Q Thoughts

Practical Innovation in Digital Media. It Starts with YOU


Change can make some of us uneasy. Scratch that, it can make most of us uneasy. But change is also inevitable – not to mention necessary if we’re looking to achieve any sort of progress – so we must do our best to inspire positive change. Positive change occurs when someone or something is impacted in such a way that opens doors to further growth and improvement; it’s the opposite of anything that inhibits advancement (be it individual, societal, strategic, and so forth). Notable agents of positive change are prevalent throughout history: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Grace Hopper, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Steve Jobs, etc. – the list goes on, and will continue for as long as there’s someone out there fearless enough to innovate and trigger positive transformation.

So what does the role of a Media Buyer (or in some cases Media Planner) have to do with any of this? You got it – Media Buyers are just as capable of shaking things up, of doing the right things to achieve change, facilitating both individual career growth and customer satisfaction. The catch: they have to do things differently.

Yet in a fast growing industry pulsating with competitive energy, is standing out from the pack really possible? After speaking with a once upon a time Media Buyer who’s seen it all throughout his near ten-year tenure, it turns out the answer is straightforwardly twofold. Yes. But.

Not too long ago (albeit long enough given today’s pace of change), most Assistant Directors were age 30 and above, and were required to have at least eight years’ industry experience. Fast forward to today and Media Buyers are movin’ on up in half the time, landing the Assistant Director title in three or four years. This, however, does not necessarily equate to more positive change in the industry. It all comes down to the change agent’s level of real impact, which is independent of title.

But before we get back to how today’s Media Buyers are creating positive change – and we’ll see that these agents are far from an extinct breed – let’s take a closer look at the day in the life of most Media Buyers; the ones with potential for change, but no cigar. With fewer years in the industry, the majority of Media Buyers are understandably unaware of the change they’re capable of achieving – a lack of trial and error, combined with uncertainly of even their own opinion, can indeed play contributing roles. And so today’s Media Buyers hesitate to test the waters, relying solely on what they know (or what they think they know) to do the job. They’re also divided into two separate groups – both perhaps unknowingly stalling progress…

Group 1 – The Norms. These Media Buyers are easy to spot. This group thrives on one extreme end of the spectrum, operating solely according to the status quo, and serving their clients the same old, same old. Whatever the reason for their seemingly discernable apathy – be it a lack of concrete experience in the field, or steadfast reliance on sticking to only what’s been tried and true – executing differently comes as a challenge for this group. Novel ideas and innovation beware.

Group 2 – The Talkers. This group of Media Buyers can talk a good game, honing in on the right stuff, at the right time. Existing on the opposite end of the spectrum, the talkers don’t shy away from change. Instead, they face it head on, spewing grand ideas and making big promises. Only problem, their impressive PowerPoint slides lack any tangible application. Take, for example, the inception and rise of social media. Back in the day, the talkers – they talked; they advised just about everyone who’d listen on the benefits of a brands engaging their consumers using anecdotal tips and tricks. Social media gave the consumer a different kind of platform – one that changed the game relationship marketing forever – and the talkers jumped all over it.

But when it came time to act and demonstrate the impact that having relationships with consumers via social media can have on their clients’ business outcomes, the talkers faltered. They didn’t have the tools needed to solve the challenge of executing on actual sales, or measurable results. This was all possible, of course, but because the talkers’ change agent act was all an illusion, a byproduct of confidence, they left the action to someone else.

It can also be said that both groups have good intentions, but they lack the urge to diversify and innovate (crucial for reaching today’s sought-after and capricious Millennial audience), thereby missing out on real opportunities to benefit their clients. When it comes to buying media, Media Buyers are paid to make smart and creative decisions – which all too often involves setting what you know aside and replacing that knowledge for something radically different, bringing new (and hopefully profitable) ideas to the table. Which finally introduces us to the third group of Media Buyers…

stand out

Group 3 – The Perfect Mix. This group encompasses leaders who forego the status quo. The Perfect Mix are change agents who may speak softly, but who come well-prepared to make an impact in the form of tangible ROI, with the end goal of achieving actual business outcomes. Mixing innovation with practical business strategies, these Media Buyers are smart and nimble, progressing because it’s in their nature to foster positive change.

Going back to the social media example, The Perfect Mix was just as engaged as The Talkers, but there was one major difference in their approach – they invested in social media differently, moving past the hype and answering the questions needed to move forward with results. Connecting the dots between education and impact, this group revealed an increase in actual sales from social media initiatives; showing, for instance, that call center activity increased as interactions on Twitter increased. The Perfect Mix thanks the Talkers for the introduction, and steps forward to embrace technology and show actual impact on their client’s business.

This group can easily move on to any position in the industry by virtue of taking on different approaches, going beyond satisfying the client with applications of progressive initiatives. The Perfect Mix aspires to break the norm with more than a striking presentation or a Press Release, so it’s of little wonder why that this group is particularly effective at influencing their organization or clients to spend both time and money on adopting new solutions.


The Perfect Mix of Media Buyers is out there, and they’re fundamentally changing the landscape with data targeted media buying. And while we’ll continue to run into the Norms and the Talkers, relying on these personalities to raise awareness, it’s the Perfect Mix that truly tests the market and pushes things forward.

What’s Perfect Mix up to today, this very minute? Let’s quickly examine some hypothetical initiatives that a positive change agent is likely to work on to advance client brand presence; utilizing different (often unknown to the client) approaches to stay ahead.

The quantifiable difference in Programmatic Advertising and Marketing: Everyone’s going programmatic, so we’ll let Group 1 and Group 2 pitch you the basics. Group 3, on the other hand, is realizing what’s missing in programmatic – exploring new and practical opportunities to measure and scale their clients’ programmatic strategies. ownerIQ is the leading programmatic solution for shopper marketing and the only digital marketing platform built to drive outcomes at retail. The Perfect Mix is moving past programmatic to programmatic excellence, possible with the aid of relevant, scalable, and most importantly transparent data.

Second-party data: The Perfect Mix views second-party data as the secret sauce in Programmatic Advertising and Marketing – especially when their client is a brand or a retailer. Positive change agents are taking advantage of the symbiotic relationship between retailers and brands, recognizing that the two parties are already seeing strategic benefits from transparently sharing their first-party data with one another. Building on this, successful Media Buyers are becoming stickier with their clients by helping them wrap their minds around the necessity of acting now; advising and guiding their clients on the right path to creatively applying 2nd party data sharing to their advertising and marketing goals.

The world of second-party data sharing is here. Savvy Media Buyers are acting as both representatives and guardians of their clients’ data, thereby helping their clients increase brand competitiveness and overall sales.

Looking for more information on 2nd party data? We’ve got you covered. Access our complimentary eBook Not All Data Parties Are Created Equal today and set yourself on the path to creating positive change.

Categories:Posts from 2015


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *