Let’s first acknowledge that the title sets up a contrast where in reality the two roles are inseparable. There is no ‘versus’ here as far as we are concerned (except when it comes to writing provocative blog post titles). A brilliant media plan may as well be a terrible media plan if it isn’t executed on budget, at the right time and through the right media.


Although the two disciplines are very closely related, there are common misconceptions about the traits associated with each area, and the standing with which they are held in the industry.


Media planning = intellectual, creative and research based.


Media buying = money orientated, deal making.


This assumption is wrong. No media planner operates without one eye on the eventual budget and a media buyer needs at least as much an understanding of the (cross format) communication process.


Ironically, media planning is (erroneously) held in higher esteem in the industry, while (equally wrongly) media buying is often held in higher esteem on the client side. Understandable, perhaps, since the buyer is the one who is spending their money. On the surface at least.


We combine roles here at Hello Starling. Simply, we see them as so closely related that both aspects are better served by the same team. Two disciplines, one outcome.


By Oliver Brown