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MEDIA AGENCIES

How brands are reinventing the role of the media agency of the future

By our News Team | 2021

Media-buying scale is no longer the most important factor for big brands when choosing a media agency, international study finds.

Brands are redefining the role of the media agency, with data capabilities becoming more important than media buying scale, according to an international study commissioned by digital agency, the Kepler Group.

Based on a survey of 150 senior marketers, the past five years have seen profound changes in what marketers require of media agencies, Kepler states.

“Today, the vast majority of marketers say buying clout is no longer their primary rationale for choosing to work with a particular agency or group. Rather, as brands continue to in-house technology and talent – and as first-party data capabilities and automated buying platforms become more important to campaign performance – a gap has formed between brands’ needs and media agencies’ abilities and business models,” the researchers say.

“Media agencies must [now] deliver a wide range of services, with data and technology capability, flexible talent, and strong relationships with the tech platforms emerging as dominant requirements. Media buying alone is no longer enough.”

Media Agencies

Agencies must offer more

Half of marketers surveyed (52%) say they plan to eventually take all aspects of media investment in-house. Larger enterprises appear more committed to the idea, with 63% of respondents from companies with US$10-billion or more in revenue considering full in-housing. 

This could mean major shifts in how media agencies serve brands and the skills they must provide. More specifically:

  • 78% of marketers say they will prioritise agencies which have a talent and trading model that can flex around their in-house operations.
  • 73% agree they need greater in-house technology expertise to partner with technology giants.
  • 71% believe their digital media performance is suffering because their media agency partner/s do not have strong enough relationships with the technology giants.

Even if they aren’t taking direct control of their actual media management, most marketers plan to take more control of their media technology relationships, the study found. More than three quarters (83%) are expanding or plan to expand their in-house media technology, and this intent is event stronger (92%) at companies with over $10-billion in revenue.

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