Media Buying 101: The Evolution of Media Consumer Habits with Mary Ann Pruitt | MP 97

On this marketing podcast, Mary Ann Pruitt talks about Media-Buying 101: The Evolution of Media Consumer Habits.

What is media buying and why must you adapt your marketing to target your audience’s personalities instead of their demographics? How do big life events impact people’s approach to media? Is it possible to use new and traditional media simultaneously in your marketing?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about media buying 101 and the evolution of media consumer habits with Mary Ann Pruitt.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try TherapyNotes! It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and telehealth a whole lot easier.

Check it out and you will quickly see why TherapyNotes is the highest-rated EHR on TrustPilot with over 1000 verified customer reviews and an average customer rating of 4.9/5 stars.

You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support 7 days a week, so when you have questions, you can quickly reach someone who can help, and you are never wasting your time looking for answers.

If you are coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. TherapyNotes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away.

Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022 the best year yet with TherapyNotes.

Meet Mary Ann Pruitt

A photo of Mary Ann Pruitt is captured. She is the CEO and President at Mosaic Media, a collection of media buying experts and creative strategists who negotiate, purchase, and monitor advertising space and airtime. Mary Ann Pruitt is featured on Marketing a Practice, a therapist podcast.

Mary Ann Pruitt is the CEO and President at Mosaic Media, a collection of media buying experts and creative strategists who negotiate, purchase, and monitor advertising space and airtime. She founded Mosaic as a way to provide niche expert experience to agencies and marketing departments across the country.

Mary Ann has helped develop effective marketing strategies for agencies of all sizes, small businesses, service businesses, private educational institutions and legal and professional services businesses along with many others. 

Visit Mosaic Media and connect on Facebook.

Connect with Mary Ann Pruitt on Twitter and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • Media buying 101
  • How to use digital and traditional media together
  • How life changes impact media consumption

Media buying 101

In today’s world, media is nothing but data-driven and everything is data and everything is a story and data always tells us a story. (Mary Ann Pruitt)

Media outlets and marketing strategies have drastically changed over the decades as technology has advanced. A business owner can no longer target certain audiences the way they used to.

I can’t target the female that’s 25 years old the same way I can [target] the woman that is 54 years old, and I should not try to target them the same way [because] they’re not in the same places. (Mary Ann Pruitt)

So, media buying 101 is about:

  • Identifying who your target audience is,
  • And getting deeper: who are they? Where do they spend their time? How can you reach them?

Divide up your target audience. Do not approach them all under one bracket, but sub-divide them between certain ages and market to each age bracket accordingly.

It may sound complex, but it is not.

We can embrace it, we can do things with it, and frankly, we should be excited about what we’re able to do now versus what we were able to do 20 years ago. (Mary Ann Pruitt)

How to use digital and traditional media together

You can successfully combine new digital media with traditional forms, like print media. Identify your target audience, where each type of media is best utilized, and which type of media each target audience mostly interacts with.

You’re having to build this plan that is making sure you’re reaching your audience where they are, and how they are consuming. (Mary Ann Pruitt)

Shift your marketing efforts not to target certain demographics, but rather certain personalities and habits, because this is the newest and best way to reach your audience.

How life changes impact media consumption

Any time we see a catastrophic event take place, you will see media consumption change. (Mary Ann Pruitt)

After 911, the morning news became one of the most popular programs not only in the United States but all over the world.

People want to know that the world they went to bed in was the world they had woken up within, and morning news, therefore, becomes the first thing that many people check.

