All about ... Pringle and Marshall's new book

Jim Marshall discusses his literary collaboration with Hamish Pringle.

Jim Marshall... author
Jim Marshall... author

I have to admit the book was Hamish Pringle's idea. Pringle (the former IPA director-general) is already a renowned author of a number of books on advertising/marketing, and he identified that no book of any great substance has been written about media planning and buying since Simon Broadbent and Brian Jacobs' Spending Advertising Money was published in 1984. He was looking for a co- author, and I had the honour of co-authoring with him.

In truth, the task was not difficult, because so much has happened to fundamentally change the way that advertisers are able to use the various media channels.

The book's title pays homage to Broadbent and Jacobs' book, but highlights the fact that we now operate in a digital environment. And the subtitle, How To Navigate The Media Flow, introduces the main theme of the book: the expansion of media channels and the development of technology have created an environment where the boundaries between the various media channels and platforms have become increasingly blurred.

Consequently, the media, and the advertising they carry, have become ubiquitous. This, in turn, has created the era of "bought, owned and earned media". The book is therefore, first and foremost, about identifying what these changes have been (for example, in 1984, multi-channel TV didn't exist, let alone digital technology and the internet), the impact of these changes on the industry and the way the media and media agencies are responding to these changes.

However, like any good book, there are a number of "subplots".

1. A review of how media planning and buying has developed, initially within advertising agencies and then within media agencies. Interestingly, we identified three phases of this development and each was stimulated by the media environment of the time: the first was the full-service ad agency; the second was the separation of media; and the third, which we are going through currently, is the new integrated agency model, designed for the digital world.

2. The fact that both buyers of media and media owners now operate in a market where there is greater supply than demand. For many years, it was the other way round. This is having extraordinary implications on the structure of the media, from its ownership through to the way it is traded now and how it will trade in the future.

3. Sections on media planning techniques, including budget setting, briefing and strategy development, as well as on current media research, including the latest developments to the IPA TouchPoints research, which we believe will become as influential as the standard media measurement currencies and established research databases such as TGI.

4. A section, provided by the media owners, describing their individual media in the form of an "elevator pitch". For these, we have to thank a number of individuals and also the trade body representing the medium - Thinkbox, the RadioCentre/Radio Advertising Bureau, the Internet Advertising Bureau, the Professional Publishers Association, Point of Purchase Advertising International and the Newspaper Society. The Newspaper Marketing Agency declined the opportunity, which we thought was odd, but News International's Claire Myerscough stepped in admirably on behalf of the newspaper industry.

5. The final chapters of the book address the future and the challenges for media owners and media agencies.

6. Along with the 316-page book, there will be further material put on a website next year. We also tried to include a number of anecdotes and personalised examples. In fact, there is a reasonable amount of humour in the book, though Chris Locke will be disappointed to hear that the media version of the Noddy joke was edited out. (It's probably fair to say that the more cerebral parts can usually be attributed to Pringle, but I provided more than my fair share of the humour/stories!)

Overall, I hope we have been able to show that the business of media has always been interesting, but it has never been as interesting as it is in today's digital age.

Jim Marshall is the chief client officer at Aegis Media. Spending Advertising Money In The Digital Age is published by Kogan Page.



- So who is it aimed at? We say in the introduction: "We hope this book will be useful to those who either work or want to work in media, whether within a client company or a specialist agency, but it may also appeal to people who have a general interest in advertising and marketing communications."

Actually, I now feel that we were being a bit unambitious with this statement. While the book is firmly based in the media practitioner's world, the issues it addresses (both current and future) have a much wider application to advertising and communications generally.

Some years ago, a past IPA president said: "Media is far too important to leave to media people." At the time, this didn't go down well with media people, but there was a strange logic to the statement that becomes much more apparent with the addition of a single word: "Media is far too important to leave to just media people."

In the age of digital media, this has never been more the case. So we think that the book should be of interest and relevance to a far wider group of marketing, advertising and media practitioners. And, of course, the additional sales would be good.