Things to consider when evaluating a media proposal.

As part of the media team, we receive many requests to evaluate paid media proposals our clients have received from a media partner. There is a lot to consider. Does this make sense for my brand? Is this good value? Would my budget be better spent elsewhere? We love getting these asks, and we're always happy to pull out our calculators and geek-out on these requests. 

Like all things media-related, evaluating media proposals is one-part art and two-parts science. We are lucky, as we can access research tools and other data to help inform our decision-making, but often it’s more of a strategic assessment to determine fit and value.

So, for those of you staring at a snazzy, impressive looking media proposal right now, here are 5 things you should consider when evaluating if this is the right investment for your brand:


Does this align with my objectives?

One of the most important things to consider is if the media partner is the right fit to deliver on your advertising objectives. Is the channel right? Does it capture the audience that you’re looking to reach? Will you have the ability to attribute success metrics to it?

The key to doing this is to start by clearly defining your objectives, both business and marketing, and defining the outcomes you’re looking to achieve – is it brand awareness? Tactical price promotion? Promoting a new store opening? Driving foot traffic? It’s beneficial to share these exact goals with your media partners so they can provide you with the best media solution.


Are quality placements included?

This is an area a media agency can typically “run some numbers” on, but you can intuitively make an assessment. Look at the details offered closely – is there inventory included that runs overnight, when viewership/listenership is minimal? Do the quantities included seem reasonable to make an impact and reach enough people in a given week or month? Are you getting premium inventory – the front section, news placements, colour over black and white?

Are all the details there? If the details are vague, and you are unsure of what is running where and when, make sure to ask for that information to be included in writing.


Lose the filler.

Sometimes, rather than focusing on core pieces of media platforms and tactics that are going to move the needle on your objectives, media proposals are jammed with unnecessary components, inflating the value and driving up the overall cost. For example, this could be a transit placement when that’s not the demographic you’re looking to reach, or the addition of banner ads running on a radio station’s website with undefined visitor analytics. 

Go back to the media partner and ask that these components are either removed altogether and have the cost reduced or ask that these components are removed and re-allocated to the core pieces of media you do want. These days, with limited marketing dollars, and every dollar spent needing to be effective, there is no room for paying for filler media that isn’t going to get you closer to your objectives.


Your investment counts too.

Media proposals sometimes are positioned in a way where it may seem to suggest the media partner is pulling all the weight in terms of value – but don’t forget it’s a 2-way agreement and your investment matters too. So, if you are including tickets or passes, contest prizing, official partner status or exclusivity, partner logos and recognition – make sure to assign fair market value to quantify this part of your investment as well. Ensure that you are leveraging your investment, and though there’s no “right” value, aim for at least a 4-to-1 return on your investment to media exposure value.


The first offer is never the final offer.

Like in any business negotiation, your media partner’s first offer isn’t their final offer, or necessarily their best offer. So take your considerations from the above points, and don’t hesitate to at least go back to the media partner once, asking for changes – this could be the addition of a feature you want, the removal of a component to drop the overall investment cost, offering more premium timing or placement opportunities, etc.  Your media partners should be willing to have these conversations and be eager to land in a place where you will see results with your partnership. This back and forth negotiation is often the fun part for us media geeks!


Media evaluations can be subjective, and there are many more factors to consider, but these 5 steps are a great starting point to get an initial feel for the value vs. investment. If you have a proposal and you need a second opinion on the value for your investment, reach out and let us help you out!

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