If I was a marketer I would be glad I waited out the (last) recession to review my media investments. It may prove that patience is valuable in seeking additional value from media spend. However, I would probably be getting ready to review in 2012 (if there is a current commercial imperative within the business). Get set, go!
I wrote recently about some of the implications of media business reviewing next year and I have a few posts lined up on this subject looking at specific implications for agencies, clients, media owners and auditors.
For now, below are some thought starters on whether this is the right time for you:
What does 2012 mean?
It’s probably the year of value propositions. Agencies are likely to start seriously pushing back against the commoditization of media, a few media agencies are forming some strong new propositions based on data platforms and measurable performance. Providing for the first time a real sense that there may after all be a rational link to be found between investment and return when it comes to marketing. Hope I'm not speaking too soon but the signs are good.
Two scenarios: a) 2012 as a recovery market (maybe) – everything sounds better and budgets easing, time to innovate. b) 2012 as a Double-dip market (maybe) - agencies seeking volume, deals to be had, time to innovate. Take your pick...
Plus of course its Olympics year when we all go brand crazy and marketing budgets sound like Scottish lottery syndicate winners. Perhaps not.
Our advice at ID COMMS is always start your considerations early – it is never too early to seek help and get your own teams aligned and prepared. Reviews that rush to market too quickly (sometimes because they are prematurely leaked to the market) are not rewarding for anyone. The old adage "if you don't know where you're going just about any route will get you there" is never truer than in agency review. Pre-planning pays off in heaps, not just peace of mind but in financial gain too.
Opportunities next year
Since the recession kicked in some big new client/agency contracts have created (see previous posts) this means many big trading positions have been established by reviews in 2008/09 which have left the market exposed in some places, some agencies struggling to deliver promises to clients in some areas. However there are smart clients that waited to see what their competitors did and can now take advantage of a very different media landscape whilst their competitors are ladened with savings-focused trading deals from 2009 that are not flexible enough to become value-creation deals and can't exploit the current excellent media thinking in agencies. The dust has settled, trading positions become clearer. These challenger brands are (and should be) looking for more than price reduction opportunities in the current market place.
Talent, talent, talent. Lots of fresh resource in agencies, the recession allowed agencies to cut out some dead wood and lose expensive resources that were underused or misused. Most agencies now seem to have much leaner, efficient, modern structures. The recession allowed them to rethink how they service clients, their propositions, how they build teams and where their strategic priorities should lie. They’ve had a couple of years to do this cleansing and rebuilding and now they are ready with fresh teams, new offices, new processes and structures. Ready to be put to the test by the next wave of post-recession / double-dip review.
Agency world is bouncing back, the numbers are still tough but there are some strong propositions out there now, with new innovations in performance and data management.
If I had a budget, I'd be looking at a new approach for media next year. Start thinking...