Learn how Erica Brown and Pam Schneck of Austin Williams boosted their ad agency’s productivity by 50% while simultaneously improving client service with new media planning software.
50% Productivity Increase
Recaptured Time for Strategy
Eliminated Manual Errors
Improved Client Deliverables
About Austin Williams
Austin Williams is a full-service advertising agency with a national client base. The Austin Williams media team handles the entire lifecycle of the media planning and buying process for traditional and digital media.
Excel Spreadsheets Slow Media Planning
“Our biggest challenge in terms of building media plans was that we were working in Excel, and everything was manual,” explained Erica Brown, Vice President, Integrated Media Services.
Like many agencies, Austin Williams was using spreadsheets to manage their media planning and buying. The inefficiencies from working in Excel affected how quickly they could answer their clients’ questions. Providing information about what was running, keeping track of budgets and reporting on allocations of spend and channels were areas prone to manual error, difficult to communicate visually, and labor-intensive to gather.
Complicated, Manual Media Planning Process
Complicated Excel documents made it difficult to onboard new employees and track who made changes to the media plan. “We had some very advanced formulas in Excel in order to make the media plans function properly and it was very easy to break the entire plan with one little mistake or change,” according to Pam Schneck, Integrated Media Supervisor for Austin Williams.
When employees are not comfortable working with the tool they have, efficiencies are lost. The team must spend time communicating basic tasks like version control of documents and capturing client’s requirements in customized Excel documents. Tracking performance and capturing details to execute the plan were labor-intensive.
“We would create the flowchart and then have to recreate almost all of it to get details we need such as specs, flight dates, trafficking instructions, space, and material closing. So, it was just very tedious, and we had the worry of human error.” Erica explained.
The Quest for a New Media Planning Tool
Erica and Pam set out to bring a media planning tool in-house that could handle all types of media – tv, radio, print, digital, outdoor, and every other media channel. In addition to housing all types of media, the system needed to have an intuitive interface, multiple user collaboration functionalities, and an affordable price.
Bionic Selected as Best Media Planning Tool
Erica and Pam compared Bionic Media Planning Software to other tools but ultimately decided, “The other tools evaluated didn’t make sense for us. Bionic seemed to have more, and it was more in line with our business needs and our business model. I liked that we can house all our clients in Bionic. There was no limit to how many plans we can have and how many clients. So that was very attractive.”
Setup and Training Was Easy
The Austin Williams media team decided on their approach to onboard Bionic and began with training. Erica felt, “It was an easy to use platform. It was very straight forward. Training went well, and the platform was easy to set up and start transitioning and using.”
Bionic comes with free, customized onboarding and unlimited support. Unlike other platforms, implementing Bionic does not take a lot of time. Because of Bionic’s robust set of features and tools, the onboarding approach is customized to each team’s priorities.
Centralized All Media Plans
For Austin Williams, getting the media plans housed in the system was the priority. From there, the media team addressed the needs of each of their clients with customized media plans to track individual requirements, especially for the more complex needs. Custom columns and pick lists are set up quickly and provide a powerful tool to track spending in flowcharts and allocations.
“The great thing the account team loved was that we could punch out media plans a lot faster with all the details. In the past, we would create the flow chart, get the approval, and then have to create all the details that go behind it that the account team relies on producing. With Bionic, they can access that information sooner and therefore service the clients more effectively,” Erica shared.
Media Planning with Ease and Confidence
Organization and execution of media plans require keeping track of many details. Erica explains, “The project management tool has been great and allows us to keep up with deadlines and when tasks are due. So, as we are building the plan and putting in the space closing dates and the material closing dates, Bionic automatically captures the dates that everything’s due and will prompt us with email reminders.”
Forecasting Media Spending for Clients
The media team uses the scheduling feature to forecast potential spend for our clients. According to Pam Schneck, “Our accounting department will ask me what’s our spend for a particular month. We can go by the client into that scheduling features, set the dates to a time period, and then I’m able to pull what the forecast spend is during that time.”
Clients Love New Media Plan Format
Austin Williams’ clients like the new media plan format from Bionic. What they love is the way that the team can pull spending – accurately and quickly. Flowcharts, IOs, and Media Authorizations are available as instant downloads. Pam elaborates on the usefulness of exporting key documents, “It’s already done for us with the click of a button, and that’s when that saved us a ton of time and been really helpful.”
Clients Impressed by State-of-the-Art Tools
Austin Williams can now show current and prospective clients that they have a tool that is state-of-the-art to manage cross channel campaigns. With Bionic, they can grow the business they have and successfully pitch new business. Erica explains, “It has been really helpful and a selling point as well. In some of the new business pitches, we will say how we have a media planning software that is state-of-the-art. We can have all of the plans housed, and we’re able to plan and capture all the data and information effectively. It is efficient and effective.”
More Than Just Productivity Gained
The goal was to save time with a new planning tool, and the team achieved more than expected. Erica continues, “Having bionic now the team has increased productivity by 50% that we can use to put into more things like strategy. I’m reaching out to more vendors, looking into more opportunities, which is great. And, that’s how we win more business.”