We hear lots of buzz about the “modern marketer” – a creative individual leveraging slick tools and marketing software to build campaigns, analyze results and drive outcomes, powered by automation and analytics.
Some pros are practicing modern marketing, but today’s media buyer often more closely resembles the proverbial jack of all trades, trying desperately to excel at marketing strategy while manually managing a wide range of marketing tactics and incoming data from every campaign.
Whether media buyers work for an agency or a brand, whether they’re running display ads, lead gen programs, audience acquisition or search campaigns, their daily task list includes:
issuing and reviewing RFPs
evaluating, testing and onboarding media partners
reviewing contractual terms, negotiating pricing, completing IOs and managing accounting
communicating campaign information with multiple partners through email and phone calls
managing the flow of content, creative and target account lists to partners
normalizing and merging data from diverse partners’ performance reports
uploading consolidated data into internal systems for sales follow-up
developing marketing strategy – messaging, channels, goals – and content to support it
testing and ongoing performance analysis
analyzing data for ROI measurement
That’s a list of at least 10 roles the media buyer plays. By my count, only the final three are strategic, contributing directly to marketing ROI. But before concluding that the media buyer’s time breaks down as 70% tactical/30% strategic, consider this: low-level tactics are often error-prone time-draining manual marketing tasks that consume disproportionate resources, so 70/30 is an overly optimistic ratio. With all the challenges marketers face in this fast-moving discipline, it should be no surprise that we so often hear about a lack of time to focus on strategic initiatives.
When I discuss the time crunch with media buyers, I ask them to consider two fundamental questions:
Does the output of a given task directly contribute to results?
If they answer yes to one or both of these questions, then marketing software is at least part of the solution. Media pros determined to sharpen their focus on marketing strategy – great messaging, content, testing and data analysis to fine-tune performance – have no choice but to redirect their cycles to strategic functions and let automation handle the rest.
Working with 2500+ brands and agencies, our team at Integrate sees first-hand the time vs. quality marketing challenge. The options are clear: remain a jack of all trades/master of none, or leverage marketing technology to position yourself as a marketing and media-buying rock star. The choice should be equally clear.