The Importance of a Media Planner

The Importance of a Media Planner

Our very own Media Planner, Vanessa Shipley, discusses why it’s important to utilize a Media Planner to craft a solid marketing campaign.

The Importance of a Media Planner
By Vanessa Shipley

Traditional and digital advertising is a massive industry that can be overwhelming for a business to navigate—particularly when advertising sales representatives come highly equipped with an arsenal of data to convince you that their advertising outlet is the best way to reach potential customers. It may well be, but can be difficult for someone not well versed in advertising analytics to effectively determine. That’s where working with a media planner can be highly beneficial.

The first thing is understanding what exactly media planners do and how they can help a brand make the most of their advertising budget. Media planners are highly educated and trained to help brands reach their intended target audiences and achieve their marketing goals through paid advertising campaigns. They gather information from media suppliers such as radio and television stations, out of home companies, print publications, websites and digital networks. This information is combined with other relevant sources such as local market surveys, ratings data, advertising trends, and prior knowledge of the industry to create a strategic media recommendation that maps back to the client’s overall marketing objectives and campaign goals.

Over the past decade, our team has developed a proven media planning process that continues to deliver measurable results for our clients time and again. The process is effective because it’s individualized, not only for the brand, but also for the specific campaign. For each campaign that is developed, our team creates a customized media planning timeline to encompass the six phases of the process:

Media Planning Process

This process begins with our team gathering and analyzing information relevant to the campaign including client-provided as well as syndicated, third party data. From there, the planning parameters for the campaign are defined and confirmed with the client. This includes target audience, geography, budget, timing/seasonality, and creative considerations. From there we define the media objectives and strategies for the campaign-essentially what are we trying to accomplish with this budget and how are we going to do it. The next phase is where our team recommends the media mix, i.e. which media types should be included in the plan. Once approved, we move on to media tactics—the details of the plan including specific media suppliers, flighting, negotiated rates, etc. The plan is then presented in a visual format—the media flowchart—for final approval.

Our process is also quite interactive, including the participation and approval of the client before moving forward to each next phase. Ample time is built in to allow the planning team time to do their diligence as well as for the client to review and secure the necessary buy-in from their team before we move forward. Also included in the process is sufficient time for our planning team to strategically negotiate rates, ratings, and placements, including added value, on behalf of the client. The traffic team is also working alongside the planners to create a production timeline and deliver all necessary mechanical specs and deadline information to the client or the team in charge of producing ads for the campaign. All teams work in harmony to deliver a plan on time and on spec. Because the client is approving each stage along the way, the end result is a thoughtful, strategic plan ready for implementation. Time is not wasted going back to the drawing board because the client’s budget or some other parameter has changed along the way and was not communicated to the agency, or a stakeholder on the client’s team had not been able to review the plan prior to delivery.

A thoughtful process and solid, resulting media plan are a great start, however alone cannot ensure success. There are many integral pieces that work together to achieve an effective ad campaign that garners real, measurable results for a client. A strong media plan must be executed with a solid creative message and compelling artwork. For example, a client can have the most eye-catching and captivating ad campaign, but if it doesn’t land in front of the right eyes at the right time, then results are likely to fall flat. Conversely, without compelling creative messaging, even the best-laid media plan can deliver less-than-desirable results. The consumer’s sales experience must also be well thought through to ensure maximum engagement and conversion. These things working together in tandem will bring measurable results.

Much like the importance of location in real estate, and timing in life, getting your message in front of the right people at the right time is essential to success in advertising. Without a seasoned media planner to identify the best options, much of a brand’s marketing budget can be wasted. Working with an expert will bring a greater understanding of the target audience, a more strategic plan, and ultimately greater results. The paid media investment is generally the largest within the overall marketing budget—don’t understate the value of media planning and its role to ensure that your brand receives the highest possible return on investment.

Employee Spotlight: Edie Klein, Traffic Supervisor

Employee Spotlight: Edie Klein, Traffic Supervisor

What do you enjoy about the role of Traffic Supervisor?

EK: It’s like working on a giant puzzle. You have all the pieces in front of you and you have to figure out which one goes where and when, until everything has been completed.

