The Conversations You Should Be Having with Your Media Partner Long After You Place an Annual Marketing Plan


A long-term advertising agreement is a big commitment for your business — and it should also be a big commitment for your media partner. Whether it’s radio, digital, or magazine ads you’re placing, you and your media partner should be a team, communicating consistently and openly long after you have an advertising plan in place.

So, what does this open and consistent communication actually look like? Your media partner should:

  • Meet with you regularly, at least once a month, and preferably in person.
  • Schedule meetings well in advance, sharing the meeting agenda ahead of time and providing a summary shortly after.
  • Be interested in learning about you personally, not just your business.
  • Initiate and lead meaningful conversations driven by clear objectives.

At Zimmer, we understand our clients have certain expectations of us as a media partner, and we work hard to deliver. Is your current media partner meeting your expectations, or do you feel like you’ve been put on the back burner?

10 Kinds of Conversations You Should Be Having When You’re With the Right Media Partner

1. New and Creative Ideas 

Your media partner should invest time in exploring new ideas to improve your results. This could involve conducting a short brainstorming session with key members of your team to develop ideas together. But if you feel like your media partner is offering ideas just to get more work from you, you might be working with the wrong partner. New ideas should be tailored to produce results for your business.

2. Industry Updates and Market Research

Your media partner should keep up with the latest trends by following relevant publications, and they should understand how industry news and events may affect your business. They should be able to do more than regurgitate the latest headlines. They should possess enough knowledge about your business that, when paired with their own insights and an understanding of industry trends, these updates will result in stronger, more effective content for your marketing.

3. Knowing Your Customer

For you, as a businessperson, knowing your customer is one of the first rules of success. It’s important for your media partner to know your customer, too. Your customer profile and buyer’s journey may evolve over time, so your media partner should be asking questions and conducting research to further refine who your best customers are — those customers you want to have more of.

Both you and your media partner need to thoroughly understand the buyer’s journey and apply that understanding to marketing decisions. These discussions may include talking about questions and/or objections your customers have, and it could also include bringing in other people on your team, such as salespeople, to drill down on issues that may be getting in the way of making a sale. This is the kind of information that can drive more effective marketing creative and campaigns. Your media partner should also be conducting a thorough needs analysis periodically throughout the term of your advertising agreement. You should expect them to ask smart questions, do their research, and use the information gathered to make future recommendations.

4. Understanding Your Business

Just as your customers and target audiences evolve, so does your business. Does your media partner ask about new products and services? Are they interested in hearing about your current challenges and needs? When your media partner arrives for a meeting with you, they should come prepared with their own research and ideas, and have relevant questions to help guide the conversation and develop potential new opportunities.

5. Keeping Up With Your Competitors

Your media partner should take the time to find out who your top competitors are and prepare a competitive analysis that you can review together. They should monitor your competitors and note changes in their marketing, such as new advertising, and whether they have launched new products or services, or perhaps are expanding. This is the type of research your media partner should bring to your meetings to facilitate a discussion that enables them to both share insights and learn from what you know.

6. Reviewing Your Goals

Is your current media partner inviting you to share your current numbers and how they compare to previous periods? They should be asking thoughtful questions such as: How are you pacing? What’s changed? What are you doing differently? Have your goals changed? Is there anything about the way we currently have your marketing plan set up that we should reevaluate to ensure that we achieve your goals?

7. Reviewing Your Marketing

Your media partner should be aware of other marketing you’ve placed throughout the year so they can looking for integration opportunities. They should conduct a regular — at least quarterly — digital audit of your website, social media presence, and online marketing. This is the kind of information required to drive smarter conversations about your needs and more customized recommendations.

8. Business Results and ROI

Part of your media partner’s job is to help ensure your success by discussing the systems they have in place for tracking ROI, as well as understanding any systems you use internally. They should come prepared with solid recommendations, as well as best practices, demonstrating that they are as invested in your success as you are.

9. New Opportunities

You don’t want a media partner who tries to sell you on something new each time you meet, but they should, from time to time, present new opportunities related to previous conversations you’ve had, such as the ones outlined above. These opportunities should be aligned with your goals, as well as any changes in your business or your customer profile.

10. Their Services

It’s essential that your media partner is up to speed on your business, but it’s also important that you be up to speed on theirs. It’s important to understand all the different solutions and services offered by your media partner. At Zimmer, we offer radio advertising, as well as magazine and digital ads, plus design services, cause marketing, and event marketing. When discussing the range of available services, you shouldn’t feel as though your media partner is just trying to sell you something else. Rather, it should feel like more of an educational opportunity to keep you informed and aware of the services you can take advantage of to better your business.

Remember, Conversation is a Two-Way Street

If your media partner is missing the mark on any of the items above, it may be time to think about finding a new one. At the same time, it’s critical to your marketing success that you facilitate an open dialogue as well. Be open and honest, and provide relevant information so your media partner isn’t making guesses or left in the dark.

A good media partner is a true partner who cares about your overall success. At Zimmer, we understand that it’s vital to ask the right questions to ensure ongoing results throughout the term of your advertising agreement. So, if our questions sometimes seem “nosy,” remember, everything we ask is for the purpose of better serving you. We want to be partners long after our first annual agreement is signed, and we’re committed to being an active and engaged participant to get you the best ROI possible.

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