In today’s complex advertising landscape, great ad campaigns require media and messaging to work together to produce meaningful results. Media planners are the investment advisors of advertising, making good media planners invaluable in the advertising and promotion industry.

Simply defined, media planning is the art and science of deciding where, when and how often a brand’s ads will be placed. Media planners have a deep understanding of their target audience and place compelling messages in the right place to produce a desired result. Strategically using media consumption research on a given target market enables a media planner to deliver an ad efficiently and effectively to achieve the brand’s intended goal. These goals — or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — might be for branding, or they could be for direct response purposes.

Today’s media landscape is rapidly evolving. New technologies allow advertisers to target by audiences and not just media content, so understanding how media placement and delivery work are critical to success. Media planners need to have a solid grasp of both traditional and digital media channels in order to strategically communicate a brand’s message. These channels include traditional media such as television, radio, print and out-of-home, as well as digital media such as display banners, search engine marketing, social media, mobile and email. They also include digital video, audio, sponsorships, native and even content creation where the brand becomes the publisher.

In addition, successful media planners:

  • have the ability to analyze and interpret media consumption research
  • can think creatively to identify new media channel opportunities
  • understand consumer behavior
  • can analyze and interpret media delivery data

Students who focus their coursework on media will have access to and will learn how to use media research tools to help them develop insights and formulate a target audience. This interest area also teaches the skills necessary to turn media research and consumer behavior into a cohesive media plan. Focus also is offered on the sales side of the industry for those who want to go into media sales.

Skill sets valued in media

  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Highly detail-oriented
  • Desire to learn about evolving media channels
  • Ability to work both with a team and individually
  • Good organizational skills
  • Strong people skills
  • Strategic, analytical thinker
  • Ability to sell ideas, research and media
  • Deadline-oriented
  • Data-driven

Careers in media

Recommended elective coursework

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