Pitfalls of Buying Your Own Media

By Susie Brown

It’s easy to believe that buying your own media might be the right choice, and that anyone can contact a station to purchase a TV or radio schedule, speak with a sales representative and sign a contract. Although any station or vendor salesperson would be happy to sell you a media plan to help achieve goals, there are some key pitfalls and roadblocks that a media buyer and using an agency to plan and place media can help you avoid.

Using a media agency can help clients implement and manage marketing strategies to achieve their business goals. Media planners and buyers advise companies on how and where to advertise, maximize budget efficiencies, and present a positive picture of themselves to the public and local business community.

Relationships and Clout

Media buyers and agencies have the relationships with all media outlets in any specific market. Those relationships can span decades with a heritage local ad agency. The media world is a small and incestuous one in which we all work together at some point or some capacity in our careers. Building these relationships takes time and creates a willingness on the vendor’s side to negotiate further and further to garner the very best deals and packages for our clients.

Not only is the vendor relationship there, but more importantly, the spending power is also of value. The total spend of a media agency can far outweigh the spending of any individual account. Media agencies have the clout and can bundle their spending with a specific vendor or ownership group together, which can drive costs down with bulk pricing.

Data and Analysis

Every vendor in an individual market can be number one at something! It’s all how you look at the data and what parameters you use. Because of their data and planning expertise, as well as those vendor relationships, a media expert will know how to use media math and research tools to truly level-set the stations. Remember, dealing directly with a station means they will only want to sell their station to you, not the station that is actually the best fit for your target audience or business goals.

Taking Away Your To Do List

The daily ins and outs of maintaining a media schedule are time-consuming and tedious to take on in-house. Once the negotiating is completed and a campaign is booked, your buy needs to be maintained and optimized during flight, trafficking, invoicing, reconciling spots, and measuring effectiveness and efficiency. Using a media agency will help you delegate these tasks so you can focus on the big picture.


Some advertisers believe that using a media agency constitutes an unnecessary cost despite all the outlined services, and they prefer not to pay a commission as part of a media buy or budget. But here’s what the media outlets won’t tell you: In addition to more negotiating power, expertise, and access to research tools, placing your buys through an agency usually gives you an automatic 15% discount on rates that would not be available to the public, on top of the already lower negotiated rates. It’s an industry standard that the stations eat the cost to cover agency commission costs.

Want to learn more about how a media agency could help you save time and money while creating more effective ad campaigns? If you are re buying your own media, contact Redroc Austin today. We’ve been planning and buying media in Austin and across the country for over 25 years.

SUSIE BROWN is the Media Buyer/Planner at Redroc Austin. She is a traditional media expert with over 20 years of agency experience negotiating local spot broadcast, cable, OTT, radio and digital audio; focusing on building partnerships with vendors and efficiencies for clients.

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