However, the interesting part of the research this week suggested that nine in ten still see a media agency as the go-to guys for buying media, although nearly eight in ten admitted they would work by themselves, or with a technology partner, on some programmatic work.
Put it simply, then -- the global media agency reviews that adland can't stop talking about (for good reason) are not the end of media agencies, nor are they the end of global media deals. For those who saw the sense in bringing a massive global media spend under one roof a handful of years ago and are now repitching the contract, there is little sense in adding the complication of allowing each country to make its own arrangements. It's just too complex and risks the better rates of sticking with one major planner and buyer.
So the global pitches really have nothing to do with the term global. I've been chatting to a senior executive involved in one very high-profile global media review from the brand side, and another from the agency side. Neither side is expecting a local revolution.
What they are agreed on is this is all about brands wanting to remind the agencies who they work for and whose budget it is they're spending. Most of all, it's about transparency and data. Stories abound of brands being surprised how holding company trading desks can be so inflexible in how they work -- and seemingly, unable to grasp the two key transparency issues around data. Brands want all their data with all its learnings available to them alone. They do not want their budget to train up a piece of technology and furnish it with findings that will aid a competitor.
So, speaking to guys in the centre of all this, if the global reviews are about one thing, and it most certainly isn't about going local, it's about transparency and data.
While I say it's not about local, however, there is a caveat. From what I'm hearing, a lot of brands will be sticking to media deals and trying to get away from complete holding company takeovers which run into strategy, data management, and crucially, creative. So expect the current deals that are being hammered out to separate, in particular, media from creative and expect brands to have it in writing that their data is theirs -- it can't be acted on by a competitor and they are free to audit where their money has gone and what data they have earned in return.
It's a cliche, but it's true -- data really is the oil of modern digital marketing, and brands are renegotiating deals to ensure they are the beneficiaries and not their rivals.