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How to Negotiate with Media Vendors Like a Pro

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 02:08 PM |


Buying media for clients means ensuring we get them the best deal possible while nurturing our partnerships with media reps. This is how we create successful campaigns for clients and lasting relationships with effective media properties.

While it’s undoubtedly easier for a third party to work with media reps and negotiate contracts for clients, CMOs can also score some fantastic deals with media outlets, provided they know what they’re doing.

Here’s how you can negotiate with media vendors like a pro:

Do Some HomeworkDo Some Homework

Media reps don’t have time for tire kickers. It’s important that you do some homework before making any buys so you know exactly which properties and channels make the most sense for your campaign. There’s no sense wasting your time or anyone else’s meeting with someone who reps a property that doesn’t cater to your demographic.

Once you’ve selected your channels, you’ll also want to do some homework before approaching a media rep so you know exactly what they offer and at what price points. The more knowledgeable you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

Leverage Your Media Partner’s Expertise

Media reps know their product offerings inside and out, so it’s important to pick their brains. Let your rep know you want them to be really creative and think of innovative programs that will help your campaign stand out. Be clear of your wants – you want to break through the clutter and noise – you want reach – and you want it all to fit well within your budget. Reps are great at being able to come up with unique plans that will help campaigns be successful.

Make Yourself Available

Remember, you’re not just buying media for your organization, you’re forming long-term relationships with people. Because of this, it’s important to show some common courtesy with reps. Be sure to return their calls and emails and make time to listen to their updates and new ideas. If you talk to media reps only when you need something, you’ll never forge a real partnership. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your buys.

Play a Little Hard to Get at First

At the end of the day, you want to get the best deal possible. You also want to earn some respect. For both of these reasons you should NEVER accept the first proposal. You don’t need to be nasty about it, just smile and politely say that you are super excited about working with them, but that your job is on the line and you have to look like a hero when you report back to management. Just remind the rep that the last thing you want is to have to cancel the program down the road for lack of performance, and tell them the price needs to come down and the value-added placements need to go up.

Keep Future Buys in MindKeep Future Buys in Mind

Advanced renewals typically get rewarded, and the deals get better and better as your relationship blooms. When your rep knows you’ll be coming back for more business, they’ll naturally want to keep you very happy.

Making great media buys is not easy, but it can be done if you know exactly what you’re doing. And by following this advice, you stand a great chance of making smart buys and building relationships at the same time.

Having said that, not every marketing manager has the bandwidth to be their brand’s buyer. It’s important to be realistic. Using the services of a professional media buyer means you will get the best deals possible without adding one more thing to your already-full plate.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

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