Brand managers and media planners

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Marketing places the ads. Sales sells the space. Media acts as the gatekeeper between client and journal. But what should product managers expect from their media planner and how can they draw on them to get maximum value for their spend?

Jennifer Souza
Director, HIV marketing
Gilead Sciences

I rely on our media planners for guidance in several key areas. First, they help us get the most out of our budget. This means ensuring the optimal reach and frequency based on  our portfolio's needs. A new product launch, for example, may alter the balance and mix of personal vs. non-personal promotion for both the new brand and the existing brand. Second, we rely on them to track industry trends so that we can ensure our media spend is in line with the market. Our media planners, along with the agency account team, need to closely follow what we and our competitors are doing, and understand our target audiences and the channels to reach them (direct mail vs. print ads, for example). Lastly is the importance of flexibility. We need partners who can adjust our plans at a moment's notice so that we stay competitive and are primed to capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

Chris Benecchi
Product manager, neuroscience
Takeda Pharm. North America

Media planners should look for innovative ways to amplify brand messaging through creative and strategically sound media alternatives. They are responsible to optimize spending to generate essential reach and frequency through the media selected. Because of this, media planners need to understand the issues and challenges facing a brand in the marketplace and to be aware of marketplace conditions and emerging media, particularly a complex one like healthcare. They need to be involved in a campaign from early in the process through subsequent execution, and should be involved with other agency departments and marketing partners to ensure synergistic, 360-degree thinking around research findings and applicability to media placement. In this way, the campaign benefits from the mix of ideas, hopefully resulting in a fresh, innovative approach.

Vicki Mendelson
EVP, mng. dir. (Sanofi-Aventis planning),
Optimedia Int., US

Accountability is the goal of today's brand manager. These professionals want to know what is working, what is not and what they are getting for their investments. A strategically sound plan should begin with an in-depth analysis of the business, the brand, the audience and the competition, which should guide the development of the communications strategy. A holistic approach to communications planning is also important given the rapidly changing media landscape. An outstanding solution must ensure that the audience connects with a brand's message across multiple touch points. Delivering a qualified audience at the lowest possible cost is extremely important, but it is only the required point of entry. To be truly successful requires powerful support. Our mission at Optimedia is to provide our clients with innovative media leadership that consistently delivers a superior ROI.

Ronnie Sun
Media supervisor

With the rapidly shifting workplace and hurried lifestyles of physicians, it's essential to be in tune with your audience. Incorporating marketing objectives and recognizing brand challenges, a media planner maps out the most effective way of reaching the right audience in the most relevant manner. With the explosive growth in media options and a continually transforming media landscape, a media planner cuts through the clutter to determine what's most successful in meeting a brand's needs. It's imperative to provide a clear vision of objectives and continually share brand insight with your media planner. This will result in the customization of your plan, and  can also introduce unexpected approaches and opportunities.

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