News & Insights

How should marketers prepare for the Media2020 ecosystem

We’ve been exploring how marketers are organising themselves to meet the media challenges through our Media2020: Refresh industry survey.  Conceived in 2015 as a barometer of, and forecast for, change, we’ve refreshed the research to understand how marketers’ attitudes have shifted and to identify emerging trends and benchmark their own journey.
 The media ecosystem is undergoing a profound and sustained shift, driven by rapid developments in technology and customer data and this is presenting significant challenges to marketers trying to prepare for the future media environment.

Many of the trends identified in 2015 are maturing, as a clear route map to 2020 emerges for those brands who invest in media. The findings also raise some important considerations for the advertising industry.

Our study reveals that brands are reorganising to be more data-driven and customer-centric, with all interviewees acknowledging that organising resources around customers also means owning their customer strategy and customer data. We believe that this control over customer data empowers marketing to drive growth, and traditional media planning and buying is becoming less of a concern as marketers become more capable, fuelled by ownership of actionable data.

To meet the demands of this more data-driven, customer-centric marketing approach, all participants recognised that a more “agile” internal and external operating model is required, with integration becoming an increasingly important expectation.  Agencies and specialists will need to remain very nimble, as 62% of marketers (up from 58% in 2015) expect to use fewer agencies by 2020, with 67% stating they will be actively looking to re-organise their agency operating model.  The survey suggests that marketers are interested in new ways of working and receptive to trialling flexible, varied agency models that will fit with their evolving requirements.
Media2020 - Responses to Media
When it comes to media agencies, the report indicates that they are continuing to expand their remit but there is an elephant in the room – management consultancies.

Technology presents an opportunity for management consultancies to solve not just marketing, but entire business challenges, elevating them above the communications and media mainstream.  Responding to this need for agility, however, and providing an alternative focus to the management consultancies, is the recent move towards providing resource and expertise into client organisations, via two relatively new trends – the in-house and on-site agency models.

When respondents were asked what aspect of the media industry they would like to fix, “transparency” was the most commonly raised topic (by 47%).  When asked what was keeping them awake, however, nearly a quarter (24%) cited “brand safety” as the main cause of concern, versus just 5% who cited “transparency”.  In other words, marketers believe transparency is addressable, and that it is within agencies’ power to fix it. However, there are concerns that brand safety is a systemic issue that will be much more difficult to solve.

The media industry should worry less about providing media trading metrics and start to think more about providing common measurement standards across multiple platforms.

Media2020 - Transparency and Brand Safety
Close behind “brand safety” came measurement, with 23% of marketers claiming to lose sleep over media measurement concerns, despite the report revealing that measurement is a core requirement for modern-day marketing.  Never has data been so important, and yet never has measurement been so unreliable, with a lack of credible evidence for success for large proportions of media investment.  Most interviewees felt there had been little or no progress in industry measurement standards since the 2015 report and the majority (70%) believe measurement currencies are no longer fit for purpose.

The media industry should worry less about providing media trading metrics and start to think more about providing common measurement standards across multiple platforms.

Media2020 - Responses to Measurement

One of the most noticeable trends since 2015 is that brands appear to be falling out of love with technology platforms. The many issues around the effectiveness of digital, and the increased clutter in digital, is pushing clients back to the safe-haven of paid media – less than half (44%) think they will be shifting funds from paid to owned and earned channels versus 71% in 2015.

The findings from this latest survey see a different 2020 media ecosystem emerging; characterised by more varied, hybrid, agile and customised organisational models. Agility of development and deployment will be key attributes for 2020 operating models but the rate of progress and change, we fear may be frustrated by legacy attitudes, systems and processes as well as unfortunately, vested interests.

In light of this, we have identified 10 key characteristics which we believe will be fundamental for effective brand media management in the lead up to 2020:

1. Media accounted for as an investment – media will be organised around profitable growth and customer retention, with a data and outcome centric investment case made for all spending;

2. Customer insight & activation in-house – brands will assume responsibility for managing customer data in-house and will gain control of customer insight

3. Data-driven media planning – media campaigns will be powered by data insights and activated on data platforms

4. Agile media operating models – organisations will embrace more agile and fluid ways of working to deliver on customer-centric marketing

5. A marketing technology strategy for media – brands will follow a roadmap for technology deployment and development as they produce more personalised content at scale

6. A fully compliant data strategy – with GDPR on the horizon, all parties will need to comply with stricter customer and media data protocols

7. Multi-touch effectiveness measurement – we expect more consistent measurement standards to enable better attribution, but it will be by no means a perfect science

8. A transparent media system – brands will have clearer visibility and much better understanding of where their money is spent and what they are buying

9. Customised KPI scorecard – brand-specific media KPIs will become the barometers of accountability (internally and via partners) rather than industry benchmarks

10. Value-based performance measurement – as data helps brands distinguish between good and bad impressions, the role of performance measurement will be to add value rather than reduce costs

For more insights and to download the full Media2020: Refresh report, visit:

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