Chasing the lowest bid need not always turn out well for the client. To understand consumer psyche better, they still need the experts. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

In recent weeks, a friend of mine missed out on few media buying opportunities. Not because he lacked the skill or the contacts - it was simply that another buyer had undercut the price he had offered to his clients.

And in that one instance, the price slashing happened from the side of the ad space sellers. This set me thinking on whether traditional media buying is on its way out.

It is a fact that media buyers need to demonstrate value-for-money buys for each ad buy that rolls out. The trust and relationships built over the ages have become causalities in the race to get a better bang for the buck. The changing media landscape coupled with the pandemic have forced advertisers to not only reduce their media spend, but also look at other ways to slash costs.

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It's all slash and cut

Price - and nothing else - has became the main consideration, and in the process many of the other important factors got sidelined. Buyers now have the sole focus of maximising media RoI (return on investment). They not only have the tough task of retaining their clients, they need to ensure that there is no compromise on the margins.

A very difficult task indeed in the changing media dynamics. Today, we see multiple agencies pitching for the same business with nothing to differentiate one from the other… except the cost. To add to the pressure, media sales reps are also in the fray trying their bit to get a share.

Stuck in the middle

While clients and media houses win in the end, buying agencies are facing the brunt, and that is where they are losing their out in the race. There are many who believe it is high time clients understood the fact that the role of the agencies is just not merely buying time or space.

Media buying agencies have to reinvent themselves and become proactive solution providers cutting across diverse media platforms. Clients should understand the difference between buying at a low cost to a buying model that delivers results rather than eyeballs.

Recognise the value

It is the value of insights that a strategically oriented media buyer brings to a plan that makes the difference between a regular buy and a strategic placement. Clients should remember that it is not enough to get maximum eyeballs.

They need to get into the minds of the consumer - and that’s the primary role of an experienced media buying unit. One the other hand, media buying agencies should also understand the days of negotiations and re-negotiations are over.

There is no second chance to re-pitch and revise. Remember the other buyer is just waiting for a murmur from your client to step into the picture.

- Sunil Roy is with Publilink Advertising.