Posts Tagged ‘ ad agency ’

Media Plan Components

Media planners and buyers are known for the immense amount of research they do before planning and placing a media buy for a client. There are meetings with the account executive and the media reps, email exchanges, phone calls, Google searches, Arbitron data, Scarborough research, good ole’ fashioned hardcopy DMA maps and more. In fact, for most advertising agency account executives and coordinators, the media plan comes nicely packaged and ready for presentation. Sure, there are some questions to answer and sometimes some changes to be made, but the bulk of the work and research is complete.

So, today we wanted to take you behind the scenes to see how the media research translates to each component of a media plan. Below and are some terms and definitions that you can expect to see on your media plan, but first – what is a media plan? A media plan includes the recommendations and a detailed rationale for all media activities and spending for a given client. Information that should be included in a media plan is the objective, strategy, rationale, execution and summary.

MEDIA OBJECTIVE – This is a statement of a goal or goals and should be able to be measured and correspond to the overall strategic objectives of the marketing objectives provided by the account executive, but should not restate them. The objective does not include recommendations for specific mediums. Mediums should not be selected before the objectives and targets have been detailed.

MEDIA STRATEGY – Media strategy includes information such as budget, target audience, seasonality, region, city or market size and other considerations. This strategy will also include demographic information such as age, race and household income.

MEDIA RATIONALE – The media rationale is an explanation of why each medium makes sense for the client based on the stated media objectives. The rationale supports the media objective with marketing facts and states why the mediums are recommended, including characteristics of each and how it will be implemented into the strategy. The media rationale should also state why the media planner chose the specific time periods, sizes, commercial lengths for the client.

FLOWCHART – A media plan should always include a flowchart. This is a document that shows the execution of the plan, at a glance, and includes all of the mediums and timing that placements should run on these mediums.

SUMMARY – This is a simple summary of each of the mediums including period, budget, audience/circulation, length or size, reach or coverage, reach and frequency and total ratings points. Also included should be a chart with the budget by medium.

If you have any questions regarding media buying and planning, whether outlined within or not, please feel free to contact evo ̄k’s Media Planning and Buying Department at 407.302.4416.

What Type of Designer Are You: Solo, In-house, or Ad Agency?

Where designers work varies as much as the designers themselves. Some work in the corner of their studio in their pj’s while sipping their Starbucks coffee. Others work in the marketing department of a Fortune 500 company. Then there are those who design an array of work for diverse clients in an ad agency.

Being a designer who has worked in all three arenas, I thought I would provide some insight and go over some pros and cons for each. Every creative has his or her own unique preferences and needs. What may work for you, may not work for the next designer. However, rest assured that YOU do have a place in this crazy industry called design.

Solo (Freelance) Designer

Pros: A great majority of designers are their own boss. One reason for that is the freedom that comes from waking up when you want to and scheduling your work as it best suits you. Also you have the privilege to accept as many or as few projects as you want. Another great benefit is that you get to exhibit your true creative potential, which is something very important to keep the excitement of design alive. Usually this will increase as you begin building your reputation and can select the projects you want. Want to go on vacation – just ask yourself when and where and you’re off! Oh, and let’s not forget – set your own rate. Several designers have higher salaries as a freelancer than in-house because they can set the price they feel their services are worth.

Cons: Starting out, you may be overwhelmed. This can be especially difficult for designers who are just beginning their design career. It’s strongly recommended that you work for a company awhile before venturing out on your own. One common issue to deal with as a freelance designer is the absence of a steady paycheck. Your paycheck is really the sum of your projects, how you bill them, and how soon your client will pay you. If you’re not an organizer and saver by heart, this route will teach you by force. Another con is that no one will go and get the clients for you. This may be a positive challenge some look forward to, while for others it will make them cringe. Either way, you are solely responsible for attaining and retaining your clients, so be creative in your marketing.

In-House Designer

Pros: With the recent economy shift, many companies, both large and small have decided to keep their work in-house. The company itself benefits greatly in this arrangement; and so do the designers. One of the largest benefits is the stability. Since these companies want the assurance of having an “on-call” design department, you can be sure designers will be there for a number of years. Another positive is since you are an employee you have the same great benefits as the rest of your co-workers in other departments. They can include health insurance, paid time off including holidays and vacation, disability, 401k, and sometimes even tuition assistance. If you’re concerned about working long hours, then you’ve come to the right place. In-house departments typically have the same 8 hr shift as the rest of the company. So you will be home before it’s dark – lucky you.

Cons: Once you step foot in an in-house design department, remember there are rules to abide by that were put in place long before you came; unless you were one of the pioneers in starting the department. Branding guidelines are very strict and must be adhered to in every executed project. As a result, after time you may feel you’re designing the same old piece. You can attempt to do something fresh and innovative, but don’t take offense if it’s not received positively. Another con may be the manner in which you’re perceived within the company. Many non-designers think you press a magic button and their 20 page brochure will be done within the hour. One way to counteract this is through communication. Educate your manager and co-workers as to why it takes a certain amount of time, so they may be able to forward that key information to other departments and clients. After all, designers are not magicians – ok, maybe a little.

