How Do I Become a Media Planner?

Meghan Perry

To become a media planner, a combination of education, experience, and skills is usually necessary. It has become increasingly common for companies to hire media planners with a minimum of a bachelor's degree, although it is not always required. In addition, previous work experience in a field related to media planning may help someone become a media planner.

A media planner is an advertising professional who specializes in determining the best placements for advertisements.
A media planner is an advertising professional who specializes in determining the best placements for advertisements.

Media planners usually work in advertising agencies. Their main job is to take a completed advertising campaign and figure out the best medium, times, and locations to present the advertising. For example, an advertisement for toys would likely be more effective if it appeared during children's television programming as opposed to late-night television. Figuring this out is the responsibility of the media planner.

There are a variety of disciplines to study to become a media planner. A bachelor's degree in advertising, communications, marketing, media, or other liberal arts field may all be useful to become a media planner. A degree may not be necessary, but it will likely increase the opportunity to get a job in the field.

There are also classes people can take that may be helpful in the course of becoming a media planner. These could include courses in accounting, marketing, and statistics. Psychology, creative design, and information technology could provide benefits too. Some of these courses may be part of a degree program, but others may not. An internship at a marketing or advertising agency may also be a useful way to gain experience in the industry.

Another way to become a media planner is to get a lower-level job at an advertising agency. Entry-level positions may create opportunities for advancement. An example may be getting a job as an assistant media planner, which would provide the opportunity to work with a media planner and learn the basics of the job. Getting this type of job also creates connections with others in the industry, which can also help a person become a media planner.

Skills specific to a media planner job are also important. For example, media planners work with clients and media outlets, so strong communication skills and a social personality are beneficial for a potential media planner. In addition, negotiation, business, and problem-solving skills may be essential aspects of the job. Knowledge of the entertainment industry and understanding of the advertising world are also generally necessary skills. The media planner must be able to figure out the target audience and be aware of media trends; this can often be done using strong research skills.

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