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Media Buying on a Budget

In marketing, you should have a budget prepared for any venture that you undertake. Keep in mind though, one area where you’ll certainly need to stretch your budget as much as possible is media buying. Media buying requires a great deal negotiation. Through the negotiation process, your goal is to place your brand’s advertisements in the most effective media channels.

The better the channel quality and the better the placement, the more you’ll be able to maximize on your media buying efforts. While there are dozens of marketing tactics out there, media buying remains one of the most effective. Below are a few ways you can help your dollar work smarter, not harder.

The Pillars of Media Buying

Media buying is built on three pillars: networking, investigation, and negotiation. The best media buyers who are able to work within the constraints of their budgets are fully capable in each of these areas.

The networking phase is essentially the relationships that the media buyer is able to build with numerous and effective channel owners.To get the best space, you want to know the right people in the industry.

The next pillar is investigation. The investigation phase includes doing the research necessary to determine which venues are the most appropriate and effective for distribution. With that, keep in mind that the appropriate venue is going to be determined by your target market. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have a strong grasp of who you are marketing to.

Finally, negotiation is the final phase of the process and it involves discussing fair prices for the best media spots available. When looking for the best spots, you should do your best to find the greatest deals that will help you make a profit at the end of the day.

Consider Outdoor Media Buying

Removing your advertising and media buying efforts from the web can be an effective option, and a cheap one too. An increasingly popular form of media buying includes outdoor media buying. Outdoor media buying is advantageous because it is essentially 24/7 advertising, it is economical, it impacts viewers, and there is not a great deal of direct competition from those in the same industry.

For the best outdoor media buying options while on a budget, you should maximize through choosing the best location possible and also try to integrate your advertisement with your online marketing. An example would be to feature your brand on a billboard and to figure out an easy way to direct viewers to your website.

For the best results, it is always advisable to keep track of every form of media buying and to try and survey viewers on how they reached out. This way, you can save money by weeding out the less effective options.

A Free Campaign Test

One of the biggest mistakes that marketing professionals make when media buying is failing to ask for what many media sellers will offer – a free campaign test. A free test is the option to run a free test campaign using the media outlet that you’re looking at. If the seller agrees, you’ll be able to tweak your campaign and determine whether your money is being well spent.

By fixing the issues at the onset and determine whether the media outlet is effective, you’ll be able to save money in the long run and also ensure that you’re making the best investment possible with your small budget. If you do ask for a free campaign test, it may also be helpful to negotiate with the publisher and ask for a highly discounted price if they aren’t willing to offer a free test.

Aim for a Few Extras

Another strategy that you can try using is to negotiate for as many extras as possible when media buying. This option really does work best if you have a good relationship with the publisher or if you have reached the publisher through a mutual friend. In most cases, publishers are willing to work with you if they need your business and you can offer a continuous relationship with the publisher. At the onset, it is just advisable to let your interests be known.

Real-Time Bidding

Real-time bidding is one of those golden methods that very few marketers take advantage of. This type of media buying can be very budget friendly and it can help you snag a great publisher that can offer you an effective media outlet. Real-time bidding is an online auction for media buys. The highest bidder gets the set number of impressions.

The great thing about this option is that there are also many real-time bidding websites that you can check out. Each one will display a diverse array of publishers so that you can decide upon the best one that will suit your needs and your budget.

Look at the Contract

While this may seem like a given, it is more common for media buyers to actually not look at the contract. Reviewing the contract can be immensely helpful for your marketing and for your budget because it can help you review exactly what you negotiated. In some instances, publishers will toss in clauses that can cost you financially in the long-run.

By reviewing these clauses and looking out for your interest, you can protect brand and your brand’s budget. Also, if something seems amiss in the contract, don’t hesitate to negotiate and discuss what you would like amended. Most of the time, publishers are highly flexible and willing to work with you and your needs.


Media buying doesn’t need to break the bank, especially media buying that is effective and worthwhile. It will take some time to find the right deals and publishers that are willing to work with you, but when you find something that works for you, you’ll be able to maximize on the opportunity and grow your brand to the point that you want to be at. It also doesn’t hurt to be creative and flexible through the entire process.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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