My Radio Advertising PSA: Agencies vs. Third Party Media Buyers

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Tuesday, Jul 29

I’m a sales guy.

As the person who is tapped with convincing you to use Strategic Media over other radio agencies, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be some element of my pitching you in this article. The bulk of it, though, is a “public service announcement” for those who are currently advertising on the radio or who are considering it. (And I promise to warn you before I get to the pitch part.)

I can understand why some marketers never even ask if their radio agency is purchasing media directly or if the agency is using the services of a third party. After all, you’ve contracted with your agency. It would make sense for you to assume that they’re the ones doing the work. But, that isn’t always the case, and, too often, agencies aren’t upfront about it.

Why does it matter? Well, here are five reasons.

#1 Communication

Remember the Telephone Game? As kids we sat around whispering a word or sentence into the ear of the nearest person in the circle, and then we’d all laugh when the misheard and misinterpreted statement would make its way to the last person. Well, think of the experience of using third-party media agencies like that, but without the whimsical nod to childhood. When there are two agencies at play, there is much more possibility for a failure in communication. Vital reports and data can be translated inaccurately or incompletely.

#2 Collaboration

The most successful campaigns are close partnerships – collaborations between the agency and the client. You might have insights into your customers’ buying behaviors and demographics that, if provided to a direct response radio advertising agency, could result in unique approaches to the media purchased on your behalf. But if you’re working for an agency that is using a third party to purchase media, the sense of real collaboration between the active parties is lost.

#3 Data Transparency

Some agencies (not ours) won’t share information regarding their true media costs or any discounts they might be receiving for bulk purchases. Not only does this leave you blind to your profits, but the media also tends to be pre-purchased and not specific to the needs of your campaign. Agencies like these may agree to generate a certain number of orders with your radio media, and once that threshold is met, they keep all of the upside. When you’re working with a direct response radio advertising agency, part of their job (if they’re doing it right) is to provide full transparency of your data, so that you and your agency can work together to distill insights, boost campaign performance and build lifetime ROI.

#4 Data Privacy

You have an obvious interest in ensuring that sensitive data is not made available to anyone but you and the agency with which you have contracted. But when you work with an agency that utilizes third-party media buyers, your proprietary data is shared externally. This means there’s a much greater potential for it to fall into the hands of your competitors.

#5 Money

Oh right – the bottom line; or, rather, your bottom line. When you’re with an agency that is purchasing your media directly, it’s in the agency’s best interest to make your campaign a success. Rather than keep your campaign at the status quo and quietly collecting their percentage (or hidden profits) a direct response agency will dive into your data on a granular level in order to improve outcomes. When you work with an agency that uses a third-party to purchase media, there is less concern about how much money you’re making and more concern over the need to cover the fees for both your agency and the third party. And according to Boston Consulting Group research, these markups can average anywhere between 40% and 100%.

I could probably come up with two or three more reasons why it’s better to go with an agency that buys media directly, but at some point, I do have to get to the sales pitch.

SPOILER ALERT: You are about to read the sales pitch. (See, I told you I’d warn you.)

Strategic Media doesn’t use third parties, and we don’t pre-buy media. Instead, we make purchases entirely based on your needs with the goal of ongoing optimization. All media decisions are rationalized with hard data to support the schedules we purchase on your behalf.  Our model is based on the premise that our clients see all of their profits and data, not just a portion, and we don’t consider ourselves successful until our clients reach their goals.

That’s it. Not too painful, right?

And, now, the ball’s in your court. I’m good at what I do in large part because the team with which I work is good at what it does. If you give me a call or drop me an email, I will show you how Strategic Media can help build your customer base and your profit margin. My contact info is below, and like all of the team here at Strategic Media (from our CEO to our Accounting Team) you can reach me on the spot.

If you’re not ready to call, then at the very least, please do yourself a favor and ask your agency if they’re buying their own media. After all, if your agency hasn’t mentioned that they work with a third party, what else are they hiding?

Bob Leonard
Office: 207.553.1462
Cell: 207.838.7684

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