How Independent Agents Can Make the Most of Third-Party Relations – Media Buying (3/3)

As the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) approaches, we understand you may need to secure third-party services to reach your sales goals. This article is the third and final in a series designed to help you maximize these important relationships.

Saving money on advertising is always in the best interest of an independent business owner. So, while the term “media buying” isn’t usually at the top of an insurance agent’s lexicon, fret not…you’re in the right place if you’re looking to save cash on your ads! Whether you’re an agent buying a few print ads to promote sales during the Annual Enrollment Period or an agency making significant television and radio investments throughout the year, we’ve got the tips to help you maximize your budget.

All rates are negotiable. When buying media, most organizations – be they print, television, radio, or even online – will provide you with a rate card. Consider the rate card a conversation starter only. These outlets are in business to make money, of course, so they’re not going to start with their best rates and that’s why negotiating is necessary. Many organizations provide first-time buyers with a new customer discount or apply bulk pricing to standard rates in order to sweeten the pot and get you in the door. Asking for these and other discounts is part of the media buying process – it’s expected and shows you take your business seriously.

Added value can be provided in many forms. The term “added value” refers to the ad space or impressions media outlets tack on to an agreement in order to entice the buyer. Simply put, “added value” is the extra stuff media outlets give you in addition to the number of ads or ad space you’re reserving. Added value can include:

More spots or publications. Reach more people by increasing the frequency of your ads and/or duration of your campaign.

Discount pricing. Bulk or first-time buyer discounts are just a couple examples of the discounts that can be applied to your media buy.

On-site promotions. Join your media partners at live events to promote your business.

Features. Examples of being featured: newspapers can highlight your services by placing a sticker on the front of the paper that compliments the ad you’ve taken out within the publication; radio stations can bring you in as a trusted expert to fill a segment in order to bring more attention to the services you provide.

Sponsorships. As an advertising partner, media companies can include you as a sponsor of one of their events or regularly scheduled programming, ie. “today’s Drive at Five is brought to you by Dan the Agent who helps seniors find the right Medicare plan for their needs and budget.”

Cross placements occur when your ad appears in a different medium than you originally purchased. For example, you may have purchased an ad in a newspaper and that publication puts a complimentary ad on their website to create more exposure for your brand.

Ad positioning. Some ads receive more attention than others given their placement. For example, the radio spots aired directly before or after a break from programming are shown to generate more engagement from listeners, and media outlets often offer preferred ad positioning in order to get you on board with your purchase.

Flighting saves money while ensuring brand presence & consistent messaging. “Flighting” is a term in media buying that refers to running ads on and off throughout the duration of a campaign rather than continuously over an entire time period. For example, you may opt to place an ad in a weekly publication for two weeks, then pull it for one week, then run it again for two weeks, and so forth over a ten- or twelve-week period. The desired result: regular readers will testify they saw your ad over the full schedule while you save approximately a third of the cost of doing so. The concept of flighting can be applied to radio, television, online ads, and just about any advertising medium with a continuous schedule.

The process for approaching media outlets as a first-time or infrequent buyer is made easier when you’re armed with the information you need to make the most of your advertising dollars. We hope the information in today’s article opens a door to the many possibilities agents can explore, discuss or request in order to maximize their exposure while minimizing the investment of media purchases.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our Medicare agent partners, please contact us at or 888-745-2320.

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