Do You Want To Be A Media Planner?

Did you know that there's an entire department in an ad agency that works on deciding where to place the ads? It's called the Media Planning Department.

This department decides on the best media to release the ad so as to maximise its impact. This is done after researching information about the group the ad is targeted at. Of course they have to work within budget constraints of the client and within the time frame. It's a very challenging job, especially because so many clients and advertising agencies are vying for premium space and time.

In this department, you will be dealing with numbers and charts. You will have to go through loads of data on the habit of your target customers. You will also research on which television channels they like to watch, which newspaper they read, which web sites they log onto, and so on. After going though all this data, you will use some computerised (or use your judgements and experience) models to find out the best media for your advertisement.

After the media plan is laid out, you will have to go out and buy the space and time for your advertisement to appear as per the plan. And this is hell of a lot of work. This is because a host of other agencies are also vying to buy the same space and time. So, a lot of bargaining and deal making goes on. Your job is to get the best deal for your client and to make sure that the advertisement comes out as per the plan. So, you will meet the media executives in the newspaper companies, magazine publishing houses, television companies and other related companies.

A Vice President/Director - Media, heads the media department. Senior Media Executives report to him and Junior Executives report to the Senior Executives. Trainees generally report to the Senior Executives. If you join as a trainee (which you will in most probability) you'll be mostly involved in the legwork that is needed to buy the required media space and time.


* You will have to be a 'number cruncher'
* Very strong reasoning abilities
* Very good in comprehending complex data
* All the attributes that an account executive needs.

Generally, people armed with an MBA degree are inducted in the Media Department. You'll undergo one or two years' training in media planning and media buying to become a Media Executive.

Another route could be through the space/time-selling department of a newspaper/magazine/television company. Even fresh graduates or postgraduates are welcome here. However, postgraduates in Communication/Advertising are given the same status as MBAs. But in this era of specialisation, you got to be an MBA or a trained professional in space selling/time selling to be the preferred one.