It’s no secret the ANA report on media transparency last year led a lot of marketers to rethink their media strategies.
And it’s not just U.S. firms, either. Today, Deutsche Telekom, one of Europe’s biggest ad spenders (an estimated $750 million annually), revealed a complete overhaul of its media marketing strategy and activation efforts.
That rethink brings a major component—overall media strategy—in-house. The company has also concluded that more—not fewer—agencies are required to achieve optimal return on its media spend.
The firm, advised by ID Comms and McKinsey during its reevaluation, which is still ongoing, has created a new operating media model that divvies up media activity into five spheres, including media analytics; campaign planning and buying; programmatic buying; search, and media strategy and steering.
The last is being taken in-house “to ensure media-neutral strategy, collaboration and the steering of all activities in the operating,” the client stated in a release.
Essentially, DT is taking steps to sharply improve its own stewardship—that is “active guardianship”-- of its media marketing assets and not just handing it off to one or more agencies to handle.
“The ambition of our new operating model is to drive greater transparency and flexibility across all facets of the increasingly complex media ecosystem,” said Christian Hahn, vice president marketing communication, strategy and media, Deutsche Telekom.
GroupM retains a seat at the table. An incumbent on the business, the WPP media arm has been awarded DT’s campaign planning and buying services assignment. That’s a somewhat reduced role compared to what it previously handled. But the client is still in the process of deciding assignments for analytics, programmatic and search, so GroupM could end up with more pieces of the business.
Mindshare, MediaCom and Wavemaker will each have pieces of the assignment, which is effective Jan. 1, 2018.
DT indicated that the remaining assignments should be decided by the first quarter of 2018.
The client made clear that in future, agency partners will need to collaborate better than in the past.
“The new operating model requires a new kind of overarching cooperation between all parties involved,” the firm stated. It noted that “intensive ‘collaboration workshops’ were essential cornerstones” of the pitch process to “ensure successful cooperation going forward.”
We’ll see how that works out. Collaboration and cooperation are easier said than done in the competitive world that is Adland. Heck, the politics within holding companies are thick enough, due to the separate agency P&Ls (follow the money!).
And when clients gather their rosters together from multiple ownership entities to discuss a project? Let’s just say the stories I’ve heard about the eye-rolling that goes on would make your head spin.
That’s realpolitik in the corporate world. But it’s a reality that hasn’t optimally benefited clients. DT just might be onto something.