With economic crises, health crises, or natural disasters, the media habits and consumption of people will change. With COVID-19, there was an almost unanimous global shift in media consumption.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[SAM CARVALHO] Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit If you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. Joining us today is Mary Ann Pruitt, the CEO and president of Mosaic Media collection of media buying experts and creative strategists who negotiate, purchase and monitor advertising space and airtime. She’s here today to share some marketing wisdom from her extensive career in media strategy and how it related to the ever-evolving climate of media. Hi Mary Ann, thanks so much for joining us today. [MARY ANN PRUITT] Hi Sam. Thanks for having me on. [SAM] Can you tell us a bit about your story and how you got to where you are now? [MARY ANN] Yes, so my story is one of those journeys, I actually volunteer and teach high school students fairly often and regularly, and I tell them, I wish that somebody would’ve told me you can choose your career, you could choose what you want to do, as opposed to my career found me. I loved it, I love every minute of it, but you find yourself on this journey of where you’re headed and you accidentally become what you become as opposed to knowing for sure this is what I want to do. So my journey really started of, I actually started as a graphic designer in high school a long time ago when we still had to sketch things and we still had to scan them into computers as opposed to it being difficult. I’ve showed you how long ago that was. I fell in love with marketing during that timeframe. Then through college, I actually fell in love with economics and statistical data. So I worked my whole way through college but learned about economics and statistical data and it actually led me to a path of media that I never thought would happen because, and now in today’s world, media is nothing but data-driven. Everything is data. Everything is a story and data always tells us a story and it’s really neat to just see that transition, spent some time in TV and radio to where I am now, where we’re specializing in targeting audiences. [SAM] Amazing. I love how you said that your career found you. That’s awesome. So can you tell us a bit about media buying 101 for the audience who isn’t quite sure what’s involved. [MARY ANN] When I started in my career in media, it was fairly simple. We thought it was complex then over 20 years ago, but now we look at it and it’s really complex. So media 101 now sounds simple and it sounds easy, but it really starts in you finding who that target audience is of who you’re trying to reach. When I first started in media, it was okay, let’s find the target audience. Now we’re going to reach women 25 to 54 years old and we’re going to have TV, radio and print. These are our options. This is what we have. Now that is not the case. Now you have all the options under the sun of what you can do to target. I can’t target the female that’s 25 years old, the same way I can. The woman that’s 54 years old. I should not try to target them the same way. They’re not in the same places. So media 101 and media buying 101 is identify who that target audience is right out of the gate and once you think that you have them identified, identify them more, get deeper, get deeper, get deeper, get deeper and find out those specifics of who they are and where they are and how you can reach them. In today’s world of digital, we’ve found so many amazing things and tools of what we’re able to do to target people that really just goes back to that simple question of who is it that you’re trying to reach and target with your buys? [SAM] I was thinking just as you were saying, go deeper, I was going to say would you recommend, yes, obviously honing in as much as you can on a specific audience, but would you recommend, so let’s say someone in our audience does want to target women 24 to 50, but like you say, there’s different strategies within that. So then would you recommend honing into even more your ideal clients to say like 24 to 28 and then sticking with that, or working then on like multiple strategies to attract the broader range? [MARY ANN] That’s a great question, Sam, because you can have more than one target audience. You don’t have to have just one, but when you own it in and, so let’s say, okay, you say, I want to reach 25, 54 women, but really, it’s actually 50 to 54 and it’s 24 to 28, these are the windows that we’re trying to reach, so dig deeper on those two. How do we get as deep as we possibly can of who those are and what they’re doing? So instead of saying, I just want to reach this wide range of women, identify, I want to reach the 24- to 28-year-old woman who is starting her career, who not starting a family yet, but her career is everything. She may drive an SUV, she may drive a sports car, she may not drive. She may use public transportation. Finding out literally the specifics of what she’s looking and doing. She may make a certain income. She may have certain goals. She may have a specific job. In today’s world we can target down to that. Traditional media is not dead. We use traditional media in very specific targeting and very specific things of what we want to do. Use your traditional media for live events like news and sports, but our digital targeting, I can say, I want that woman that’s 24 to 28 years old, and this is her career, she just finished college, she may have some student loan debt. All these things that go into it and the more I get into her political beliefs or I get into her individual, all the above of who she is, that’s when I’m starting to really identify my audience and I can target her more. [SAM] Definitely has gotten more complex. [MARY ANN] Yes, there is. Well, and I think that’s the biggest thing, is my job is to try to keep it as simple as possible