Time and again brands are missing out on great media buyers in the interview process in favor of a stand-out candidate who is an “absolute fan of your brand”. I understand the thought process here – you want someone who is invested, you want someone who “gets it”, and who better than someone who is already a customer? As a hiring manager, it seems as though you’ve chosen a clear winner – the person running the ads is also the person shopping them.
As a seasoned Media Buyer though, whose not only lived it, but having also been responsible for assigning hundreds of in-coming brands to team members on a robust media buying team, I’ve found “clear-winners” in a different place – and it’s not the buyer that loves your brand the most.
It’s the buyer that loves the data.
It’s the buyer who isn’t necessarily your customer.
It’s the buyer who is seasoned to let data be the stand-alone KPI that drives their decision making inside of your ad account.
Entrusting your advertising to a buyer whose main selling point is that they love your brand can cloud their judgement on your metrics — they want a certain campaign to perform well because they like it, even if it’s not performing well. This favoritism can lead to sloppy buying and ignoring best practice, like showing preferential treatment to certain ads, giving them more budget allocation or leaving them on even when early indicators flag it as unsuccessful.
Will a “brand fan” as a buyer ruin your brand? No, probably not. But they might waste some of your precious ad dollars due to their own bias towards your product or service. They might miss the mark on who else (besides people just like them) are interested in shopping your brand, and they might ignore red flags in favor of the sheer preference that your brand will pull through, even if the data doesn’t support it. Don’t blame your buyer, they’re human – and that’s what causes bias in the first place.
So how can you be sure that your buyer’s judgement isn’t clouded? In lament terms, it’s searching for the “boring” buyer – the buyer who loves data. This buyer will let your data speak for itself outside of preferential treatment because they don’t want anything to perform, they just let it perform. They will have no qualms about putting money where its best performing instead of where they want to see performance or shutting off and replacing campaigns that aren’t proving successful. They don’t have a preference, they just have data. This is the single most important piece of information you want your buyer to use while making optimizations inside of your advertising accounts.
Sure, your buyer can like your brand, they can be a consumer of your brand – but in my experience, they can’t be your brand’s biggest fan. Find a buyer that will let data speak for itself outside of preferential treatment.
TL;DR: The better buyer for your brand is the one that loves buying more than they love your brand.