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Media Planner

What does a Media Planner do?

Media planners study different types of media, including newspapers, radio, television, the Internet and billboards to determine where when and how businesses should advertise their brand or products. Media planners combine creative thinking with factual analysis to develop appropriate strategies to ensure that campaigns reach their target audiences as effectively as possible. They work within advertising agencies or media planning and buying agencies.

A media planner’s responsibilities may include:

  • working closely with clients to understand their needs and objectives
  • collecting and analysing information about different media channels with regards to consumer behaviour, circulation, audience trends and the impact of different methods
  • making decisions on the best form of media for specific clients and campaigns
  • undertaking research and analysing data using specialist industry resources
  • recommending the most appropriate types of media to use, as well as the most effective time spans and locations
  • working alongside media buyers to help direct the acquisition of certain advertising slots and spaces.

What qualifications do I need?

While it is not impossible, entry into media planning without a degree or diploma is unlikely without a considerable amount of industry experience. A degree in marketing, English, media studies, journalism, business management, operational research or another related subject will be useful in securing a job as a media planner. Pre-entry experience, especially relevant work experience, paid or unpaid, will greatly improve your chances. Internships in media, marketing or advertising companies give applications an edge and are generally looked on favourably by employers.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• None


Where can I study?

IMM Graduate School of Marketing
Bachelor of Business Administration: Marketing Management

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Commerce: Marketing Management

North-West University
Marketing Degree

University of Pretoria
Marketing Degree

Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma / Bachelor of Technology: Marketing

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Arts: Film, Media and Visual Studies

Boston Media House
Diploma: Media Studies

Where can I get more info?

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa – www.asasa.org.za
Association for Communication and Advertising – www.acasa.co.za
Media for Africa – www.editorial.co.za


Interview with a Media Planner




Why digital planning?
have always had a passion for everything ‘digital’. I was exposed to the world of computers and the internet at a very young age, thanks to my brother, an IT geek! Long story short, from the days of flashing neon banners on the most basic websites, I had been extremely interested in the world of advertising on the web. As I grew up, and as the web grew up, my interest in digital advertising had grown up too. I would not swap my career choice for anything.

If you have an unusual career, explain what it is that you do
I have the task of finding media platforms for a client’s brand or product. The job of digital media planning/strategy involves determining the best combination of media (across web and mobile) to achieve the campaign objectives of certain client.

What training did you undergo?
While people study marketing and advertising through schools like AAA and Red & Yellow, I learnt what I know today by starting out at the bottom, seven years ago (as a PA to the general manager of an advertising company). I then moved into traditional media buying and not long after that, I ended up in my dream field – digital media advertising. At that point, I strived to learn as much as I could from the people around me and I have never stopped striving to learn, and to be the best that I possibly can!

Describe a typical day
Stressful, LOL, but having a campaign signed off and seeing it go live is the most rewarding feeling ever.

What do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the perks of being spoilt by media owners (suppliers), and when you get a pat on the back and the ‘well done’ speech.

What don’t you like?
I hate having people shout at me, or having to chase after people for answers to pretty easy questions.

Hurdles you have overcome?
I would have to say that the two biggest hurdles would be constantly having to prove myself, and learning not to take mess-ups personally, no matter how out of my control the situation is or how much shouting goes down. Thankfully, I am slowly learning to breathe, take a step back and realise that pleasing the whole world is never possible.

Career highlights?
The 1st Feb 2011 when I joined PHD, and the first time that I presented to the Checkers Team in 2013.

What are your future goals?
I would like to conquer the strategy side of digital and hopefully take on Silicon Valley after that (it’s like the Hollywood of technology).

Experience vs training?
Experience is more important.

What ‘makes’ a digital planner?
You need to be able to control your temper, possess attention to detail and have the ability to accept constructive criticism, but, mainly, to be enthusiastic. The world of digital changes faster than Cape Town’s weather, so an eagerness to learn is what will take you to great heights!

Advice you’d like to share?
Never give up on learning new things and never let anyone stop you from being the best that you know you can be!

Describe your job in three words
Stressful, rewarding and fun!