Media Planner: Job Description, Salary and Career Outlook
Media planners study different types of media to determine where, when and how businesses should advertise their products. Although the market research field, which includes the media planning profession, is estimated to grow, competition is expected to be fierce.
Media planners advise businesses on how to transmit advertising messages using various types of media, including radio, television, Internet and billboards. Also referred to as market researchers, analysts and specialists, media planners study demographics and use mathematical formulas to determine the cheapest and most effective way businesses can get product messages to target audiences.
In order to determine the type of media used by specific consumers and businesses, media planners study the content in print and online newspapers and magazines, television programs, social media websites, billboards, bus advertisements and other mediums. They evaluate the demographics of specific media users, accumulating data on the times and places consumers typically access particular advertising sources and for how long. Media planners specialize in understanding how people relate to advertising content based on location, setting and means. Additionally, they gather information about marketing practices of competitors.
Media planners enter aggregated information into mathematical formulas to help them determine a media strategy to present to businesses looking to advertise their products to their target markets. This strategy includes the plan for which avenues have the best chances of reaching a target market most productively and cost effectively. Media planners can also act as media buyers, finding available advertising space and negotiating prices. They make sure the advertisements appear where and when they're supposed to.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that market research analysts and specialists made a median average salary of $60,570 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). The majority of them worked for professional firms and consulting agencies, though other employers included insurance carriers, computer manufacturers and service-based industries, such as salons and financial institutions. The highest payed media planners worked in personal care services, averaging nearly $114,000 per year.
The BLS stated that market research jobs, like media planning, were expected to grow a higher-than-average 28% percent during the 2008-2018 decade. Those that have graduate education and knowledge of multiple media outlets should experience better job opportunities. Companies were expected to employ media planners and market researchers in order to get the highest return on advertising dollars.
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