What keeps you inspired? Do you have a favorite story about what brought you to the world of media?

EK: What keeps me inspired is a story from when I was in 6th grade. My teacher gave the class hard plastic shapes that we had to make into a square. The first person to complete the assignment would receive an A for the day. I completed it before anyone else in the class, and when I told him I was done, he said he knew I would be the first to finish because I was the only one that didn’t give up. I’ve carried that with me all these years, no matter what I have encountered in my career, I just keep trying because I know I will figure it out.

There are so many details involved in the role of Traffic Supervisor. What would you say in the most important characteristic that you bring to the job?

EK: You have to be a detective. You have to figure out what vendors or clients are asking for and make sure you are executing the requests properly. Because if the media doesn’t run, everyone’s hard work was for nothing.

You have a new line of Jewelry you created! You just launched an Etsy site last month to sell your pieces. Where/when did this passion start and what do love most about this outlet?

EK: When I was in college, DIY crafting shows were just starting to air on TV. I loved to watch them in between my classes and dream of the things I would make “when I was out in the real world”. The jewelry segments were always my favorite. In 2003, one of my co-workers was making a necklace during her lunch break. I asked her if she could show me how to do it and after that one lesson, I was hooked. Making jewelry provides me the opportunity to explore different patterns and I love the challenge of finding just the right components to put together to create something unique.

What’s something about you that very few people know?

EK: I’m the youngest of four siblings, but only by one minute. Growing up my twin brother loved to remind me of that every day.

What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?

EK: Besides working on my jewelry, I love to spend time with my family. I have a 6-year-old daughter and she is hilarious! She has quite the imagination and I love to watch her play, sing and act out her own movies. My husband and I also love to take my daughter camping up North. It is so amazing that we can drive an hour away and be in a completely different landscape.

Have you traveled to any fun places lately?

EK: We took a trip this summer to the Mogollon Rim and camped at Woods Canyon Lake. We were able to do some hiking, watch the fish jumping in the lake and teasing all the fisherman, tell scary stories around the campfire, and saw an Osprey swoop down and catch a fish right from the water.

If you had to describe yourself as a beverage, what would it be and why?

EK: I would be a 7-UP. I’m always there to help you out when you’re not feeling your best.

What would you consider your best trait?

EK: My attention to detail. I try to make sure what I put out into the world is my best effort no matter if it is something personal or work related.

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What do you love about the Account Management role?

I love the ability to service multiple clients and ensure that their objectives are being met, while also managing my team and setting them up for success.


If you had to describe yourself as a beverage, what would it be and why?

If I had to describe myself as a beverage, I would choose coffee – not only because I am a coffee fanatic, but it also describes my personality. I am a morning person with tons of energy who loves to keep the people around me happy, energized and motivated to make them the best they can be.


Do you have any hobbies or things you are deeply passionate about?

I am passionate about being active and trying new activities that push me out of my comfort zone.


What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?

I love cooking and all things food related. Whether that’s making new recipes, watching cooking shows, or trying new restaurants around town.

Catalyst Media Design Expands Office and Client Roster

Growing Media Firm Signs Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas, American Vision Partners and Delta Dental, Moves into New 5,000-Square Foot Space

PHOENIX (May 2018) – Catalyst Media Design (CMD), the Southwest’s top ranked media agency, recently signed three new clients, moved into a larger office and launched a new website as part of the Scottsdale-based firm’s next chapter.

“We’ve seen our industry, and the way people choose to connect with brands, change significantly the past five to seven years, explained Catalyst Media Design CEO Liz Scott. “What hasn’t changed is the fact our success is directly connected to the success of our clients. For us, that translates to placing a continued emphasis on research and making ongoing investments in tools and resources that will help our clients make deeper, more impactful connections with their current and potential customers.”

The investment is paying off as the firm recently signed more than $3 Million in new work for three leading clients in the healthcare and entertainment sector.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas

Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas has retained Catalyst Media Design to provide digital planning and placement for its thriving, family-friendly waterpark. Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas has more than 26 attractions on 27 acres just minutes from downtown Las Vegas. Rides range from relaxing and kid-friendly to more exhilarating rides for adrenaline junkies. CMD’s efforts for Wet ‘n’ Wild will reach local individuals and families as well as the more than 39 million tourists visiting Las Vegas each year.

