August’s here already, the quiet month, time for the big break and getting away from it all; but of course, in the parallel universe of media agency land, there’s been an outbreak of pitch contagion with the inevitability of long days, late nights and angst-ridden waits for a final decision.
In the meantime, what about all those incumbents loyally staying put? No prizes for guessing where all the top agency talent and resource is being directed when the heat is really on…
Interestingly, this spate of pitch madness is not simply about procurement teams hunting down more competitive terms; more fundamentally, the role of the agency is under scrutiny like never before, as advertisers seek optimum solutions to ever more complex media management challenges.
This theme was central to the debate during conference season, first at Media 360 in Brighton and then Cannes Lions last month – sadly, we weren’t able to attend both and elected to go for the marginally less extravagant venue, albeit still by the sea!
Back in the analogue day, Media 360 was a TV jamboree held in Monte Carlo with a reputation for bacchanalian excess; in its place now is something more holistic and definitely more sober, positioned as ‘an open forum for marketers and media leaders to explore best practices and innovations’ – indeed, where traditional media outnumbered by the new and ITV notable by its absence.
One clear advantage afforded by a TV-centric conference was the opportunity to explore a single medium in depth. The corollary is a multi-media conference that risks trying to embrace too many areas, with delegate focus diluted by dint of myriad hubs and break-out sessions.
With this in mind and for the benefit of any marketers or procurement specialists with an interest in media not able to attend, we have pulled together the top ten key areas of discussion:
So, what was the overriding impression? Clearly, the media world is in a state of flux (but wasn’t it ever thus?) and perhaps inevitably, this is creating some uncertainty about how best to approach the task.
Interestingly, this applies to both agency and advertiser, with shared concerns that the traditional modus operandi is struggling to deliver optimum results, linked to the increased complexity of the communications landscape.
The scale of the navigation challenge has never been more daunting, with a layer of digital and technological elements added to the mix, with the attendant drift towards specialism and fragmentation.
From an advertiser perspective, the key observation would be that media planning and buying really doesn’t just happen by osmosis, whilst control of budget across more channels and more dimensions demands a level of dedicated resource often not available.
In turn, this places more emphasis on the discipline of media management; basically how best to fit all the channels, all the agencies and all the metrics together for optimum brand and commercial advantage?
But in the end, whatever the scale of the challenge, there can be no doubt that the world of communications and media has never been more interesting and stimulating, with more scope for innovation and creativity than ever before.
Next year, see you at La Croisette!