The advertising agency is now digital. Where Mad Men era agencies filed binders of spreadsheets and folders of editorial calendars in drawers and on shelves, today’s agencies store pdfs and documents on the cloud, with the cutting edge agencies working in centralized applications and databases.

The shift to more and more digital marketing solutions means the wealth of accessible information will continue to grow. Being able to cut through the noise and properly manage a virtual workspace is more important than ever.

The tools and filing systems have changed, but staying organized is still a key factor to success. No matter what the work, the amount of time it takes to access important information is a make or break point for efficiency.

This is especially true in agencies where media planners, media directors, and media buyers are constantly bombarded with waves of new information from media plan change requests, RFP responses, client feedback, vendor correspondence, updated rate cards, and advertising performance metrics. Compounding this is the fact that media teams work on multiple media plans at a time and bounce from one client to another over the course of the day.

Staying organized takes time

Setting up folders along with naming conventions and filing systems on cloud-based servers may seem like a good place to start, but it is a severely flawed system. Every member of the team is required to maintain and manage files independently with no built-in software controls to enforce agency standards. Another pitfall is that time spent on getting organized is time stolen from the core responsibilities of media strategy, building plans, and optimizing advertisements.

Advertising agencies operate at breakneck speeds. Media departments are stretched for time and everyone has experienced the scenario of needing to power through deliverables to meet deadlines with the hope of organizing everything later. Before long desktops are once again covered in files and efficiency starts to nose dive as the system degenerates back to clicking around in desperate attempts at correctly guessing which file is relevant.

Organizing it later is not the answer

Perhaps the biggest problem with the do it later approach – besides the fact that no one ever gets around to doing it – is that media buying isn’t done in a silo. If the team can’t access the most up-to-date information they can’t perform at an optimal level. Every member, from directors to entry level, run the risk of referencing outdated information, which could lead to costly errors when the vendor sends an invoice for more than the client approved. With no auditable paper trail, there’s no way to resolve any billing disputes or even determine how the mistake was made. It’s not uncommon for documentation to go missing when looking back to analyze successful and unsuccessful media strategies and tactics.

There’s no time to get organized, but being unorganized is costing time

Herein lies the dilemma. There needs to be a way to get organized that won’t become a time sink.

The first step in achieving this is to ditch the outdated practice of media planning using software that was not built for advertising. Not only does it stifle collaboration, it adds steps to an already complicated process and pressures each user to follow hard to maintain organizational guidelines. This outdated approach also forces reliance on three or four applications that don’t communicate with each other to build, execute, and measure a single media plan. This means even more stray files floating on hard drives and wasted time to transfer data back and forth while trying to make sense of the latest marketing metrics or financial reports.

Simply put, software that isn’t built for advertisers are simply not sophisticated enough to provide the organizational features key to media planning or buying.

Consolidating the team on a centralized database like Bionic Media Planning Software makes sharing the most recent versions of everything from media plans to advertising flowcharts in real time a result of normal workflows. It grants access to a huge registry of performance reports, past media buys, account history, and a deep pool of information that can be referenced like a private, agency-wide library.

Bionic also helps streamline the RFP process. RFPs are requested, received, and managed in the same place plans are crafted. No more confusion on what proposal goes with what plan.

Organization of advertisers and campaigns happens automatically in Bionic and requires no extra effort or diligence. Once an advertiser is created in the system, all corresponding advertising campaigns are automatically filed under it.

While a centralized database is irreplaceable, navigating it can be daunting at times due to the sheer volume of information. Bionic’s most recent upgrade makes it easy to create a focused workspace. Since the entire media team can utilize the software, it’s unlikely anyone will need to have every advertiser or campaign in the system at their fingertips at all times. The intuitive search feature quickly finds advertisers and campaigns. Focus solely on the ones most important or relevant by following and unfollowing campaigns and advertisers.

Time is Money

In the ultra-competitive advertising industry, any advantage can mean the difference between winning and losing clients. It’s hard to find an advantage greater than a boost in productivity. Getting organized exponentially increases the efficiency across the entire team allowing the agency to unlock its full potential.

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