Media is viewed as a complex headache by advertisers who are failing to provide leadership in this critical investment area, according to a new report from media change consultants ID Comms.

The findings of the 2017 Global Media Thinking Survey reveal the poor strategic approaches currently being applied to media investment.

The report, which is based on responses from both advertisers and agencies, shows widespread agreement that advertisers are generally failing to lead on key media decisions.

Agencies meanwhile were criticised for failing to provide strategic support in six key areas including the ability to provide wholly neutral and objective planning services.

The findings are based on answers from 179 respondents including senior marketers from companies with combined annual media budgets of more than $22bn. Agency respondents included all major media agency holding groups as well as some independent media agencies.

Such poor performance comes despite the fact that 97% of those who took part agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “advertisers who take a more strategic and thoughtful approach to media will deliver a stronger marketing performance”.

Advertiser performance in this area is particularly critical because 79% of respondents also believe advertiser marketing teams should be primarily responsible for defining the advertiser’s strategic approach including the media objectives, operating model and KPIs.

Asked to score performance on a scale of one to five, where five is outstanding and one is unacceptable, the survey found that advertisers fail to meet expectations (a score of three or less) in four key areas; setting clear KPIs for media, having a point of view on ROI for media, having a well established media community internally and leading media decisions from marketing rather than procurement.

Advertiser respondents scored themselves an average of 7% higher on these questions than their agency counterparts but some agency respondents claimed this merely reflected their lack of knowledge. “Capability levels in advertisers are at an all-time low. Desperately needs an injection of smart agency thinkers,” remarked one agency participant.

Tom Denford, chief strategy officer at ID Comms, said: “The lack of media knowledge inside many of even the largest advertisers is making it harder for them to leverage the opportunities that smart media thinking delivers. This is why many of the best campaigns nearly always come from the same clients. They understand media, work more closely with their agency partners, think strategically and see the opportunities faster. Brands that treat media as a commodity and a cost will never actually get the best return from their media budgets."


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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