A new ID Comms report finds the media agency-advertiser relationship is worse than it was two years ago. And it wasn’t so terrific back then, either.
Client-side media and marketing professionals are more likely to view media as a cost center to their businesses and a “complex headache,” rather than as an investment for growth, per the report. They are also more likely to view their media agency as a commodity supplier and not a strategic partner.
Clients dealing directly with media shops are also likely to have the lowest opinion of agency expertise.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 is unacceptable, 3 meets expectations and 5 is outstanding), media agencies were rated below average by client-side media professionals on key competencies, such as identifying relevant data-fueled insights (2.45), providing neutral and objective planning recommendations (2.35), and integrating owned, earned and paid media (2.12). In each case scores were higher two years ago.
“As the media landscape has grown more complex and fragmented, we find marketers are struggling to implement strategies that challenge the status quo or depart from conventional thinking,” the ID Comms “2019 Media Thinking Report” states. “Most worryingly, we find it is those with the most media expertise who seem to have the bleakest outlook on media. Agencies, meanwhile, are still battling with the perception of being untrustworthy and unable to think about media holistically.”
The good news: Client-side procurement attitudes toward media are changing. In the latest report, procurement professionals were more likely to see media as an opportunity and an investment for growth compared to two years ago. They also provided the highest average scores for media thinking from agencies.
The results are based on survey responses from 177 marketing, media and procurement professionals representing combined global media investment of more than $20 billion.
The report also highlights problems with media strategy. Client-side marketing, media and procurement professionals generally rate their companies' efforts unsatisfactory.
The industry by and large agrees that advertisers that take a more strategic and thoughtful approach to media will deliver a stronger marketing performance.
More than three-quarters (79%) of the advertisers surveyed believe they have a clear vision and strategy for media internally. But given the report’s other findings, this suggests advertisers do not feel confident the media strategies they have in place are effective in today’s complex media landscape.
“At a time when the challenge of media has never been greater, it is disappointing to see so many marketing and media professionals are struggling to implement media strategies or forge relationships that deliver long-term growth,” said ID Comms consultant Paul Stringer. “What is positive is that we … could be witnessing the emergence of a new kind of procurement leader, one for whom cost reduction is just one part of a larger set of objectives around driving innovation, ROI and business development.”