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Friday, June 24, 2016

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MEDIA PLANNER (THANK YOU, COMMITS!)

Poorvi Kothari (Class of 2014) wrote this piece for The Commits Chronicle in June 2016:

Before I joined Commits I had no idea that a role like media planning even existed. But thanks to our classes with Mala Ma’am (Malavika Harita, CEO of Saatchi Focus), I not only learnt a lot about advertising but I also got introduced to some great roles, like those of media planners.

And that’s the beauty of Commits. You can come in without even knowing what you want to do or what you are capable of, but one thing is for sure, you’ll leave with a vision, direction, and goal in life.

POORVI AT HER DESK AT THE GROUPM OFFICE IN BENGALURU.

So what exactly is media planning? When I say I work as a media planner, people usually get a little excited and ask, oh, so you are in the TV industry? To which I politely say no. Then they jump to the next possibility: Oh, so then you are a journalist? To which I again say no. As I start explaining how the advertising world works, they become impatient and ask, oh, so you make ads? I say no, I just plan them. By then, even though they haven’t understood what “plan” means in this context they give up and say, oh, okay, that sounds good. 

So, yes, “media planner” is not a profession that everyone gets right away, like “journalist” or “copywriter”. Let me, therefore, try to put it in simple terms: Imagine a mind-blowing advertisement that never reaches its target audience. What good is the ad then? Media planners ensure that a brand’s ad is served up to the right audience. We are like distributors.

After an ad is created, media planners think of the best ways to reach out to the brand’s target audience (be it print, TV, radio, or digital). This involves a lot of statistical analysis as well as number-crunching. Media budgets are huge, typically in crores of rupees. Using this money to effectively reach out to a million consumers in the target audience is a big challenge.

I could go on about everything that happens in media planning, or at work, or at client meetings where we are grilled for explanations about why we are spending this much on a particular medium/channel/programme/website/newspaper, etc., or what the rationale is behind a particular strategy. We are talking big bucks here so, often, we play the role of lawyers, accountants, strategists, and investment bankers.

POORVI WITH HER TEAM MEMBER, COMMITSCION REYA DUTTA (CLASS OF 2015).

To sum up, media planning is the business side of advertising. It is not all about numbers, though. To me, media planning is a good mix of creativity and ingenuity combined with a knack for identifying key insights about what we refer to as media consumption. What I really love is how beautifully numbers can tell us stories, and the best part is when you are trying to sell a story and your job becomes so much easier because you can do so on the back of some powerful data.

Creative agencies feel proud when their TV commercials are seen on air, but for us it’s satisfying when people say, Hey, did you see that ad? It’s all over the place, man! That’s when I know, okay, I did a decent job there.
  • Here are three ads whose media plans were prepared by Poorvi and her team:



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