International Media Planning

Selecting an Agency: 6 Key Considerations

International media planning is a challenging undertaking for the uninitiated.  When planning a new market entry, choosing the right media agency partner is key. Here are the 6 key considerations cited most frequently by CMOs and global marketing experts in international media planning agency selection:


Within the field of marketing, those who specialize in media planning and buying are a different breed. They must understand the value of creative strategy, but make financial decisions on how to take that strategy to market. A famous anecdote in Mad Men suggests that 90% of every dollar that does to advertising goes to media buying. Most advertising agencies are creative-centric and don’t specialize in media buying this area specifically. Worse, some claim media buying as a capability but delegate the task to someone unfit to handle the bulk of your advertising investment.

If this is the case, it’s probably smart to bring in a agency to collaborate on this specialized aspect of campaign implementation. Particularly when it comes to international media planning, where in-market knowledge is all the more important.


Does the location of your selected media planning and buying agency matter? Differences in time zone, currency, legal terms and conditions, and even language might make the choice of a local agency preferable, but don’t make this choice at the expense of target market knowledge. And be open minded. By talking with candidate agencies, you might find that an international media planning agency that isn’t local to you might offer the best tactical insight for your brand.


Apart from target market expertise, it’s wise to ask whether your agency has the necessary familiarity with your type of brand or product, or if not, with sufficiently similar or complementary sectors. Be sure to enquire about media buying expertise that’s complementary to your effort.


Client support expectations vary from market to market. Even in established markets, client service can be seen as an afterthought: take Silicon Valley, for instance, where firms like to “automate aftersales.” And no one likes chatting with robots.

In media planning, you will have questions. Consider whether your agency cares to make time to address them. Are their other clients far bigger than your brand? Do you have principal or partner-level access, should a matter need escalation? Take time to think through what support is important to you when selecting a agency or firm.


While the importance of media buying specialization has already been discussed, international media planning calls for even greater specialization, knowledge and skill. In a constantly changing global economy, things can change quickly, particularly when emerging or BRIC market media buying is called for. Your agency should have current intelligence on market situations, as well as fresh experience in the target market.

Current international media planning insight ensures quick, accurate, and strong campaign rollout, which leads to the final key consideration in international media planning:


In a dynamic global economy and rapidly maturing media landscape, time is of the essence. Competitive advantage depends on moving swiftly. No matter how airtight your strategy, the new reality of business is that delays are costly.

Chose an media buying agency partner that prioritizes timeliness, from onboarding to post-buy analysis.