One can’t help but think back on the year that was, and what 2022 is going to have in store for us.
I for one am not a fan of articles that try to predict what the New Year will bring. I have written many such articles and very few of the predictions I have made have actually come to fruition. What I will do, however, is reflect on two thoughts I have seen happening in 2021 and without making predictions, what we should learn and apply going into the New Year!
The year of planning cautiously
The one thing that we definitely noticed in 2021 (well it started in 2020 actually) was that fewer clients are taking the long-term view on their media activity. Gone are the days where we planned an entire year in advance. I have found, and understandably so, that many clients are being a lot more cautious and a lot more reactionary when it comes to their advertising. At best we are planning a quarter in advance; but for many clients, only a month or two prior is becoming the norm. I don’t foresee this changing drastically in 2022.
So, what can we learn? We need to learn to be adaptable, we need to be nimble, and we need to work closely with our media owner (and creative agency) partners to turn things around quickly. Media owners will need to be more flexible with their deadlines, and when clients need to move or cancel campaigns, we need to come to mutually beneficial arrangements with regards cancellation costs etc.
Greater reliance on data
The pandemic has seriously compromised and hampered many of the research houses’ abilities to collect robust data. As an industry, we worked for the better part of two years without meaningful radio audience data, which made it much more difficult to give clients’ proper insights into how consumers were adapting their listening behaviour during the various stages of lockdown. This led to many of the radio stations coming up with innovative ways of providing agencies and clients with data about their audiences, and how listening behaviours were shifting.
What can we learn? Data in this industry is gold, and the ability to interpret the data and give meaningful insights is what turns agencies into alchemists. Lockdowns and Covid infection waves in 2022 might not make data collection by the research houses any easier, so we need to work more closely with our media owner partners to tap into the data and insights that they have on their audiences in order to provide our clients with media solutions that move the business needle!
Without trying to sound like a pessimist, I do not think that Covid is going to magically disappear in 2022. We are going to be living with this for a few more years to come, and if people insist on not getting vaccinated, we will continue to see lockdown restrictions imposed, and we will continue to see wave after wave of infections.
Based on all of this, I foresee 2022 being more of the same as we’ve seen in 2021. But if media agencies, clients, and media owners work together, become more flexible, lean on each other for meaningful audience insights, there is no reason why magic cannot be created!
Until 2022, stay safe, and #StayCurious!
Richard Lord is Media & Operations Director at Meta Media, South Africa’s newest media agency, and part of the IPG global network. At Meta Media we don’t just look at the numbers, we dig deeper, we look for the story behind the story. We find the “so what” to give our clients the edge, to provide real solutions based on real insights. We are real, we stay curious.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.