Sarah Richmond-Basedow

Leveraging your added value in a media buy

By Sarah Richmond-Basedow on May 31, 2016

Why should you work with a media strategist or media buyer to place your media in higher education?

Now more than ever, higher education marketing dollars are being stretched thin. It’s no wonder so many institutions are bringing the media buying in house. Makes sense right? In theory it sounds like an easy cost-saving solution. But does your team have the expertise to carry out this function, or are you just asking someone to wear another hat? Moreover, does that team have the experience to get the best out of your dollar?

It is a media strategist’s full time job to place media. It is our job to stay up on industry trends, research (we have research resources in house), shop, compare, nurture media vendor relations, read through proposals, review ratings, negotiate, attend webinars and seminars, track, measure, report, and prove ROI. Additionally, negotiating and securing added value is part of the job – getting you the most impact for the money.

Oh, AND we field all the sales calls.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years as a media strategist, it’s that in order for placements to succeed, you need to rely on someone who is going to devote their time, energy and resources to understanding the audience and their consumption habits. Because remember, it’s about them. Not you.

It helps to have a third party who is able to keep the audiences’ wants and needs top of mind. Oftentimes, there are many influencers who come through internal doors who can be biased. As a non-biased, third-party resource, we strive to recommend the best media vehicles/outlets to our higher education clients with the best targeting capabilities to reach the target audience.

Sometimes, media placement is just easy enough to be dangerous. What do I mean? Sometimes, vendors offer incentives that are more valuable than the actual media value and that can be … distracting. And sure, setting up Google Adwords is easy, but what about the bidding, the monitoring? Are your landing pages mobile optimized … how are you tracking and measuring activity and goals? Do you love science and math? Because there is a science to Google Adwords algorithms. We have a team of folks who can help assess this. Many clients want to start running an Adwords campaign and think that will be the solution, but it is a time intensive investment, and if it isn’t monitored and optimized regularly, you could be doing yourself a disservice.

But enough talk. Here’s a good example of the value we were able to bring to one of our higher education clients:

Recently we were asked to help increase enrollment and community awareness for a university. We partnered with a local radio station group and negotiated a robust schedule across three of their stations. The station group threw in bonus impressions on their websites, which is nice, and somewhat standard these days (although “nothing to sneeze at,” as my mother says). Beyond that, we worked together to create new, customized opportunities – regular on-air time with university staff, students and coaches. This has grown into a weekly coach’s show and has featured live, on campus broadcasts. It is a great way to break through media clutter and offers tremendous added value to the media schedule for the client.

One of the favorite parts about my job is cultivating and nurturing media vendor partnerships and coming up with outside the box ideas. Choosing to work with a media strategist can optimize your marketing dollars and bring a new level of creativity to your higher education marketing campaign.

Sarah Richmond-Basedow is a Media Strategist at Core Creative.