Ad Agency / Design Firm Designer

Pros: Can anyone say CREATE! One major pull ad agencies have over other creative environments is the plethora of great creative. Usually there is more time to focus on one or two campaigns at a time and so you get quite a bit of time to brainstorm and collaborate with your peers. If you’re lucky some of the campaigns you worked on that were executed can add sparkle to your portfolio. This is usually the case since the clients’ budgets are bigger and allow for custom photography, higher-end print finishes, illustration, etc. Another advantage is the people that surround you. In an ad agency, you get to hang out with your “creative peeps.” These may include, but are not limited to other designers, photographers, copywriters and creative directors. Since you feel comfortable collaborating and brainstorming in such a setting, it results in a more uplifting and inspiring attitude. Which leads me to another positive – the space. Ad agency higher-ups know that creatives need a fun place to work to get their juices flowing so many have eliminated the greige cubicles and replaced them with funky open areas so all can interact informally without restrictions because you never know when the greatest idea will arise.

Cons: When you work in-house your employer is your client, so they’re unlikely to go anywhere. However, clients in an ad agency can come and go. If a huge account is lost, you may lose your job along with it, which may explain why you see designers jumping from agency to agency through no fault of their own. If you have children and other commitments outside of work, you may want to think carefully if this is the place for you, as long hours extending into the late nights are the norm. Every account is considered important and every deadline is set, so multiply that by three and you could easily be working 50-70 hrs a week. Of course this leads to another disadvantage; burnout. Working those long hours churning out great work can leave you “juiceless” after a couple of years, remember to set your priorities accordingly and give yourself time to relax and re-energize.

Links and Resources

For Solo (Freelance) Designers:

For In-House Designers:

For Ad Agency / Design Firm Designers:

For All Designers:

So now that you’ve seen a small glimpse into the good and bad of these three creative environments, which one best fits you? Tell us your experiences – we’d love to hear from you.

Keeping Up with the Gatekeeper Game

Can you believe in today’s “instant access to the consumer” world we still
have to perform a dog and pony show to get past the gatekeeper in the hopes
of finding the decision maker? Well, be warned that often in a downsizing
economy, the gatekeeper and the decision maker could be the same person. And
guess what else? Their time is very, very limited.

As an advertising agency, invaluable gatekeeper included, we deal with
similar issues as our clients.  Every day our gatekeeper is faced with a
litany of decisions to make and tasks to accomplish, complete with an even
longer list of potential service providers to help assist in culling down
the “To Do” list.

So, in 20 succinct bullets from our gatekeeper, this is how EVOK recommends
you go about opening that preverbal gate:

·  Don’t make promises you can’t keep
·  Be honest
·  Know your customer (who is and who isn’t)
·  Provide a loyalty program
·  Reward referrals
·  Spell out an actual point of difference
·  Announce your intention prior to soliciting
·  Get to the point quickly
·  Provide an incentive
·  Be different (if you’re not, come back when you are)
·  Know your competition
·  Remember your manners (please and thank you go along way)
·  Keep it simple and short, stupid
·  Leave them wanting more (and a way to get more if desired)
·  Timing is everything (don’t offer me tax advice on April 16!)
·  No high pressure
·  Don’t wear out your welcome
·  Make your product or service offer time sensitive
·  Don’t be sketchy
·  Dress the part (do the “once over” twice if needed)

True, many of the above bullets apply to a company representative happening
upon the actual gatekeeper via the phone or in person, but each can apply to
all advertising and marketing initiatives. Whether it’s a print ad, direct
marketing piece, end-of-aisle display with free samples or door-to-door
salesman performing a cold call, every impression is an opportunity for
customer conversion. Though you have multiple options to get your best foot
in the door, all it takes is one fatal faux pas and you will never make it
past the gatekeeper.

***Bonus Material***

Our Gatekeepers Blog:

Getting Colder
Today, I was “cold called” by my current office supply company. I’d like to
say that I was surprised by this oversight, but it was in fact the second
offense. After giving them the benefit of the doubt the first time, I
quickly changed suppliers after I informed them “I already am your
customer—obviously an unimportant—thanks for nothing.”

Another Day, Another Sales Call:
Today I received TMI about the office bottled water. A water-purifying
company saleswoman gave me more than I bargained for when I accepted the
offer of a tall glass of water. She added some chemicals to a glass of water
that was poured from the bottle that sits upon the water cooler. Well, I
don’t know if it was the bad fluorescent lighting or some sales pitch
hocus-pocus, but the outcome left me with a dirty glass and a bad taste in
my mouth.

When I Move, I’m Thirsty for Water
Timing is everything. Shortly before we moved our offices another water
vendor came in to speak with me.  Knowing space in the new office would be
limited, I was looking for something to take a way the storage issue. A
gentleman came in, albeit unannounced, but was quick and to the point. He
explained how his filtration process works (using a simple, color diagram)
and left me with the information. A few months later, after a few follow-up
calls, we were ready to move. I called him directly and he took care of
everything.

We’ve Both Heard It All Before
Finally my most favorite story, I call “’m not a stupid as you might think I
am” and “Common misconception co-workers do work closely together.”  Several
times we’ve had ink cartridge vendors call and play one employee off of the
other. They call indicating that someone else in the office placed an ink
order and did not receive it.  Could they please verify the copy machine
make and model so they can re-ship them? This catches the person off guard
and the question is answered.  The next day the company’s “shipping”
department calls and asks to speak to that person to confirm the order.
Confusion sets in and in most cases they expect the person to simply tell
them to ship the order.  At EVOK we all work together and we are smarter
than one might think.  The caller was placed on hold and the order was
verified with me (the office manager).  We explain to the caller that we
order our supplies directly from our leasing company.  A quick “apology” is
made and the vendor hangs up!

It’s essential to recognize and respect the gatekeeper, or else, it could hit you…you know where.