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Big Data Plus Small Agency: Your Ticket to a Great Media Buying

In this age of shrinking marketing budgets and rapidly diversifying media, every advertising dollar has to go just that much further than before. Whether your business is small or large, you can no longer afford to be guessing on your ad expenditure. So how can you be sure that each marginal dollar is earning a better return?660_big_data

The answer lies in the data revolution—and in the power of a boutique customer-focused media buying agency like Vision Media to harness the power of new information sources to make your ad budget work even harder for you. With a proliferation of new and increasingly detailed sources of info about consumer preferences and habits, there’s no doubt that in 2013, careful customer-data-based TV and radio media planning are central to any cost-effective marketing campaign.

So what exactly is driving this data revolution in media buying? Every CMO has heard of “big data,” the trend toward amassing ever larger stores of information about client behavior and using advanced computer analysis to discern patterns and trends. Big data has given careful ad buyers a whole new toolkit for fine-tuned placement.

But big numbers alone are far from enough to make a great media campaign. In fact, with a whole universe of consumer info out there today, it’s probably easier to drown in data than it is to surf the wave skillfully. Turning big data into efficient buys requires deep knowledge about each particular client and target market—something that a smaller, service-oriented agency like Vision Media can do in a way that no large agency could match.

So how does big data actually work for media buying, and what does it mean for building a smart and affordable ad campaign?

Leveraging new sources of data starts with separating consumers along psychographic and demographic lines to find the precise market segments most relevant to your campaign. An explosion of methodologically rigorous consumer studies and indexes, at levels from local to national, make it possible not just to hone in very narrowly on the right consumers but also to build impressively detailed profiles of these potential customers.

That’s because once Vision Media identifies the right buyer segments, the vastly more sophisticated media measurement tools that have emerged in recent years make it easier than ever before to identify the media sources that reach these key groups. Every CMO knows that in our era of unprecedented consumer choice, audience fragmentation is an inevitable reality. Cable providers offer subscribers hundreds of channels in place of just a few, and radio has never been more specialized.

This may seem like a challenge, but better data analysis transforms fragmentation into a huge opportunity. In the past, media buyers had only a general sense of who was consuming what, based on lengthy and potentially unrepresentative surveys of comparatively few viewers and listeners. Yet digitalization and a growing wave of new measurement tools enable advertisers to know with increasing certainty just who is watching what, and when. So ad campaigns can be developed to hit every desired segment with a precisely tailored message, at the times of day when they’re most likely to gain traction.

This level of granularity is something that’s only possible when you’ve got an agency that has taken the time to understand both the precise contours of your strategy and the ins and outs of the local markets where you want to buy. Vision Media’s integrated approach is based on exactly these premises. By building a dedicated, experienced team that’s responsible for every aspect of your campaign, from strategic planning to placement to negotiating the lowest possible rates across companies and platforms, Vision Media makes data analysis work for you from start to finish.

So don’t let the “big” in big data fool you: the careful attention and unified approach of a small, specialized agency like Vision Media are what can really unlock the power of the data revolution.


Stephen Reed is the CEO and founder of Vision Media. Based in Redmond, Washington and established in 2002, Vision Media specializes in local and national media buying, strategy and consulting.