Job descriptions and industry overviews

Media planner: job description

19 Jul 2023, 08:54

Media planners (also known as media strategists) produce action plans to ensure that advertising campaigns have maximum impact.

a pad of paper and coffee mug in the background and a mobile phone in the foreground all atop a media planner's desk.

Media planner : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Media planners devise strategies for advertising campaigns so that they reach their target audience and have the intended impact within an agreed budget. This involves understanding the audience, their needs and preferred media and platforms, as well as the brands aiming to reach them.

Typical duties include:

  • meeting clients to understand their needs and agree a brief.
  • carrying out qualitative and quantitative research into audience needs, preferences and behaviour.
  • building and maintaining relationships with clients, creative professionals and media companies.
  • producing and presenting financial and media plans and forecasts.
  • talking clients through recommendations, budgets and schedules, and responding to queries.
  • liaising with clients, consumers and advertising staff.
  • creating documents to support proposals, such as briefs and charts.
  • checking the quality of documents – for example, proofreading them and reviewing drafts.
  • managing projects, including their financial status.
  • monitoring and evaluating campaigns’ success.
  • keeping records of actions and progress.

Media planners work closely with other teams, such as media buyers, to ensure that campaign ideas, strategies and objectives are converted into tangible tasks. Contact with clients and colleagues is a key feature of the job. Clients’ expectations can be high so the work is often target-driven with long hours around deadlines.

Advertising agencies tend to be based in London or other large cities.

Graduate salaries

According to salary surveys published by organisations within the advertising industry, salaries for junior media planners start at around £22,000. However, the short-term nature of advertising campaigns means that it’s common to work as a freelancer and to be paid per day rather than receive an annual salary. Junior media planners can charge around £125 per day.

Earnings increase as you gain experience regardless of whether you work in-house or freelance. Senior planners can earn around £65,000 in-house or £350–£400 a day as freelancers.

Typical employers of media planners

Media planners can typically find employment with:

  • Advertising and media agencies.
  • Marketing teams at large brands such as pharmaceutical companies.

In-house vacancies are advertised on media jobs boards. Specialist recruitment agencies can help you find freelance work. Many jobs aren’t advertised widely, so be prepared to network and expect to hear about work by word of mouth.

See targetjobs’ guides on how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile and how to use the platform to get a job . Also take a look at our expert advice on how to manage your online reputation when networking through social media .

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into media planning for both university graduates and school leavers.

For graduates, any degree discipline is acceptable, although experience of research methods via a social science degree (or similar) will be useful in the role. Degrees that provide insights into business, human behaviour, media and communication will also be an advantage.

A good appreciation of how advertising and business work is just as important. Work experience in this field can be difficult to organise because of the fast-paced nature of the work and the fact that many media planners work freelance.

However, temping and vacation work with marketing, communications or media teams will help your job applications stand out, as will experience of planning and devising strategies (for example, for student society events or campaigns).

School leavers can take an apprenticeship in media or business to gain insights into planning and media work.

Key skills for media planners

  • The ability to analyse and present data.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • The ability to handle change and pressure.
  • Excellent organisational abilities .
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Commercial awareness .
  • Business skills if self-employed.
  • Attention to detail.

Next, head to targetjobs’ guide on where to find advertising, marketing and PR jobs .

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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