“Catalyst understands that we need to reach local families in Las Vegas and surrounding communities to help them understand all that Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas offers,” shared Lindy Frye, Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas Marketing Manager. “We’re delighted that they dove in quickly to find the most effective ways to reach the most people within our budgets and timelines through a variety of digital platforms.”

American Vision Partners (Southwestern Eye Center & Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center)

Southwestern Eye Center and Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center recently became part of the American Vision Partners network, and have selected Catalyst Media Design to handle the offline media for both brands.

Southwestern Eye Center and Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center are regional leaders in optometry and ophthalmology services including LASIK, and many of their highly-skilled doctors have additional advanced training for subspecialty procedures such as vitreoretinal disease, oculoplastics, cornea disease, glaucoma, refractive procedures, low vision aids and ocular prosthetics.

Catalyst Media Design will manage budgets for both brands in 40 locations across Arizona and New Mexico.

“We’re grateful for our partnership with Catalyst Media Design. They stay on top of the latest channels including digital, social and non-traditional media, as well as researching and bringing to the table new and creative placements,” explained Darla Espinosa, Director of Marketing, American Vision Partners. “They’ve become a true extension of our marketing team, and with their expertise and careful attention to detail, ensure that we continue to maximize our paid media investment.”

Delta Dental

CMD also just began work with Delta Dental, the nation’s largest and most trusted dental benefits carrier this May. The agency has partnered with Anderson Direct & Digital based in California on this business and will provide Direct Response broadcast media in addition to Digital Display media for the 13-state member company.

Delta Dental focuses on making dental coverage more accessible and affordable to a wide variety of employers, groups and individuals across the U.S.

“Catalyst is one of the best media companies I have ever worked with,” said Scott Hopkins, Executive Vice President, Anderson Direct & Digital. “I am a 31-year veteran of the Direct and Digital marketing agency business and Catalyst is one of the only media agencies who truly understands marketing ROI. They combine the latest in technology and research along with media best practices to always deliver strategic media campaigns the generate results.”

He added, “Most importantly, they always have their clients best interest at heart and are a great group of humans who are a pleasure work with.”

Expanded Offices and New Website

The growing firm also recently signed a four-year lease on a nearly 5,000-square-foot space in Downtown Scottsdale. Previously the firm was in a 2,843-square foot space near Scottsdale Road and Indian School. CMD was originally in the same building from 2012-2014, but now return to a space five times the size, signifying their tremendous growth the past five years.

“The entire building has been renovated inside and out to create the perfect environment for our team to continue growing,” shared Scott. “It includes delightful shared spaces, endless courtyard seating, tenant lounge with complimentary specialty coffee – even bikes our team can check out to ride around scenic downtown Scottsdale.”

CMD also launched a new website to reflect their vision for the next ten years of managed growth that matches the strategic growth of their clients.

“We take a longer view of our agency’s success – no shortcuts – rather maintaining an equal pace with our growth and success, as that of our clients,” explained Scott. “The new website also demonstrates that partnership is more than a buzz word for us. Rather, we think of partnership as becoming a true extension of client’s business…and know that makes all the difference.”

To learn more about Catalyst Media Design and their expertise in traditional, digital, social and experiential media strategy, planning and buying visit or follow on its various social media channels.

Twitter: @CatalystNow


About Catalyst Media Design

Catalyst Media Design is a full service, strategic media research, planning, and buying agency. With the most comprehensive team of experienced planners, buyers, account managers, business management and support staff, their cross-capable experts ensure delivery of the most efficient and effective media campaigns for maximum return on each client’s investment. The firm offers a full spectrum of media services, including the planning and placement of Television, Radio, Print, Outdoor, Digital, Multi-Cultural, Promotions, Direct Response, and Non-Traditional Media. Clients include a diverse mix of regional and national clients. The company is led by CEO Liz Scott. Learn more at