Media: Double Standards - 'The entire industry will be in the pub on 15 June'

Top researchers share insights on the future of the industry, the World Cup and the role of pornography in driving digital uptake.

MICHAEL FLORENCE - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CARAT

- What's the biggest piece of research your agency has produced and how has it been used?

Carat's Consumer Connections Study is the biggest quantitative media research study produced by any UK agency. Every year we survey more than 10,000 people.

- How does your agency use your research and put the results into practice on a day-to-day basis?

Evaluation is part of our culture. We apply modelling to both sales and brand equity using our unique integrated communications evaluation technique, which captures all brand contacts. These learnings are placed directly into the hands of our day-to-day planners.

- What's the biggest threat to the health of the UK advertising industry?

I believe our industry's biggest health hazard is the current client-to-agency business model. The increasing involvement of procurement means agency margins are constantly under pressure and statutory reviews more common. The increase in reviews also means clients are getting strategic thinking and ideas for free from the collateral made available by unsuccessful agencies.

- How will this year's major sporting events impact on the advertising industry?

It is going to be impossible to contact any media owners, agencies or clients after 4pm on 15 June. You will, however, be able to find them in their local pub getting ready to watch England beat Trinidad & Tobago.

- What has been the biggest cultural shift in recent years and how has it impacted on the advertising industry?

For me, it's the growth of peer-to-peer networks. They are more powerful and enabled than ever before. This shift means that brands such as Arctic Monkeys, The JCB Song, Google and eBay can gain credibility among mass audiences through an unofficial media market.

- Will online ever overtake traditional media in terms of advertising spend and, if so, when do you expect it to happen?

There has been a digital explosion, but it is not necessarily being driven by online advertising. We have already seen online overtake cinema and radio spend, but digital will become the "traditional" medium. I believe digital advertising will account for a significant percentage of spend in the next few years.

- What has been the biggest single factor driving the increasing popularity of the internet?

Initially, adult content played a major role in the popularity of the internet, as it did for the home video player, and it is assuredly leading the way in 3G mobile content. Consumer-driven content is now the main driver as individuals demand more online control.

- Is the hype about mobile phones becoming future entertainment systems justified or will they still be just phones?

It is justified as long as phone technology is driven with consumer demand in mind, rather than what companies think will make them money. I believe that we will witness a demand for the convergence of portable devices as soon as wireless capability increases beyond 4G. This one device will point towards the web and people will fulfil their entertainment needs from there.

- What skills do you need to predict future trends?

I think it helps if you are the love-child of Russell Grant and Mystic Meg.

- How did you end up in your current job?

I've enjoyed a long relationship working with Disney, starting at BBJ (now Vizeum) and being asked by Carat and Disney to move with it in 2004 (which was flattering).

- Who will win the 2006 Fifa World Cup?

ITV.

ED WOOLLER - MANAGING PARTNER, MINDSHARE FUTURES

- What's the biggest piece of research your agency has produced and how has it been used?

MindShare 3D is our biggest piece of research. 3D is a unique study that combines a rich understanding of brands with channel information and a social segmentation of British people today.

- How does your agency use your research and put the results into practice on a day-to-day basis?

We focus on producing actionable research and will always recommend ways the research findings can be translated into improved marketing strategy. With a large, quantitative piece of research such as 3D, results are made available to planners and buyers on their desktops, so the information can be used on a day-to-day basis.

- What's the biggest threat to the health of the UK advertising industry?

An inability of advertisers and their agencies to keep pace with the rapid change in consumer media consumption. At a time when marketers are being challenged to justify their spend, it is important that we not only embrace the opportunities of the new environment but also develop ways of measuring its effectiveness.

- How will this year's major sporting events impact on the advertising industry?

Apart from the surge in industry jollies and the spikes in adspend, it will herald the coming of age of associative marketing. It will showcase the full potential of vehicles such as sponsorship and ad-funded content.

- What has been the biggest cultural shift in recent years and how has it impacted on the advertising industry?

The shift from lean-back to lean-forward media consumption. This move from broadcast towards more interactive consumption of media has meant marketers have needed to develop new ways of reaching consumers. The job of media planning has become far more complex.

- Will online ever overtake traditional media in terms of advertising spend and, if so, when do you expect it to happen?

In the new, converged media world, online and traditional media will no longer be appropriate definitions. Rather than a shift from traditional to online, there will be a shift from broadcast to interactive and a change in measurement from reach to engagement.

- What has been the biggest single factor driving the increasing popularity of the internet?

The combination of increased download speeds and richer content that comes with broadband.

- Is the hype about mobile phones becoming future entertainment systems justified or will they still be just phones?

To a large extent, mobile phones are already entertainment systems. The success of texting and the uptake of radio and TV over mobile shows people are prepared to use their mobile devices for things other than just speaking. As they become able to store and deliver rich content, mobiles will become an out-of-home complement to in-home entertainment systems.

- What skills do you need to predict future trends?

An open mind, a deep understanding of consumers and the recognition that consumers, rather than technology, drive future trends.

- How did you end up in your current job?

A desire to migrate west from the Square Mile combined with a passion for new media.

- Who will win the 2006 Fifa World Cup?

Finally, an easy one! England by a nose.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).