in such a complex world. We’ve seen so many things shift through the pandemic of the consumer behaviors and habits that take place. So you have a lot of people evolved and changed through the pandemic. Habits were formed, different things were formed, like you do things differently. In the United States, we didn’t have people regularly just delivering groceries to us. Now it’s a regular thing. It’s two years now. I don’t go into a grocery store. That’s ridiculous. I’m going to have it delivered. So these various things that you look at in the fifties when the milk used to be delivered to your door, we’re back to that circle. We sure do. But the habits that changed and the things that took place, it also happened in our media consumption where we see now generations consuming media differently than they did even just two years ago. We saw an evolution of media take place overnight, in some generational behaviors overnight that actually would’ve taken probably a decade or more, or in some cases, older generations, would’ve never gotten there. So we saw our older generations turn to social media more than they ever have before. They didn’t know social media existed. Now they’re on social media. This is how they stay in touch. I can’t tell you my father-in-law who’s in his seventies, he tells me on a regular, I saw this ad on Facebook and what does this mean? They’ve become experts. They just know everything, the shift and the behaviors we have to embrace that. But it sounds complex, but it’s not as complex as it sounds, it really is not. We’re able to embrace it. We are able to do things with it and frankly, we should be excited about what we’re able to do now versus what we were able to do 20 years ago. [SAM] I think it’s so interesting that you said, because we’ve also discussed that just like within my friendship circles, how COVID-19 fast forwarded things and how we were heading into a world where remote working was becoming more of a possibility and things like that. Now, I mean, it’s almost like if a company doesn’t offer remote work, people refuse to work for them, which is crazy because two years ago, everyone was going into the office and it was like a normal thing. So yes, that’s so interesting. It’s like, just to see how much it’s actually affected, I mean, everything including media, obviously, [MARY ANN] Our habits have changed and it’s exciting that now we are able to do what we can in targeting. We are able to have the conversations with our target audience at more than we ever have before. It’s changed the world of sales of how we’re selling our products and how we’re doing things. [THERAPY NOTES] Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers. If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes for free, no strings attached. Remember telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022, the best year yet with Therapy Notes. [SAM CARVALHO] So you did mention a little bit earlier about how traditional media isn’t dead. So can you give a bit of insight into how you can go about using digital and traditional media together? [MARY ANN] Yes. So it’s very important that you use them further strengths. When you’re identifying who you’re target audience is, I will always go back to that, that’s step number one is, identify who that target audience is. Then you’re going to know and identify where each piece of media is best utilized and which tactic and format is best utilized. So our traditional formats, when it comes to television, let’s use television specifically, we know that live events, sporting concerts, various things, they still have quite a bit of viewership that take place. I will tell you this, the thing that’s interesting, a few weeks ago, when the Oscars were on, I have a son, my youngest son is very into theater and everything, movies, all the above and, “Mom, we have to watch the Oscars. We have to watch the Oscars.” I looked at my husband and I didn’t know how to turn on the cable box. I was like, I don’t know how to use this without streaming, so talk about habits changing, but I was looking okay, how do I use this? How do I get there because this is a live event that I’m going to go to? So you’re going to utilize your television for your live events, as well as you’re going to utilize your television for local news. A key thing that we found during the pandemic as well, just like I talked about the older generations logging onto social media because, and they were hesitant before, but now this is the only way they’re going to stay in contact with their families, it’s the only way they’re going to talk to their grandchildren, this is the way it is, we saw the younger audiences embrace more traditional platforms than they had in the past. What we saw was because news, news was the most important thing for them to get during the pandemic, it created that habit with the younger generation where local radio stations and local TV was so important to younger generations. It was almost as if it was a new platform of there’s a local TV station that will tell me all the COVID counts in my town and in my county. That’s hilarious to those of us who have been around in it for a long time of no, this isn’t new technology. This has been here for a very long time but to them it was new and it was something that they embraced and we found them tuning into local radio stations in the morning and watching news and just keeping their finger on the pulse. They did at times consume it in a more modern platform on social media, but it was still local news. So there’s still that strength in the traditional platforms. You’re talking about how we marry them together. The traditional platforms are now on our digital platforms and you’re having to build this plan that is making sure that you’re reaching your audience where they are and how they’re consuming. I would highly encourage everyone to look at having programmatic placement in all of your buys. You should be