To be honest, I love the thrill of change. It keeps you on your toes, forces you to look at and approach things differently, to reinvent yourself and ensure you don’t stagnate for too long. And boy oh boy, the wave of change really impacted the media industry in 2015 and I suspect 2016 will be pushing us to work even harder and smarter than ever before.
Here are some macro factors to look at to fully grasp the impact on the media industry in South Africa.
We’ve all seen the headlines – 2016 is going to be a tough year: We will experience interest rate hikes due to the falling value of the Rand, forecasts for economic growth are gloomy and the effects of El Niño will result in increasing food prices.
From a consumer point of view this means that goods will become more expensive and the R100 in your pocket won’t be able to buy what it did last year. In essence, consumers will become even more cash strapped, will have to think twice about buying certain products and start making even more basic necessity trade-offs.
You know what this means – a huge impact on our clients and especially their marketing budgets. In 2016 we can expect to see marketing budgets under more pressure than before and clients needing more with less. I also suspect that clients will be heavily reliant on the media industry to come up with more innovative and cost effective ways to reach their consumers.
How has this anything to do with trends and insights for 2016?
I honestly believe that factors like this have started to and will continue to impact the way the media industry operates. The role of media agencies is shifting to a higher gear – in the past we’ve hung our hats on being media experts. However, as consumers are evolving, demanding more from brands and digital impacting, changing and shaping the way they consume media, clients are looking to us to analyse the impact of these macro factors on consumers and to adapt our media strategies accordingly.
At the end of 2015 The MediaShop held a series of sessions where we looked at our industry’s past, present and future, how it’s changed and how it will continue to change in the future. One of these sessions was aptly themed Evolve, Adapt and Survive. In this session we explored the relevance of the media agency as it stands now, how do we ensure that we are still relevant in the next five years and what changes need to be made to ensure our survival.
The most interesting insights out of the session can be summarised:
- Just specialising in media is not enough to survive;
- Media agencies need to look at diversifying offerings to stay current and relevant;
- Rather than being media experts shift to being marketing expert;
- Analyse consumer insights and how that will impact purchase behaviour and media consumption; understand the evolving nature of digital and that digital media is only a part of it, SEO, SMO, branded content and content management are all areas that we need to explore;
- Remove silos within media agencies based on titles;
- To survive each person needs to understand buying, planning, strategy, digital strategy etc. to such a degree that a planner can have a conversation around digital with a client and vice versa.
I’m excited for 2016. We’ll have to be on top of our game to navigate the legion of challenges and be forced to revisit some of our core functions. I know I’ll have to be innovative with my own client accounts and media channels to emerge stronger and more resilient.
Onwards and Upwards! Are you with me…?
Louise Hefer is currently a media strategist, planner and CCM (Chief Coffee Maker) at The MediaShop.
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