Top media buyer skills needed to get the job.

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What are the top 3 traits or skills every media buyer must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your media buyer expertise?

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Ac in Salt Lake City, Utah

90 months ago

As to your first question, you must first decide what you want to buy. Each media has its own skills that you must learn and master in order to excel at being a media buyer. For instance, you need somewhat different skills to purchase newspaper media than online media or television media.

But if you're looking for overall skills, then I would say that EVERY type of media buyer needs these:

1) Negotiation and persuasion skills-- if you don't have these you might as well look for another job or another dream. Honestly, people skills are integral to the advertising business no matter which department you work for.

2) Math skills-- media buying comes down to MATH every time. And I mean EVERY time. It doesn't matter how great you are at negotiating rates if you can't figure out how many spots buy what kind of reach and frequency.

3) The ability to understand your target, your client, yourself and keep the powers of deduction about you at all times. Sounds long right? Well, that's how it works. You have to have patience and temperance and the ability to go the distance, even if it means working 14 hour days every day for three weeks. You have to be able to determine who the client is trying to reach. You have to be able to determine how to best reach those people and make them actually respond to whatever your creative team comes up with. And you have to be able to deduce when what is usually the best idea is NOT the best idea for THIS client.

But don't think for one second that these are the TOP 3. There's NO SUCH THING as the TOP 3. You have to have the whole kit and kaboodle in order to succeed, not just be great at some things, but at everything.

Developing your expertise comes down to remembering that your audience is more than an age group that has x amount of children and n HHI. There's a reason professors scream about psychographics as much as they do about demographics. You want to develop expertise? Then eat, sleep and live to learn your target

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AD in Wayne, New Jersey

51 months ago

Ac, I like this response, all very valid points. I'm a going on three year media salesperson, and I've enjoyed the job and done well, so I'm probably going to be in it for a while. Anyway, I'm trying to read forums like this to see how media buyers think. I can imagine, but first hand comments like this are very helpful. If you don't mind helping "the other side" (LOL) of this equation, what do you mean on point #2? I'd figure math to be important, and obviously price is, but what specifically do you mean by "the math"? I work for a publication that generally has a higher circ than competitors, so I often pull the cost per thousand card. I've compelled media buyers by pulling cost per thousand numbers, but I've never gotten a hard sale off of it (which of course, is the bottom line :). Also, are there any books or columns that you'd recommend reading on what a media buyer is thinking? I'd be very interested. Thanks.

Anyway, going back to the original question, from a media rep's standpoint a few things I'd highly recommend... I love a media buyer that has a well thought out goal based on their conversations with management / measures of success, and presents that well to their media rep. An educated customer is ALWAYS your best. Why?... Because they're easier to guide to success. There are infinite ways to define a media program as a success or a failure, and media reps you'll deal with can taylor a customized plan for you if you explain to them what you'd like to accomplish. My favorite type of buyer is one who asks "this is my goal, what do you think is the best way to achieve it?" That always works better than the types of the attitude "I want this ad and I want to get X out of it." It's always been amazing to me that people spend thousands of dollars on something without taking the time to understand it. As a media rep you want your clients to succeed... but you also can't pass on many sales!

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