There has been a lot of talk in the marketing and advertising industry recently regarding the changing role of media agencies.
Questions of full-service, boutique, specialist, renumeration, budgets, cost cutting and procurement go round and round, but as far as I’m concerned, the fundamental discussion should be how the media agency can achieve the best possible ROI (return on investment) for the client.
To achieve this, media buying, strategy, planning and all factors combined is not a ‘gut feel’ process – there must be a level of science that is applied, data collected, an interrogation of the insights behind that data. In fact, go beyond what the data says and garner a true understanding of what it really means.
In other words – what’s the story behind the story?
Marketing is being held more accountable, and in the next five years, this department, where today, budgets are slashed at the slightest downtick in the economy, will start leading organisations. This movement will result in the marketing director being recognised and brought onto the board, with titles morphing into deep customer-centricity and results delivery – CMO (chief marketing officer), CCO (chief consumer officer) or a CGO (chief growth officer).
Soon, marketing will know more about their customers than ever before, and become more accountable to the business and this is one of the fundamental areas where media agencies must adapt to fit into this thinking.
Marketers are turning to media agencies, seeking business metrics that go far beyond media measurement and these future guardians of data, the marketers, are realising that media agencies hold a huge amount of consumer information as part of their data sets. THAT data is very commanding!
Enter the un-media media agency – one that is driven by the principles of data usage to inform media decisions in a way that has a real influence on sales. No more petty squabbling between digital, creative and media agencies, because of this data, media agencies – in most cases – will automatically hold the reigns to any campaign and be the lead agency.
Gone are the good ol’ days where a single placed advert will reach the bulk of the population. Today, media is much more complex and fragmented with a very ‘switched on’ and savvy consumer on the receiving end, providing us with endless opportunities to connect and engage with our customers.
It is the role of the agency to understand and navigate through those choices in a way that is innovative, creative, effective and efficient.
Agencies of the future need to be small, agile and nimble, to have the flexibility to adapt to fast moving changes in the media landscape but even more importantly, the huge changes that the consumer is undergoing in their personal and professional environments. It’s one of the greatest assets that we as an un-media media agency have.
The ‘good idea’ is still a powerful currency in the world of advertising, whether it be creative or media, but without the ability to know your customer, I mean really know them, this good or even great idea will only fall on deaf ears and sightless eyes.
Quanita Salie is media director at Meta Media Cape Town. She has worked in the advertising/marketing field for the past 19 years, in full service creative agencies, media independents, corporates and digital. Her experience includes working on FMCG, retail, automotive, ecommerce and financial services. She’s ex-AMASA CT chairperson and AMF committee member driving education within the industry. She’s passionate about training and development, having lectured at AAA, Red & Yellow and Vega and has developed several intern programmes.
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