A view from Steve Parker

Of course media agencies can do content marketing - it's a natural step for us

What is the role of today’s "media" agencies? One topic that has arisen is whether they have the credibility, capability or creativity to be serious players in the area of "content marketing". I see it as a natural evolution.

Our role has always been, and always will be, to understand consumers and deliver the right content in the right context to them. It needs to be done in a way that adds value and changes a specific behaviour while delivering tangible business benefits for our clients.

After the honour of wading through numerous awards entries for the forthcoming Media Week Awards, it is clear that my fellow media agency chief executives have similar ambitions, with entries awash with examples of content creation and optimised deliveries.  

Why are we expanding, diversifying and growing in these areas? First, it is the natural evolution of a digital capability journey that we have all been on. One that, for us, has led to more than half of our revenue being delivered through digital, data and content services.  

Second, clients want simplicity and accountable, integrated delivery that creates experiences that matter to their customers – they look to the partners they trust to integrate and deliver on their behalf.

No longer can the traditional model of advertising prevail, where agencies plan six months into the future

The reality is businesses across the communications industry have had to change. The relationship between consumers and brands continues to change. No longer can the traditional model of advertising prevail, where agencies plan six months into the future, laying down big, immovable blocks of media against large audiences defined by their age, gender and where they live.

Today and tomorrow are about planning by the factors that genuinely impact an individual’s relationship and experience with the product at that moment – the weather, the people they are with, their daily routine etc.

This reality means any business in the industry that looks like it did five or even three years ago has been left behind. We have changed and will continue to evolve.

While everyone else has been debating who owns content marketing, we have been building a team of more than 60 diverse specialists who use data to understand what content a consumer wants and take responsibility for creating, curating, delivering and optimising that experience.

It has already helped us become the Cannes Media Network of the Year. I’m all up for continuing the debate but, in my mind, delivery is better.

Steve Parker is the co-chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group