Viewpoints: The media agencies

Click here to read the cover feature: Are you changing the way you buy media?
Click here to read what the brand owners think
Click here to read what the media owners think


Irwin Gotlieb, chief executive, Group M

The idea that evolution will bring us a scenario where brands buy their own media directly from media owners is very silly. I do not have a single client that I am aware of that is looking to go into that business. It takes massive investment in talent, technology, systems and analytics. But it is not just the investment, clients are not in that business. I’m not about to start manufacturing snack food products [as a client might].

Today we have to trade in our traditional area of expertise in paid media but also earned and owned media. Earned is everything from the social sphere where we need to listen to the conversations and participate in them as appropriate. Owned media is content that we create that portrays the brand attributes that we want to promote. But on the paid media side the models are shifting quite dramatically as well. Now we can define our audiences and targets much more precisely and that will become more pronounced because we will have actual purchase patterns, behaviour patterns and therefore patterns of intent.

Brands have access to limited amounts of data and certainly not the media consumption side of it. Nobody has access to all the data, but the challenge over the next few years is for someone like us to join the various data streams and form them together alongside the right analytics, with the appropriate targeting and de-duplication work across the audiences.

As we refine our target definitions, the ability to segment the market and the need to customise the message increases. That greater segmentation and the communication’s design almost goes hand in hand with the target definition. The media agency will be a larger part of developing the creative briefs, just because of the analytics and insights it brings.


Mike Cooper, global chief executive, PHD Worldwide

Technology has a habit of fundamentally reorganising industries. In the next 12 months, we are likely to see the emergence of real-time bidding for auctioned ad space, in the closed environment of ad exchanges. These will encourage more risk-averse media owners and more premium inventory into the real-time bidding system, which should lead to rich media, video and mobile being traded through exchanges. On top of this, Google is now starting to feed YouTube video inventory into its real-time exchange.

An increasing amount of media spend is going to be traded in a bid-based, more automated way, which means that a greater percentage of the media pie will become easier for advertisers to buy direct. Some clients will inevitably be tempted to try. However, with this there will be a greater need for understanding and integrating all of these channels.

Media agencies bring a more quantitative mindset to the party and also they can bring in an understanding of what opportunities exist in the form of channels, technologies and potential partnerships. Not to have media agency or media planning input in the planning stage would be a little odd.

To capture the indirect effects of marketing investment will in most cases require econometric modelling, factoring in all paid-for and owned investments and the resulting earned effects. Reporting right through to financial contribution is the ultimate measure.

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