Thinking about a career in media planning? Or looking for a way to jumpstart your media planning career? Why not aim for the top?
This industry is always looking for great people at all levels, and there seems to be no ceiling for true talent. So, here are some things you can do to make sure that you not only sustain your career growth but do so at the highest level. The best part is that you can do most of this within the confines of your job.
Find your niche
Learn one thing better than anybody in the agency.
Specialists and experts are highly valued. Pick something that you do regularly (competitive analysis, R/F runs, demographic analysis, third-party ad serving analytics…you get the picture) and go as deep as you can with it.
Take reach and frequency analysis as an example. Don’t just learn how to do them in the medium you are working in; study up on use of this tool for other media and experiment. You may learn some things from one medium that you can apply to others. Then, learn how to accurately combine reach and frequency data from disparate media into an overall plan R/F. And learn how different plans of the same level show varying frequency distributions.
Whatever you are studying read the documentation and take all of the training that is available. Then, apply what you have learned and quietly let those around you know that you can help them out when they are tackling this tool or process. The word will spread, and you will gain respect and visibility among higher-ups. Then, over time, broaden yourself by taking on other initiatives to grow your expertise and reputation.
Think like a producer
Learn how to do everything, or know someone who does.
Tap into the other experts in your media department. They may be people outside of your chain of command. They may even be in another office of your company. When asked for help, people are generally flattered and will go out of their way to assist in solving your problem.
Keep the big picture in mind: develop a true understanding of all media from a management standpoint and know someone who is an expert in each.
If there is no expert in your company, find someone willing to learn it, or learn it yourself. This includes TV, radio, newspapers, OOH, magazines, web, search, WOM, guerrilla and emerging technologies like web video, VOD, third screen, UGM, podcasting and blogs, as well as user-generated advertising, RSS, advergaming, social networks and virtual worlds.
Pick up the loose initiative
If you ask, there are always things on management's plate or within the maintenance of a brand that have not been gotten to. Find out what they are and take them on. Again, following the rules above, you don’t actually have to do all the work, just see that it gets done.
For example, work with other planning or buying groups in your agency to collect all of the buys done in a single medium by vehicle on a post analysis versus pre-buy or planning basis. You will learn a lot by looking at the variations on pre-buy versus post-buy, and by studying the trends; you’ll learn which vehicles have the potential to over deliver.
This is something you and others can use in your future planning.
Make your superiors know that you will deliver and go the extra mile on these projects; they have great visibility.
Next week – making friends with the creatives!