Five reasons media agencies will thrive - Carat

Strategy is more agile because everything is changing so quickly, and critically .... measurement frameworks that prove the value of what we do. We have skin in ...
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Will Swayne, Carat Global President

Five reasons media agencies will thrive Carat was the world's first media agency. We pioneered the sector and have been redefining what media means for our clients ever since. Perhaps that's why I got so animated when I was asked for my point of view on the dialogue within our industry over the future of agencies. I cannot understand staring into that future and failing to see that media agencies – and this one in particular – are more relevant today than ever. Here's why.

1. In a digital economy, execution and strategy are indivisible Let's tackle the media agency versus consultancy debate. The relationship between tactics and strategy is changing. Media is where brands and consumers connect: every time you execute in media you're creating an interaction between a consumer and a brand. Each time that happens, a data point is generated, and learning takes place. And each of those small learnings adds up to create a better understanding of people. In other words, you can't separate execution from strategy. The idea of strategy as something static – a roadmap to be executed over a 12-month timeframe – looks like an increasingly dated way to approach a problem. Strategy is more agile because everything is changing so quickly, and critically, because of consumer behaviour changes - on a monthly, weekly even daily basis. Brands need to move as fast as the consumer. This means that transformation and strategy are intertwined. Innovation in the digital economy is critical, but it's rarely achieved through an immediate, large shift. More often, it's iterative and incremental. And agencies can embrace that shift, because we're at the sharp-end of digital transformation, operating in a test and learn world, continually innovating and evolving. The consultancies are moving into the programmatic media space. I fail to see how fragmenting media that is delivered programmatically from the full customer experience is a positive for clients. While addressable media is marching forwards in the more digitally advanced markets, global clients need an agency that can drive innovation in all corners of the world. The sophistication of 1

media activation across the world has always been and always will be operating at different speeds. As a global media agency network, it is our job to ensure that learnings from markets and clients across different sectors are re-applied at scale.

2. Media can become the "growth antennae" With people now spending more time than ever before in media, it is a powerful asset for businesses to understand people's needs and behaviours, making media a sensor for any client's growth strategy. Media agencies have a significant role to play in enabling clients to have access to the right data sets to drive this understanding. The spectrum of data clients have access to on their own, varies sector by sector. However, in all instances, media agencies have the ability to deepen their client's understanding of their customers. This can be done through their own powerful data assets or leveraging their scale and spend to develop the right data partnerships with global platforms and publishers who are now an increasingly important source of insight. At Carat, we utilise M1, our Real People platform. We use this platform for developing audiences for our clients who don't have their own 1st party data or to augment existing 1st party data that a client has. Either way, the goal is to create the fullest view of both their known and unknown consumers. With every burst of activity we run, we learn more about who these people are, and this enables us to create better and more relevant experiences for them.

3. Execution must be as agile as strategy Having the right data in place is one thing, having people use it in the right way is something else. People are skipping ads, ad blocking and cutting the cord from advertising. Media agencies are now in the game of earning attention for their client's brands. Mass personalisation is a b