digitally targeting all of your audience and who your audience is and what programmatic is it’s no longer are we targeting demographics. We’re targeting an individual persona and behaviors that go with the demographics and what we want. That’s where we get deeper and deeper and deeper of what our target audience is. [SAM] That hits into my next question, which is how can you use media to target the specific habits and behaviors of your target audience? [MARY ANN] The programmatic placement is by far the best tool where you can layer in specifics. And it’s a bidding process. Right now, it is like the frontier of media where everybody’s trying to figure it out and they don’t understand it’s expensive to bring it on in-house, but it really is like for us, we try to be the best of both worlds, where we are a, we have a seat specifically on a trade desk to be able to bid it out but yet you get the customization as if it were in house, as if it was in your team and your team operating it. So you get that balance with vendors like us that are able to do those things and customize it to what you’re looking for as if we are your in-house team, but we are bidding directly on a trade desk. What’s really important about that, because it is a bidding process and I try so hard to make this more simple for people to understand because it’s so confusing. What do you mean my ads just show up or my ads just target? We call them layers that we’re adding on. So you’re starting with the demographic, but then you’re putting in the layers of the different persona individual things and targets that we’re looking at. That can be everything from, like I said, a job position to a political position, to an opinion, to a salary, to where you live, to what type of car you drive, if you’ve taken out any loans recently. So there’s all these different layers that we can do in it and we can target and that’s really important. That’s why you need to get to know your customer more and more and in that targeting. But programmatic placement, it is the frontier, but you need to be using it and utilizing it in your mix and not being scared of it because it’s actually more affordable than people realize and what you can do with it. There are groups out there that like, oh, we have minimums, we have this, you have to spend certain much. There’s many ways to do it without having to spend minimums and having to do certain things. Now you also can’t spend a thousand dollars and try to target all of New York city and think that that’s going to work [SAM] There are certain limitations. [MARY ANN] Yes. [SAM] So, I mean, we’ve just touched on the effect that COVID 19 had and I think that’s the thing about media in general, but specifically digital media is that it is ever changing and ever evolving. So you obviously are front and center of the evolution of media, consumer habits and how that’s changed over the years. Obviously tons of changes happening COVID 19 I’m sure. But can you tap a bit into that and like how people can maybe stay on top of that and how often things change? [MARY ANN] Yes, anytime we see a catastrophic event take place, you will see media consumption change. So in September 11th we saw media consumption change where actually morning news became the hottest topic there was and the hottest product there was morning news was where all of our consumers were right after September 11th. Why was that? There was many studies that we all did and we were all a part of, but the reason why was after September 11th morning news became so popular in the states, but all over the world actually was because of the fact that they wanted to know that the world that they went to bed to was the world that they woke up to. So we found that morning news went through the roof. So anytime there’s a catastrophic event globally or locally, that then affects globally, you’re going to see any type of evolution in behavior and in any type of media consumption behavior. In this case, what we found in the pandemic and frankly, a lot of times, all these also go with economic crisis, these go with any health type crisis, any type of horrible catastrophic event that takes place, a natural disaster. You see habits change, but it’s the more on the global effect and on a region effect that you will see that the most, but what we found with COVID-19 first, it was global. There’s no question about that. We saw shifts and changes take place globally, not just in a specific region or a specific nation or a specific continent. You saw habits change. We saw them shift drastically when it came to media. It’s interesting because they were almost broken out by generation of how we saw these shifts take place. So we saw our older generations that were not embracing digital embrace digital overnight. They knew then that is how they were going to stay in contact with their family where we saw younger generations, not if they were already on digital, digital was everywhere and digital was the way to be, was we saw them embrace a more traditional platform and start to realize, but I will tell you this, is that the habits that they already had didn’t change. They were still consuming the media that they were always consuming, but they just added a layer of what else they were consuming on top of it. So our younger generations didn’t stop with the digital platforms. They didn’t stop with the social platforms. They just added the layer of traditional on top of it. Our older generation didn’t stop with the traditional platforms. They just added digital on top of it. So what happens is now we actually have a very media, heavy consumption society and globally, this is globally where media is over consumed where digitally, whether that’s reading articles, whether that’s streaming video, whether that’s watching local news, we are over consuming media because we are over consuming and craving information. That happens with any type of disaster, any type of event that takes