks and focus on more essential campaign strategies to serve clients better.

Media buyers know all too well that availing, estimating, stewarding, chasing delivery weight, requesting makegoods and clearing up billing discrepancies can drag the process out for weeks. But some new solutions can integrate with existing tools to automate these tasks for both buyers and sellers.

Extend trust

Media buyers must free up time to keep up with what’s changing in the industry and execute the best buys for clients. Traditionally, media buyers and sellers held their cards close to their chest. Buyers didn’t communicate their budget, and TV reps weren’t transparent with pricing and ratings. With automation, the information is on the table and buys are faster, freeing up more time to dedicate to the big picture.

Monitor campaigns in real-time

Traditionally, planners spend weeks or months putting together a strategy for a client. They use qualitative data that aligns with their goals, then a buyer executes it on the local broadcast level and delivery can look very different than the initial plan.

Many companies claim transparency, but it’s only through using trustworthy tools and engaging in the hard conversations that the word “transparency” starts to feel real. New cloud-based systems delivering transparency are based on trusted partnerships across the industry.

Let go of fear

Even as software continues to improve how we do our jobs human nature causes buyers to resist change. Additionally, some buyers fear their jobs may be on the line if technology can handle doing parts of their jobs for them. In reality, tech doesn’t replace buyers, but instead allows them to break the silos of executing in a single market or medium and deliver a stronger overall campaign.

Change management cannot happen without change leadership. It’s important for employees at all levels to believe in and embrace this change for the effort to be successful. The agency must also be nimble enough to continue to refine strategies based on marketplace evolution.

Talk about your challenges and ideas

While media buying technology is much more modern than before, there are still some areas no one has quite figured out yet. If you make discussing your challenges a habit, you may be able to be part of the next solution.

For example, how does the industry leverage big data for broadcast TV buys beyond gender and age? Digital has moved way beyond those traditional factors, using qualitative data to target consumers. In the future, I see a world where we’ll leverage that kind of data and artificial intelligence for more efficient broadcast TV buys.

But how will we get there? To continue moving away from our traditional “wood veneer” ways, we need to work together. The software vendors and the CIOs, CFOs and media buyers need to keep a dialogue going. Together, we can figure out how to do what’s best for clients.

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