Do I Really Need A Media Planner?

Trish McCabe Rawls  |  July 28, 2020

This is often one of the most misunderstood roles in a marketing agency. Which is why most companies find themselves asking "Do I really need a Media Planner?" So first, let me explain the role of the Media Planner.

Before I dig in, let's clarify that often times, there are TWO people doing the media work — a Media Planner and a Media Buyer.

A Media Planner plans the media strategy based on research and taking into consideration the audience and budget. This can range from smaller local clients with one core target audience to global entities with a myriad of demographic messaging. A Media Buyer is then responsible for taking the media plan that was created by the Media Planner and negotiates, secures and monitors the executed media. These duties can be two separate people or sometimes done by the same person. For the sake of this post, I'll refer to it as ONE PERSON, the Media Planner.

Many companies think they can cut costs by handling their own media buying, and while technically they can, it's sort of like saying "I can fix my own car" or more like "I'm going to learn to juggle today." Inevitably, something will not get done as well as it could have, or something will get dropped.  Some things are just better left to experienced professionals.  Let's look a little deeper to appreciate the true value an experienced Media Planner can bring to your table.

Creating the Plan:

An experienced Media Planner will look at all media avenues, considering your target audiences and strategically craft a plan that maximizes your budget and overall impressions. For companies with a healthy media budget and multiple target audiences, a finely-executed media plan spreadsheet is a thing of beauty! Additionally, the more experience a Media Planner has, the faster and more efficient they become over time. They know what avenues work well for certain demographics and industries. They have a good sense of what is possible with the allotted budget and they know what to look for to protect the bottom line.

Negotiating the price/location:

One of the misperceptions from companies that want to "go it alone" and work directly with the vendor, is that they'll get better pricing. This is not typically the case. What usually happens is while the company is focused on price, they inadvertently end up with poor time/location slots. As a result, their audience doesn't get the proper exposure to the executed marketing. Experienced Media Planners look at all pieces of the puzzle. In addition, most experienced Media Planners can weave in "added value" items into the buy. For example, you may be purchasing a print ad in a magazine, but the Media Planner may negotiate for a banner ad in their e-newsletter to be included. At Creative Noggin, we aim for 10-25% added value on our media buying.

Monitoring the placement and results.

Depending on the size of your media budget, managing media could be a full-time job for someone in your company. Vendors are only human, so following up to make sure what you paid for actually ran when it was supposed to is an important part of the process. Additionally, monitoring and tracking results — especially with digital media — is critical for future planning. Experienced Media Planners use special software to help track this. (That alone is worth its weight in gold!)

Ok, I'm gonna brag for a minute, but stay with me.

Anel Hooper is the Media Planner at Creative Noggin—and she is the bomb! Let me tell you why using the Media Planning services at Creative Noggin will make your life easier.....

  1. Anel is extremely experienced. After one of San Antonio's largest and most well-respected agencies closed its doors, we snagged Anel right up. She has worked with numerous national ad agencies and international clients for over 20 years and is well-versed in the latest technologies of outdoor, print, digital and broadcast.
  2. You don't pay for Anel. Unlike most agencies, we do not charge for Anel's time. Creative Noggin charges a commission on media, which typically in the end makes up for the added value and negotiated pricing she is able to attain on your behalf.
  3. You work directly with Anel. Unlike most agencies, Anel has direct communication with the clients, rather than being restricted to working through an agency lead or account supervisor. This means she'll feel more like your in-house Media Planner. It's a much more collaborative and transparent process for everyone.

Creative Noggin can handle media budgets of all sizes. And you'll love working with Anel. Let her take some work off your plate and make it work harder for you. Or, if you just have more questions about it, feel free to reach out also at


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