Media Planning vs. Media Buying

Media planning involves finding the most appropriate media platform to advertise a company or client’s brand/product. Media planners determine when, where and how often a message should be placed. Their goal is to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message to generate the desired response while staying within the designated budget. Media planners also take into consideration the product being advertised, target audience, and campaign goals for accurate results. 
Media buying is the process of buying media placements for advertising (on TV, in publications, on the radio, digital signage, or on websites). The primary goal of media buying is to achieve the highest reach for the lowest possible price. Successful media buyers are skilled in negotiating the price of media on behalf of their client.

The process of media buying and planning both involves the use of research into the target demographic to derive a deep insight into the media consumption habits and purchasing behaviours of consumers.

Media planning is more conceptual, more creative; more research oriented. Whereas, media buying requires honed negotiation skills, an understanding of the communications process and knowledge of how different media variables affect performance and advertising effectiveness. Another notable fact is that separating planning and buying functions can seriously erode the important connection between communications planning and channel execution, ultimately affecting the quality of output for clients. 

Ironically, most people (especially clients) have the belief that buying is more important than planning because that is where the money is spent. Whereas in reality, jumping to media buying straight ahead without effective planning would lead to a major investment without much result. But it is also not wise to do media planning without appropriate media buying as that would not lead to optimum business promotion.