Are You Considering Purchasing Media Advertising?

One of the many different business courses I teach is an Innovation and Entrepreneurial Management course.  Because of this and also from running my own business as an author and speaker, I am always interested in social media  and ways of getting a business noticed. There comes a point when a business or entrepreneurial venture has grown to the point that they are looking for additional help with advertising. 

Are you considering purchasing media advertising?  Today’s guest is Scott Harkey with Harkey-Owens Advertising (http://www.owensharkey.com) .  Formerly with CBS Radio where he negotiated with agencies in Los Angeles and New York, Scott has had many years of advertising experience before starting his own advertising agency. Harkey claims that many companies are not getting the most out of their advertising dollar. “It is very important to have knowledge of television, radio, billboard and print companies and how they price their inventory.  I have seen some advertisers pay $10 for a commercial and another advertiser pay $500 for the same commercial.  If you don’t know what your competition is doing and negotiating, it can be a very expensive lesson.”

One reason Harkey-Owens has been successful is due to their analysis of how to purchase media.  Harkey stated, “The best way to negotiate with media companies is to find months or weeks where they have excess inventory.  Partner up with stations to come up with promotions to cut through the clutter.  The more you work with the companies and the more knowledge you have about their business, the better deals you can make.  It’s a simple supply and demand; buy when they have excess supply and you’ll get a better deal.”

Harkey claims it is very important to know the station’s “report card” that shows their revenue ranking each month. According to Harkey, “What most people don’t know is when a Radio or TV station finishes 1st or 5th in revenue, it can be separated by a few thousand dollars.  By adding an extra $10,000 to one station at the end of the month or by taking it to a competitor may be a big enough swing to get a sales manager a promotion or have them looking for a job. Because a General Sales Manager at a TV or Radio Station are not only adding $10,000 to their revenues but are also taking away from their competitors at the same time. If General Sales Managers at TV or Radio companies have the inventory they are very likely to give you as the buyer great deal.”

Harkey likens the way media is sold (on a supply and demand basis) to how airlines sell seats. “If an airline doesn’t sell a seat on the plane before it takes off, they earn nothing.  Sometimes you arrange to fly ‘Stand by’ for a deeply discounted rate.”

If you are considering purchasing media to promote your business, be sure you have done your homework.  Check out how long your media buyer has been in business.  Many get into the business without prior experience, only to move on after a short while.  Find out what method they use to purchase media.  Is it strictly based on statistics or are they negotiating on your behalf?  Negotiating or as Harkey put it, “Buying around the edge”, may be more effective.  

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