All the brand owners we interviewed for our Media2020 research recognised the need to harness data and technology in order to manage the dialogue with their customers. When asked to list their most pressing challenges and opportunities, respondents ranked as #1 the capability to match media investment decisions more closely to business results and outcomes, as #2 the ability to measure cross-media attribution, and #3 the creation of more dynamic content.
In a connected world, marketing organisations understand the power that individual customers can exercise, and feel compelled to manage the customer relationship more closely than before. To achieve this it is clear to many that organisations will take more ownership of content, customer data and consumer insight.
Most clients are already strengthening internal capabilities in one or more of these areas. Several are bulking up their in-house market modelling capabilities. Others are readying their customer databases for programmatic platforms. The Social ecosystem – a hybrid media channel, shopper channel, engagement channel and community channel – is unsurprisingly attracting a lot of CMO attention.
While nine out of ten respondents see media agencies as their go-to people for Paid Media in 2020 and eight out of ten see creative development remaining in the hands of creative agencies, many see Owned and Earned Media and content development functions moving in-house. Many see a future where customer analytics underpins social, content, communications planning, data and analytics, all of which are inter-connected and fuel further insights.
It follows that Customer Insight and Analytics will move to the heart of marketing, as will the Communications Planning function. As one marketer puts it, “We’re becoming multi-channel planners”. Some would go even further, putting “content planning” together with “communications planning” in-house.
Legacy relationship models will be challenged by all these developments. As multiple disciplines become integrated, clients will seek more collaboration between their agencies and will want to work with partners with more specialised skills. Some clients will take a very active approach to roster management, others will consolidate more requirements into a single agency; some may even look to establish in-house agencies for themselves.
A territorial battle over the client Scope of Work is set to intensify, as technology creates alternatives for many traditional agency processes. To get “best-in-class” clients may look to carve specialist disciplines out of scope, whereas agency holding groups will seek the opposite – to sell in the concept of horizontality. Three-quarters of our survey’s respondents say they will do more direct deals with media owners and technology companies, by-passing their media agency. To deliver better outcomes for their clients, it seems media agencies will need to get used to ceding more control.