Media shops must adapt to digital changes to survive

The industry is divided on whether the media agency model needs reinventing.

Media shops must adapt to digital changes to survive

Delegates at Media360 last week disagreed with a panel of top executives over whether media shops need to change their model.

The panel argued that media agencies do not need to reinvent themselves but make sure that they are constantly evolving to move with the rapid changes in the digital landscape. However, the delegates voted (77%) in favour of reinvention.

Marc Zander, global media director at Mars Chocolate, said there are three areas in which media agencies need to excel in order to succeed: measurement, collaboration with creative agencies, and ecommerce.

Speaking at Media360, he said: "Brands are moving from a place where we tell our stories to a place where we build stories, and we have a tremendous opportunity within that.

"We need to get media at the heart of our comms process and develop a creative toolkit to reach opportunities. The agencies that succeed will be the ones that are able to operate much better with creative agencies."

There have been strong signs recently of the return of the full-service agency as creative shops set up media in-house, while clients such as Asda require their creative and media agencies to work under the same roof.

MediaCom chief executive Josh Krichefski explained that technology is driving media shops to work closer with creative ones: "Media agencies understand more about effectiveness and are more in control of data, so they need to work closer with creative."

However, Krichefski warned that digital media planners should not "fall into the trap" of ignoring production costs.

A question of trust

Media shops are facing increasing pressure to be more transparent. At the end of April, ISBA claimed that agencies are undermining the trust of their clients because they are leaving out details around "click fraud, viewability, verification and brand safety".

The industry is nervously awaiting the Association of National Advertisers’ findings into rebates, barter, arbitrage, dark pools, inventory management, global transactions and supply-chain media management in the US too.

One way of trying to ensure that advertisers get the best media planning and buying is to separate the two, as Mars Chocolate has done. But Zander said that neutrality was not the reason behind the strategy, which focuses on global planning and local buying.

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