Mediaocean (fka Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank) has been providing media workflow technology since 1968. Their strengths are in billing and order management at the “big 4” holding company agencies in the United States and UK. Their weaknesses are the lack of usable media planning tools, limited ability to serve independent agencies, inability to serve clients with operations outside of the US and UK, and a high cost. Mediaocean has attempted to address its weakness in media planning with its Prisma product, but its functionality is limited to digital media and its users typically still use Excel for media planning.

In contrast, Bionic provides user-friendly media planning software that enables you to plan your entire media budget in one holistic interface, it’s friendly to organizations both big and small, and you can get Bionic at a fraction of the price.

Key Differences

  1. Not for Media Planning – Prisma customers often avoid creating their media plans in Prisma. Instead, they create media plans in Microsoft Excel then import (or rekey) the data into Prisma. This indicates problems with the media planning interface. It also defeats the purpose of having a system because it hobbles collaboration, versioning, research, analysis and adopts all the problems of Excel. In contrast, Bionic customers that use the Bionic interface to create their media plans report a 30 percent improvement in media planning productivity over Excel. That’s how it should be, right?
  2. Limited to Digital Advertising Channels – Prisma is limited to digital media, which is typically only a small portion of the overall media budget. Mediaocean offers other products for other media channels, but they’re not integrated with Prisma. With Bionic, you can plan your entire media budget across all media channels in one unified interface.
  3. Used at “Big 4” Agencies, Not Independent Agencies – Prisma’s installed customer base is with the agencies at the “Big 4” holding companies. These holding companies have held long term contracts with Mediaocean in billing, order management, and workflow which force its agencies to use the full stack. At independent agencies that are free to choose their own media planning tools, Prisma has not had much success. In contrast, Bionic has been very successful at serving independent agencies that are able to explore the market and choose their media planning software based on its merit. And Bionic works for big agencies, too. It’s enterprise-class features give agencies of all sizes the controls and structure you need to centralize, standardize, and streamline your media operations.
  4. Weak International Support – Prisma lacks the features required for global advertising. In contrast, Bionic was built from the ground up to support media planning in multiple markets.
  5. No Media Plan Optimization – With Prisma, you only get limited media plan summary information, which makes it difficult to optimize and report on your media plan. Bionic provides you with detailed breakdowns of your media plan from every perspective: over time, by channel, by vendor, by ad unit, and by every other dimension of your plan.
  6. No Advertising Flowcharts – Prisma does not create advertising flowcharts, which is one of the most important documents in the media planning process. Bionic creates flowcharts with a click of a button.
  7. No Media Plan Presentations – Prisma is of no help when you need to create presentations, which are critical in the process of getting approval on your media plan. Bionic creates comprehensive PowerPoint presentation chock-full of graphs, charts, reports and company logos directly from your media plan. Save hours of time and eliminate errors and omissions.
  8. Weak Performance Monitoring – Prisma can’t monitor your marketing performance and pacing against your goals. This is like having a finance system that lets you create budgets but doesn’t allow you to track your revenue and expenses against that budget. With Bionic, your marketing performance data flows in automatically from other systems and is compared against your plans. It’ll even alert you if anything is not going as planned.
  9. No Product Transparency – Prisma doesn’t provide product demonstrations or screenshots on their website. They require you to see the product through a salesperson. There’s probably a reason for that. In contrast, Bionic gives you an online product demonstration that shows you all the key features of the system at your own pace without a salesperson pressuring you.
  10. Conflicts of Interest – Prisma often gets a “kickback” from the media vendors, a percentage of the media you buy through the system. This is a hidden tax that is frowned upon by advertisers because it artificially inflates the cost of their media and reduces the media paid to the media vendor. In contrast, Bionic provides you with clean and honest fees with no conflicts of interest.
  11. High Prices – Prisma doesn’t post prices on its website. You have to ask for a price quote from a salesperson. It’s reputed to be very expensive. With Bionic, you get no nonsense pricing including software, upgrades, and all the support you need for $195 per month per user.
  12. Inflexible Terms – Prisma locks customers into long term contracts. Bionic allows flexible month to month licensing and a money-back satisfaction guarantee. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel any time.

Did we miss anything?

We’d love your suggestions to improve this competitive review. Please let us know what is missing or wrong. We’ve done our best to present a factually correct review based on readily available information on the internet and third parties to source this information.

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Are you looking to ditch Excel? Or maybe just looking for a good media planning system? Go to the media planning software page to learn more about the product and to watch a demo.

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