place. What’s fascinating with COVID is with other catastrophic events and other things that take place you have the event take place and then within a month or two things teeter off and things start to change. We’re in this for over two years now and we’re still evolving and we’re still changing and we’re still not sure what to believe and what not to believe. We have all got all this mystery about it and we’re all over the place, but we’re still trying to figure out information, but we are starting to find that articles about COVID are not being read as much as they were before because now, we’re like, whatever, we have to live with this. It’s a very interesting world to be in, but we’re in these two years now, as opposed to a month or two, where things would then go back to a different normal. We’re trying to go back to a normal, that’s really not arriving. The normal hasn’t arrived. The normal is still weird and we’re still trying to figure it out. So our consumption behaviors are still very interesting and unique to study. Honestly, I would love to come back and, 20 years from now, come back to this timeframe and really just dive in and study everything that’s happening. I’m so psychologically and society driven all the above. [SAM] It’s been a crazy time here and I’m just thinking, as you’re speaking, so my husband and I, which is so funny now that I think about it in the beginning, like when COVID first started because I mean, we all thought it was going to last like two weeks, we realized as you said, yep, like a month max. So to get us through the initial lockdown, we set up like a chalkboard countdown. Then every day would be like, ah 10 days to go, nine days to go and it would motivate us to get through it. Then they extended the lockdown and we were like, okay, okay. So we went back to 20 days or whatever countdown and then eventually we just threw the chalk away because we were like, okay, this isn’t actually, not positive reinforcement anymore. This is just the worst. [MARY ANN] Well, and think about all of the different, think about socially, how our children have changed and think about how all these various pieces and elements of what we are dealing with for the last two years and think about the exhaustion. Think about the mental exhaustion. Think about the overall physical exhaustion, all the above the health. We are seeing this layer of effect that has taken place. And what’s interesting on the media front of the mental health side of it is that people are craving an escape of some sort. Now people are starting to travel again, they’re starting to get back out and about, but they’re still craving that escape from reality, that escape from what’s going on and that’s why we’re going to, we see so much streaming happening because people care about, like they’re binging shows way more than they were before. This is something that, this is a regular thing now. This isn’t a I’m just going to stay home on a Saturday and watch a few episodes of a show. No, this is a regular thing and the pandemic shoved us into it. It just pushed us right off the cliff into behaviors that we weren’t there yet. We weren’t going to evolve to a point of that, but it just pushed us right into it. It’s very fascinating to see, but as practices and as marketers, it actually provided this amazing opportunity for us to be able to target more and more, the data we have on people and the data that we have on our target audiences is much more than we’ve ever had. The opportunities that we have to reach our target audience in affordable ways are much further than what they’ve ever been before. [SAM] Amazing. Very interesting. So Mary Ann, if people wanted to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do that? [MARY ANN] They can reach me on my Twitter handle at Media Maps. I’m on LinkedIn as well, Mary Ann Pruitt. But if you want to reach me directly our website, That goes directly to my email. Fill out, if you have questions about media, if you want to pick somebody’s brain or our team’s brain, if you want someone to just look over your media plans and audit them, let us know. We are here to help. We’re here to have those conversations and guide you through that. [SAM] Awesome. We’ll have all of that linked in the show notes. If every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [MARY ANN] I would want them to know to embrace sales. Don’t run away from it, embrace it and embrace the fact that reaching your target audience is more available than it ever has. So identify who that is, who is it that you want to have come into your practice? Who is it that is your ideal customer and think about it more and more. Right when you think that you figured it out, put a few more layers on it. The opportunities are so big for you to be able to micro target who you want to have come into your practice and who you want to have as your customer. So embrace that, embrace it, don’t be scared of it, embrace it, and be excited about it. Be excited about what we can do. I think so many times people want to run away from it, because it’s scary and I don’t know how to do it. There’s plenty of us out there who can help you do it. So just embrace it and then figure out what the best way and tools are to have you help do it. [SAM] Amazing. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve discussed here today, for all the interesting and valuable information that you’ve provided. It’s been amazing having you on the podcast. Thanks Mary Ann. [MARY ANN] Thank you so much, Sam. I really appreciate it. [SAM] Thanks again to Therapy Notes for sponsoring this episode. Remember to use the primary code, [JOE], that’s J-O-E to get three free months to try out Therapy Notes for free, no strings attached. Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to If you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon. Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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