Impartiality and media planning and buying

Being impartial means approaching situations, people and things neutrally and objectively, without prior favour adding weight to decisions. It means treating various possibilities fairly and ensuring that no approaches are premeditated.

Impartiality is hugely important to do a good job in plenty of areas (HR, the judiciary and education are a few that spring to mind), where a meritocratic approach to people and things matters, and that definitely applies to our world of media planning and buying too.

Simply put: being objective allows us to be better at our job and to produce better results.

Worth a closer look then, at a few all too common mistakes.

Being impartial means approaching situations, people and things neutrally and objectively and not through rose tinted spectacles.

Not carefully analysing data.

Relying on a hunch, or limited/isolated experience often goes hand in hand with not taking a close enough look at the past data and results. It’s important that we strip out the anecdotal, partial experience of a media source (for example), recognising that our personal experience doesn’t make or break the value of that source. The way around this is to carefully look at all available data. You might be able to misconstrue data but ultimately it doesn’t lie. Analyse it, along with past results, and let it objectively provide a rationale to your campaign.

Sticking with media that you are familiar with or that worked before.

Just because a format worked before, there is no guarantee it’ll work again. Circumstances and contexts change and a good media planner will stay abreast of them. We all have media that we like and that we are especially familiar with, but it is important that we don’t allow that to blinker our appreciation and knowledge of the broad spread of options open to a brand.

Avoiding media that didn’t work in the past.

Just because a format hasn’t worked in the past… Well, you get the idea. It’s worth reiterating it, however. There are many reasons why a particular format might not work as well on one campaign as it does on the next. Media works in the context of other media used the brand and creative that it carries and a constantly changing general environment. We’d go so far as to say that there is a time, place and brand for almost all media.

Having favourite media vendors

On one hand, this could be an expression of laziness, simply resorting to a familiar vendor rather than constantly appraising all options. On the other hand, it could be an expression of the size of the commission that the media planning and buying agency gets from the vendor.

Having preferred media vendors makes it less likely that the full range of options is being considered.

If you'd like some objective advice on your next campaign, say Hello today.

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