Ad Technology

Back To School, Back To Basics

By: Lynnsey Rijos

“When will I ever need to use this in real life?” is a common question among those in grade school or high school. We’ve all had subjects we were forced to take, but knew there was no way any of it would apply outside of the classroom. Believe it or not, we – meaning working adults – use the standard class curriculum every day. There are certain fields where the usage is much greater than others. In the world of advertising and media, we definitely apply the majority of the subjects, though certainly, with a twist.


Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing are the basics that are used in everyday life – grocery shopping, baking, etc.  the most obvious of the subjects. While we may not need to know the definition of Pi at any given moment, managing budgets, calculating ROI, and negotiating CPMs all require a mathematic skill set.


If you’ve ever cringed at someone using “your” in the context of “you’re,” you have a true appreciation for the English language. It’s never a good sign when there are spelling errors or punctuation misuses in presentations, or in an email to a client. Sometimes they get overlooked, but there are some clients that are very particular and will try to call out any glaring errors, regardless of how minute they may seem.

English, of course, is always a requirement in U.S. schools, but so are foreign languages – Spanish, French, Italian, etc. Many believe that learning another language is most beneficial for traveling. However, if you happen to work on an international brand, think of how valuable you’d be when it comes to weighing in on ad copy, or even just being able to communicate with overseas clients and media partners.


This may sound odd, but it’s applicable to the world of media. It just needs to be looked through a slightly different lens. When building media plans, it’s standard practice to assess what works and what doesn’t work. This is done by analyzing past performance reports and establishing benchmarks. Sure, there isn’t a need to remember when the telephone was invented, but for a client historical data is helpful in Projecting growth.


Granted there isn’t any physics involved, nor biology, but like “history,” the category is subjective. Analyzing data to extract insights is a science, hence why we have Data Scientists. Science is all about answering “why,” and having the evidence to back it up, which is the foundation for any strategy/media recommendation. If you’re unable to formulate the right media mix or have supporting rationale, it’s likely to get approved.


The obvious conclusion is that art would be most relevant on the creative side of the house, which is true. However, we can’t overlook the creativity that goes into building a PowerPoint. While the content is key to tell the story and/or sell through a strategy, it doesn’t hurt to have a visually appealing presentation. Color coordination, flow, alignment, and imagery complete the story and in some cases, make the presentation memorable.

Even Health Education and Computer class lend a helping hand in being productive in the media/advertising workplace! Overall, the intricacies of the school curriculum are not always apparent, but some elements are useful outside the classroom – they’re just structured a bit differently.