In over 20 years of managing advertising campaigns, it never ceases to amaze me how crazy the reasoning behind buying certain advertising packages are.

Here are some tips on how to avoid being taken advantage of:

#1.) Don’t buy a schedule that a media rep is selling. Buy what you need.

When I worked in media sales, I found that management was always coming up with “special packages” that utilized the space or spots that were not being sold and packaging the spots with more desirable space in order to get rid of the underperforming inventory.

This typically was never in the clients’ best interest. And I would never sell them. Because it was the ad space no smart buyers wanted. But they would always have cool names to make the advertiser want to buy. “March Madness Million Spot Package,” “Holiday Special,” “The One Day Sale.” Be careful of these packages. They look good on paper. But most often times, they are not worth the paper (or email) they are printed on.

#2.) Put your ads where your customers are–not where you want to see them.

“I’m paying for the spots so I want to see them.” “I like this show, so can we put my spots there?” “My wife loves this program…how about we place some of our ads there?” If you don’t make up the majority of your target customer base then it’s quite possible you are digesting media in a different way. Be careful to limit your ad dollar waste by placing your message before your core customer base. You will get a better return on investment.

#3.) Determine your desired outcome before you start. If you know the goal you have in mind before you start your campaign, then you’ll know if you achieved it or not. It’s even more effective to have the media outlets on board helping you achieve your goal. Don’t let someone just sell you spots, space, clicks or impressions. You will lose every time. Go into your campaign knowing what you want out of it. Number of visits to your site, number of calls, leads, responses, foot traffic… These are the targets you’ll want to know before your spend a penny.