Teaming up Research + Buying
There's no question that television is on a steady trajectory of becoming more complicated to plan and buy. The question lies in how to change the agency organizational structure to better serve clients while balancing the need for further changes that will certainly come over the next few years.
The good news is that agencies are known for agility. They are experts at changing on the fly. You see this in the hustle and bustle, as a media director orchestrates a team to turn on its heels to rewrite a media plan in response to a competitive brand's new campaign.
The more difficult question is, how should the agency television buying team be reconfigured? And, how many times will things need to change over the next few years to keep current clients happy and potential clients knocking on the door?
The level of buying complexity is driven by the availability of data. As the data becomes richer and available to agencies, they will take on the responsibility to understand how to use it to create better media plans that move more product. However, there is confusion on exactly what kind of new data will be available -- and when. Therefore, agencies may be in the dark on the next steps to take -- and how long that plan will be in place before being replaced by another change.
Agencies looking to be at the forefront of television buying are starting to align the research department with buying early in the process. These two divisions will work more closely together than in the past, fielding proprietary research studies and incorporating learnings from new television data sources as they become available. As a result, buys will be smarter about aligning with consumer viewing habits, understanding linear, time shifted, DVR, VOD, interactive television and multiple video screen viewing behavior for a particular brand or category. As brands learn more about consumers' television viewing, they can then develop smarter targeting definitions. Some brands are already using television data to incorporate new niche targets that become secondary targets within a broad television plan.
By infusing research professionals into television buying in the early stages of advanced television, agencies will avoid analysis paralysis, a feature known all too well in digital circles. Rather, as the data gets richer and more complex, agile agencies will dial up and down the research support to ensure meeting the needs of clients with an interest in the smartest television plans.