Media planning, research, and buying has become the leader in the advertising process….and is no longer an afterthought.  Truth is, it never has been. Given the complexity of the media world which changes every day, brilliant media planning and execution has never been more important.    

There was a time 20 some years ago at full service agencies where the media portion in any new business pitch was relegated to the last 10 minutes of the presentation (if media even got that much time), after the creative department whiz kids presented the BIG IDEA (which always had to be executed in 60 second spots and multi-page gatefolds, they said).

Our job as media experts was to try to justify the creative vision, and do so with efficiency. While there was dignity in trying to do so, the concept of media following creative was always backwards.

The tip-off to the importance of media was that the majority of questions that clients (prospective and existing) would inevitably ask would be about the media plan. Our creative friends always wondered why the prospective clients didn’t pay as much attention to the clever theme line or visuals. Why? Because clients care about where and how their money is spent.

Fast forward to today, and there’s no argument about the importance of media. There are literally hundreds of media options to be considered in the development of a media program. Those of us who are spend our careers evaluating those options know what we do is a critical part of the marketing program, one with tremendous leverage in generating the strongest ROI.

It’s why the media departments of many agencies don’t even exist any longer, and why specialist media agencies control the majority of spending. The largest agency holding companies realized this and in the 80’s and 90’s and created powerful stand alone media agencies not tied to their creative shops. At the same time independent media shops such as ours grew from the same phenomena. As a result, many medium and small agencies realized they didn’t have the media resources and talent to compete effectively, and eliminated and/or downsized their media functions, or never developed one in the first place.

Times have changed in the advertising world, and so has the media function. No longer is media the back-end part of the plan. It’s often more important than the messaging itself.  Without an effective connection with the audience, the message can be irrelevant.

Media is now leading the way.

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