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Choosing a Japan media buying services firm can be a difficult and confusing task. This report offers guidance in choosing the buyer that is right for your company.

1. Cost

As a general rule, established media buyers and advertising agencies get a 15% discount from television and radio stations. This means that an ad you would buy for $100 will cost the buyer only $85, the difference being retained by the buyer as payment for services. For this reason, using a media buyer shouldn’t cost your company any more than doing all of the work yourself.

Depending on the size of your budget, some buyers may rebate a portion of their discount back to you. While this may seem attractive, it may not be the best strategy – as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. As you’ll see from the other five ways to choose a Japan media buying services company, additional services are important, and will often increase the percentage that the buyer will charge. With large placement budgets, these services are well worth the investment.

2. Media Strategy vs. Media Placement

Of the many companies for which we buy media, some of our clients are very educated and some, quite frankly, are not. That’s okay, but you need to make sure you know where you fall in that category. If you are experienced in buying media, you might find yourself more comfortable with a buying agency that merely places your buy. On the other hand, if media buying isn’t your strong suit, you will get much better results with someone who has the ability to help you develop your media strategy.

As you begin the process of choosing your media buying agency, first identify where you need the most assistance. In reality, anyone with money can buy media. It takes someone who is good at it to do it well. Make sure that your buyer knows that you expect him or her to conduct the research and verify that the buy will yield the best results.

3. Experience

As stated above, anyone can buy media. Obviously, you want someone who will get you the best placements at the best possible price. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to gauge a good buyer from a bad buyer, and although the media sales reps know, they aren’t likely to tell you. When you explore your media buying services agency, ask about the staff that do the actual buying and negotiating. Our agency, as well as many others out there, choose to hire people who have sold media before. Why? It often yields better results.

In negotiating a media buy, it’s all about give and take – both sides have to win. If the buyer “wins” too much, the result is often pre-empts (when your advertisement is pulled and replaced by something else) and less than optimal schedules. If the media outlet wins too much, you end up paying more than you should for advertising. Inside experience is extremely helpful in a buying negotiation. An experienced buyer will understand both sides of the equation. He or she will know where there is wiggle room and how to get the most out of a budget while keeping the integrity of the buy intact.

4. Posting

Perhaps one of the most important services that a media buying agency can offer is posting. Many buyers won’t talk to you about posting because, unfortunately, they don’t do it. As a matter of fact, few people even know what posting is or understand how it works. Here’s a quick explanation.

When you buy media, you are charged based on the number of people that the station predicts will be watching a particular show. Of course, like weather predictions, media companies can easily miss the mark. Sometimes more people watch than were expected; sometimes less people watch. If more people watch, you made a lucky buy and got more than your money’s worth. On the other hand, if a placement falls short, the media outlet owes you those eyeballs. Of course, the station doesn’t tell you when they under-perform; you have to tell them that you want ads to compensate for their shortfall.

Posting is done on a weekly, monthly or quarterly schedule where the buy is compared to the actual viewers or listeners. When you are short, the station owes you. If you get more than you paid for, nothing happens. If you aren’t posting, you could be throwing large sums of money away. As a matter of fact, in 2008, as a result of the writer’s strike and the election, our agency found an average of 25% under-performance on TV for our clients buying in North Carolina. In other words, the majority of television advertisers in North Carolina completely lost 25% of their advertising investment. 25%!

As you might guess, posting takes a great deal of time which is why many buyers don’t offer it as a service (or they offer it, but don’t promote it). Often, when one buyer is much less expensive than another buyer, the less expensive buyer is not posting. In most instances, it’s a better idea to pay the higher percentage because you will get back that money – and more – through the gains you get from posting.

5. Tracking

The best way to know if your advertising is working is to track it. There are many ways to track advertising – some that cost time and some that cost money. Either way, tracking is an important part to any media campaign.

For some buyers, the only tracking that is done is tracking the buying schedule. While this is very important (see Posting above), tracking the success of your advertising is also important, as it will help you determine future media buys. Many media buying agencies use creative methods to track success. Sometimes, this might be as simple as setting up a series of unique phone numbers for each ad. In some cases, however, tracking can be very involved.

When you sit down with possible media buying agencies, make sure to discuss their experience with ad tracking. Often, they will be hesitant to offer their best ideas before you sign a contract, but you should be able to get a feel on their tracking skills.

6. Other Services

As you know, many media buying companies are self-contained agencies that offer no other services. On the other hand, there are also buyers that are part of agencies offering a wide range of marketing services. There are benefits to both models.

“Pure” media buying companies focus on that one aspect of their business, and couldn’t care less where you get your creative or other services. Depending on your specific circumstances, this could be a good thing.

On the other hand, there are also benefits to working with an agency that offers a wide range services including advertising production. First and foremost, integrated agencies are often able to suggest ideas that go beyond just your buy. Further, producing and buying the media helps streamline the process for you, and in most cases, makes for a stronger buy since the buyer has an intimate understanding of what the advertising is hoping to accomplish.

In the end, it’s important to know as much about your media buyer as possible so you can choose which services might be of best use to you. Also, if you are already working with an advertising agency, discuss this with your buyer so that he or she can make sure that you have the best experience possible.

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