What do clients really want? How many times have you seen this as a headline, or as question in a LinkedIn post, article, or as part of a sales pitch? The answer this week seems to be everywhere, which is absolutely fine, but there needs to be some evidence of what it is.
Developing a strategy to understand what brands/advertisers want from media is easy, but to apply this consistently is tough. This week our brand strategy – which in simple terms is talking to advertisers around the world to understand where and what media education they need – unearthed a few interesting trends and insights.
These include topics – some which are obvious, but still not being properly addressed – from how to obtain full transparency across the digital media buying eco-system; a standardisation of measurements across digital platforms; a brand safety tool that ensures ads are not placed next to the wrong content, but equally doesn’t have too many false positives; tools and best practices to foster open cultures within companies, to new client and agency models that place an interesting dynamic around the battle of inhouse v outsourcing.
This all comes at a time when more brands than ever are set to put their global media accounts up for pitch and most intriguingly become the new disrupters of the media eco-system. This chart from COMvergence provides an overview of the global pitches out there within the first seven weeks of 2018.
This disrupter piece began late last year with Deutsche Telekom’s new media structure, transforming the way it conducts its media business and communications, ruffling feathers, making the traditional fraternity take a deep breath, while this year a number of other brands look certain to re-evaluate what they do and how they buy and plan media globally.
We are convinced this will certainly help drive the agenda at Festival of Media Global, when both the global media directors from Mars and Deutsche Tekekom will be on stage revealing the challenges, changes, tough decisions set to be made and what the future of their media eco-systems look like.
It’s clear a lack of trust in the old system and a lack of universal measurements in the digital sphere are dirving this change. While an insistence from business leaders that companies now need to know exactly where every penny or dollar of their marketing budget is going, while ensuring they deliver greater awareness, engagement and ultimately product or service uplift is pushing it even harder.
What does this mean for the traditional eco-system and – the elephant in the room – media agencies? Well it can mean one of two things. Firstly agencies and their holding groups need to implement change to ensure they become more agile, transparent and have a more holistic view of the industry and provide brands with data, insight and efficiency they cannot find elsewhere and therefore remain as a crucial tool in the new media structure.
Alternatively they stay as they are – big beasts struggling to change – and become transactional and administrational machines for brands that are becoming more savvy and educated to utilise their own data, buy their own media and understand the evolving media eco-system allowing them to resonate with their audiences in the right place at the right time.
It’s not all doom and gloom and agencies certainly have the resources to change course and plot a new direction, particularly with the new generation of global leaders starting to ease their way into the top positions, but change in 2018 is crucial for their survival and profit share.
It’s both scary and exciting for the industry, but ultimately great for brands as they get the opportunity to engage, resonate and develop long term relationships with their consumers.