Less than one in ten senior brand and media agency marketers thinks that media training at advertisers is at the level it should be to deal with today’s complex media landscape, according to a new survey by strategic media consulting ID Comms.
The new survey (conducted in September and October) found that globally just 9.4% of advertisers and agencies believe that current media training programs are satisfactory, with 60% agreeing that there was not enough financial support for such training.
Aside from the lack of funding, factors reducing commitment to media training include lack of time (27%), the feeling that such training should be provided for free by agencies (12%) and previous poor media training experiences (7%).
The findings are based on responses from 117 senior executives at agencies and advertisers including marketers from brands spending an estimated $20 billion on measured media annually. Also included are responses from all the major media agency networks.
The lack of commitment to training comes despite the fact that the vast majority of respondents are aware that better media training would give them a competitive advantage.
Nearly 96% of respondents agreed that brands can gain competitive advantage in marketing by investing in media training, with just over two-thirds indicating that they “strongly agreed.”
Respondents also ranked the current skill base as less than satisfactory, scoring an average of 2.9 out of 5 (where 4 is satisfactory) across three critical areas: “Being a good client and following good media management behaviors”, “working productively with media agencies” and “making media more accountable.”
Splitting the results between agency and advertiser respondents shows that advertisers were most concerned with a lack of budget, while agency respondents were most concerned with the lack of time to commit to media training.
There were also key differences between the two sides on the areas of training that would bring most benefit. Advertisers picked Media ROI (14%), KPI Setting (13.5%) and briefing and evaluating (12%) as their most critical areas, while agencies cited Paying for agency services (11%), Media ROI (12%) and KPI Setting (10.5%) as their top three.
In the qualitative portion of the survey, some respondents said the lack of investment in training highlighted the low status of media within brands. “I believe the key issue is that Media hasn't been a priority area within marketing departments,” said one respondent, adding that the situation will continue unless media moves up the priority list.
“Recent concerns over trust and transparency in the media landscape have highlighted the risks to brands of not having up-to-date knowledge and skills in media” stated Tom Denford, chief strategy officer at ID Comms. “Brands can no longer simply rely on agencies to provide free training but must take active steps to improve their own skills and commit to a program of continuous media education.
Training is one key tool to upgrading that internal capability, alongside recruitment, but while many recognize the benefits that better media understanding could bring to their business in a fast changing media landscape, collectively brands are failing to invest enough time and money in media training.”