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How to become an Advertising Media Planner

advertising media planner careers

What does a Advertising Media Planner do?

Advertising media planners decide which media to use for advertising campaigns. This may include radio, television and newer media such as the Internet and text messaging.

Working from a brief about the product or service to be advertised, they devise strategic plans appropriate to the target audience and available budget. They base plans on industry statistics such as National Readership Surveys (NRS), viewing figures from BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) and the Target Group Index directory. Because precise targeting is essential, additional research may also be commissioned.

Account planners monitor public reaction to the advertising campaign, and adapt the campaign if necessary.

Planners present a media and cost schedule to the client, recommending the most appropriate media and where and when is best to advertise the product or service. When this is agreed by the client, the planner briefs the media buyer. In smaller agencies the roles of planner and media buyer may be combined.

What's the working environment like working as a Advertising Media Planner?

Working hours are normally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, but may vary in order to meet deadlines. Some agencies have flexible working hours on the understanding that staff will work late if a job needs finishing.

Most of the work is office-based, but some time may be spent visiting clients and media owners.

What does it take to become a Advertising Media Planner?

To be an advertising media planner you should:

  • be able to work with a range of people and as part of a team have good written and verbal communication skills
  • have good numerical and statistical skills with the ability to think strategically
  • have a thorough understanding of the media and the business side of advertising
  • be computer literate
  • have stamina and drive, and be able to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • be well organised and capable of careful record keeping
  • be persuasive and tactful, with good negotiating skills
  • be able to make prompt decisions.

Advertising Media Planner Career Opportunities

Advertising is a very popular career among graduates, and there is a lot of competition for jobs. Agencies with a structured graduate recruitment programme are listed in the IPA Factfile, which can be accessed on the IPA website, although the best approach may be to contact agencies directly. The website also has access to job vacancies IPA Jobs Online.

Specialist media agencies have developed in response to the growth of new media industries such as cable and digital TV, and the Internet, which may provide further job opportunities.

Career progression is based upon experience and ability. Gaining qualifications such as those mentioned previously may be advantageous. Promotion to senior or director level is possible. Head-hunting is very common, as is movement between agencies.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Advertising Media Planner that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Advertising Association
7th Floor North
Artillery House
11-19 Artillery Row
Tel: 020 7340 1100

CAM Foundation
Moor Hall
Tel: 01628 427120

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
44 Belgrave Square
Tel: 020 7235 7020

Media Research Group (MRG)

Account Planning Group
16 Creighton Avenue
N10 1NU
Tel: 020 8444 3692

Facts and Stats:

  • The Advertising Standards Association received 589 complaints in 1998 against the Irn Bru drinks advert that featured a cow with the caption ''When I''m a burger I want to be washed down by Irn Bru''
  • The first colour advert on TV in 1969 was for Birds Eye peas
  • Salman Rushdie once worked as an advertising copy writer
  • Advertising is not permitted on the Champs Elysées in Paris
  • ''Advertising insults my intelligence'', say 42 per cent of people in the UK, 23 per cent in Ireland and 49 per cent in the USA

Courses to help you become a Advertising Media Planner