How to Get Started in Media Planning and Buying

How to Get Started in Media Planning and Buying

The simple days are gone. Businesses can no longer simply put ads on products, in the newspaper, on the radio, and on television and call it good.

We’re in a new age of media. Smartphone applications, social media sites, and innovative technology gets invented daily.

To the opportunist, this means there’s an array of positions opening to help businesses break through the clutter. A couple of these positions in the advertising and marketing realms are the media planner and the media buyer.

If you’re one of the opportunists that recognize the potential gain of the digital age, you’re in luck.

We’re here to get you started in media planning and buying so you can ride the ever-growing wave up and up.

What’s the Difference Between Media Planning and Buying?

To start, they are two distinct positions. Media planners lay out a blueprint of what’s going to happen and make sure it works. Media buyers execute the details of the blueprint.

It’s a little more complicated than that, but we’re here to give you the basics to get you started on this journey.

Once you’ve understood the roles of each position, you should know the general qualifications, experience, and expectations associated.


Unlike many other jobs in the industry, there aren’t set qualifications for either position. You don’t need advanced degrees or training.

A bachelor’s degree or certification will do the trick. It’s preferred to have an educational background relevant to the position. This includes marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, and maybe even psychology.

A certification from somewhere like the American Academy of Public Relations Marketing and Advertising (AAPRMA) buffs up your resume.

Aside from education, you should be creative, show strong communication skills, and be adaptable to fit into the industry of media.


If you’re new to the industry, you might not be able to jump straight into a planning or buying position. You may want to start off in account management or somewhere in a media department to get your feet wet.

Plus, relevant experience in the industry helps to land you an ideal job. You can get an assistant planning or buying position, which would prepare you for taking on the job yourself in the future.


The similar expectations of each position are as follows.

First, you’ll need to have confidence in keeping up with current trends and new technology. For instance, you may have to use Media Planning Software to increase efficiency and productivity.

The company will want you through with training, understand your target audience, set realistic goals, and execute them.

Above all the expectation is that you can be self-sufficient, punctual, and successful in implementing media strategies.

Keep Researching

If this article piqued your interest, keep researching and networking. The more you know about media planning and buying, the more likely you’ll be able to land a job.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals in the position(s) you desire and ask them questions. Of course, you’ll want to ensure them that you’re not trying to take their job.

If they’re unwilling to guide you, have confidence that you can guide yourself (with help from the Google Gods, of course).