Media Buying: Getting a Bang for your Buck (#2)

Media Buying: Getting a Bang for your Buck (#2)

This is Part 2 of an article about buying advertising in the B2B sector. It is written by Mark Bridger, director at Bridger Howes Limited (BH), a media buying and PR company. (Click here to read Part 1)

As I said in Part 1, I get asked a lot of questions about media buying. Here, I’ve collated some of my answers into a helpful, two-part guide that I hope helps you to navigate these choppy waters.

This article covers:

How do you choose between print, local, global, online, newsletters, etc.?

Is it important to build contingency into a budget?

Does print media have a future in equipment supply chains?

Should I buy media to get editorial coverage?

How do you choose between print, local, global, online, newsletters, etc.?

In terms of the geographical target audience, this would be determined with the client during the planning and budgeting phase. No campaign is the same, but I would always start with achieving the print objectives. Once these are locked in, I know how much budget I have for digital spend. BH has longstanding relationships with several sales teams, and I’ve even managed and worked alongside some of the people we are working with today. These relationships are key, and because we are buying across a spread of clients, everyone gets looked after. Many of the print deals we negotiate already include complimentary incentives such as banners and email blasts. If they don’t and we like a particular digital package, we will add it to the schedule.

As automation and technology increases in the sector, digital marketing will increase. Technology is moving fast across many industries and the solutions that some of our clients introduce fascinate me. Digital marketing is getting very clever. Most digital magazines allow advertisers to embed videos and links, for example. These are remarkable tools, and they create opportunities for marketeers at equipment manufacturers to get creative. All marketing plans should include a mixture of traditional media and digital. They complement each other and should be implemented with a focussed PR campaign.

The number of people opening digital issues and email newsletters is significant to any digital campaign. Think about open rates and engagement. Before buying banners on newsletters, ask how the current advertising banners are performing. How many people open the emails? How many clicks does each advert receive on average? Digital media isn’t only about click throughs—branding is significant too.

Remember, getting a true circulation number enables you to calculate the AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent). I can then determine what I think is a fair price to pay for the space before I start a negotiation.

Is it important to build contingency into a budget?

I would always advise on keeping something back for a rainy day. BH is regularly contacted by the media offering specials such as front cover packages, advertorials, and digital sponsorships. It helps if we are aware of any contingency so we can react quickly and secure the best deals. 

I was recently invited to a presentation of a new magazine launch for 2022. This is exciting activity to be associated with and an opportunity for many of our clients. Luckily, we had some contingency remaining and a couple of our customers have already jumped on board. 

Contingency isn’t always in the plan but often we are able to build a media schedule that is significantly under budget. We can make these spare advertising dollars work by investing them over a period. 

Do you look at trade shows to help allocate spend?

Absolutely. Some campaigns are targeted specifically around events. We like working with magazines that exhibit at shows as a strong footprint in their industry is necessary. Many publications offer bonus distribution from their stands or booths. These bumper issues give our clients access to many of the visitors walking the aisles. This year (2022) is a Bauma year, and anyone involved in the construction industry will have this show on their radar. Inevitably, we have bought media in many magazines that will be prominent in Munich, where the show takes place.

Does print media have a future in equipment supply chains?

Print media has a future in every industry.

I genuinely still believe that most people prefer reading articles in a magazine versus online. There’s nothing better than seeing a cool application or new product announcement printed in the pages of your favourite industry journal. I’m more likely to pick a trade magazine up three or four times before I’m finished with it. I keep many magazines on file. I very rarely return to a digital magazine; I’ll have a quick flick through and wait for my hard copy to arrive.

There are many debates about the longevity of print media, but for two decades magazine publishers have been worried about the impact that the internet and digital media will have on their businesses.

Will print survive? Absolutely. But it is in the hands of the publishing industry. After all, they decide on print runs and how much more margin they can make from cutting these back and replacing them with a digital version.

I sympathise and appreciate that some publications had to make some drastic cuts to circulation in the wake of the Covid outbreak. Arguably, readers were not going to the office and therefore the paper magazines were gathering dust. Delivering a digital issue in its place, is a strong publishing initiative for the current climate. Even though it is considerably cheaper and quicker to send a digital magazine instead of printing and mailing a copy, I’d like to see these print circulations come back when the world is more settled. We will see. 

Should I buy media to get editorial coverage?

Because of our magazine background my business partner and I have strong values when it comes to editorial quality and integrity. The BH media distribution list is very comprehensive, and our clients’ news and articles are published in a myriad of magazines, websites, and email newsletters. We don’t typically pay for editorial and nor do we expect to buy advertising in exchange for column inches. Editorial should be published on its merit.

The challenge is maintaining relationships with the sales and editorial teams. Understandably, salespeople get frustrated when a manufacturer doesn’t advertise but they see a full-page case study in their magazine each month. On the other hand, we are buying advertising space in publications that rarely publish our news. It works both ways. Magazines cannot survive without advertising revenues; we understand that. BH does try to support the publications that write about our clients.

As BH evolves and our media services expand, so does our intellectual property. We are challenged by our clients to research and source media in many diverse end user markets. Not just from an advertising perspective but also for specialised case studies. As we do this our knowledge of these markets increases and we are making many new friends and building relationships with both editorial and sales teams. BH is starting to open more doors, and our media distribution list evolves naturally every week. Our clients are benefitting from an improved all-round service.

Part 1 of this article covers:

Why use media buyers?

What if a client is worried that they’ll lose control?

What are agency commissions?

What does a media buyer need to start?

Another article in the series covers media packs and circulation audits.

Mark Bridger