Okay for media agencies to help clients take media & planning inhouse?

25 Nov,2019


By Indrani Sen


According to the grapevine, some global media agencies are contemplating a move to allow clients to take media and planning inhouse. Noted one report suggesting that information coming in from the UK suggest a certain large networked agency is in for a significant restructure that may possibly include the group launching a separate business to help clients take their media and planning inhouse. This would have been unthinkable even in the first decade of the twenty-first century when the media agencies went on an integration drive to offer as many services as possible from one stable to their clients.


But times have been changing and changing at a very first rate. Globally, consulting agencies have started competing for a share of the media (planning and buying) business and have started enjoying a high rate of growth. In order to counter competition from the consulting agencies, media agencies have rewritten their profiles as consultants and have started offering to their clients multiple choices for doing business. But their woes do not end just with countering the move by the consulting agencies. The bigger threat is coming from the clients themselves, many of whom are planning to move some of the agency work in-house.


The above trend has set in from first decade of this century with clients initially hiring media executives and managers to interact with their media agencies for ensuring better ROI. The move gradually expanded to clients shifting some of their marketing services in-house. The 2017 RSW/US New Year Outlook Report indicated that 84% of the marketing businesses themselves were planning a transition which may result in assigning on an average 20% less work to agencies.


Source: 2017 RSW/US New Year Outlook Report


In this changing business climate, what could be a better move than launching a consultancy business to help clients to take media and planning inhouse? Data monitoring and gathering, transactional capabilities, like programmatic planning and buying, optimisation through SEM and SEO, can easily be shifted in-house to give clients scope for driving efficiencies guided by the consultants from media agencies. This move will help to kill two birds with one stone, to counter the consulting agencies by providing data strategies to brands and to establish a better client-agency relationship which is essential for retaining the accounts in the long run.


It may be difficult for individual clients to keep pace with technological changes like AI, VR, Voice, etc. The media agencies can play a role in providing clients with solutions for applications of such new technologies. In other words, the business of media agencies may shift from media planning and buying to creating solutions to marketing problems and application of the solutions across various technologies and platforms for reaching the target audience with least wastage.


In the last quarter of twentieth century, creative agencies were focussed on creating big ideas, but their ideas were not data driven. The media agencies at the same time were focussed on data based strategies, number crunching and negotiating for best rates and deals. They were not interpreting data in creative ways, on weaving a story with data analytics. The future of media agencies lies in marrying creativity with data and analytics, a lesson which they should learn from the newer digital agencies who have gone back to the good old full service mode under one umbrella.



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