Media Buying is dead. Embrace Media Strategy. - Triangles
Triangles is a Digital Performance Company in Downtown Toronto
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Media Buying is dead. Embrace Media Strategy.

Media Buying is dead. Embrace Media Strategy.

Media Buying is dead. Embrace media strategy.
“There’s no loyalty any more.”


The quote was from a Senior Account executive from a partner agency as I left a meeting; a lament on how fickle one of their retail clients was, when it came to choosing how to divide budgets and fees up amongst all their different agencies.  As I sat in traffic, I reflected on the word:  loyalty.


Yes, there was ‘less’ of it in play but putting myself in client shoes it made a lot of sense:  Loyalty isn’t something deserved, at least not blindly.


The Digital Landscape


Advertising execution used to be relatively straightforward.  See something, hear a message, be influenced by it.  Change consumer perception or create a new one.





Today, these are just some of the Marketing Technology areas to consider (via the famous Lumascape)…

Marketing Technology (by Luma Partners)

And this comprises just one of the constellations in the digital universe. Digital is also these:







Content / Native


Scary stuff, right?



The Media Buying model



When advertising placement was a fairly linear task (recall: TV, Radio, Print, Billboard) a lot of energy was spent on the idea, and rightly so.

The old school ad way

The brilliant creative message would find its mark and drive awareness.  Media buyers were (and for the most part, still are) compensated as such.  The reasoning went something like:

Here is 15% of the overall advertising spend for devising, negotiating and placing the media. IF your campaign is successful, we will spend more money, earning you more -- the appropriate reward for your creativity and straightforward ad placements.

There is increasingly an issue with the old-school model today.  (Scroll up for a reminder of how divided and subdivided the marketing landscape is today).  Some of the challenges:


  1. Finding who to deliver a message to, in which format, at what time, in which market and at what price is NOT an easy task.
    (The old who, what, when, where, how much? conundrum)
  2. Because of the rate of progress, and how nuanced and complex digital behaviour can be, finding audiences is a sophisticated left and right brained undertaking — a needle in flaming haystack.
  3. Put simply, there is for lack of a better adjective, a shit tonne of trend, truth and snake oil to sift through to uncover what really works.


There are companies, networks, firms, agencies whose profit model is built on a knowledge and access; and others that are propped up by misinformation.

 The Path Forward


Rather than shout “the sky is falling” and only highlight challenges, we’re going to tackle what the evolution looks like, with regards to a workable Media Strategy model.   (Hint:  To be mutually aligned yet strategic, it takes trust, accountability and an elastic, ambitious mindset.)


Over the next few weeks in this space, we’re going to explore some of the ways brands/businesses & their specialists can navigate this minefield without a sense of dread and confusion.


  • The importance of Transparency
  • Usable “Big Data”
  • Creative Efficiency
  • Data-driven Circuits & Loops
  • The agile Media plan & Compensation


Or if you’re impatient and in the Toronto area, come see us at DX3 this coming week (March 2nd/3rd) where I’ll touch upon all of the above in a talk titled ‘Finding True ROI’.


Looking forward to hearing from you.

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