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Tom Denford

Member since November 2014Contact Tom

Tom Denford is CEO of ID Comms Inc, the management consultancy specializing in media and advertising. Tom is one of the world's most trusted advisors to senior marketers in matters of media strategy, operations and agency management. His firm is the leader in media agency pitch management, agency performance assessments and media auditing.

Articles by Tom All articles by Tom

  • The Future Of Advertising Is Ethics in MAD on 03/08/2023

    The way agencies conduct their business and how the media supply chain behaves is becoming increasingly important to marketers.

  • But How Good Are We At Media? in MAD on 03/03/2023

    The three most common questions media directors ask about their internal media organizations.

  • Accenture, Programmatic And A Look To The Future in MAD on 06/13/2018

    Accenture has finally unveiled its media buying plans. If it's likely to succeed how should agencies respond?

  • Can Amazon Deliver An Ad Business? in MAD on 10/18/2017

    The door is open for a major new player in the digital advertising business and Amazon has the ability to deliver. Its zero profit business model could give competitors a run for their money.

  • P&G's Lonely Battle To Improve The Media Ecosystem  in MAD on 05/18/2017

    One reason why other companies have fought shy of this fight is the scale of the challenge. Marketers for all their pizzazz can be cautious, particularly where they don't know how an issue is going to play out.

  • We Don't Need Brand Safety, We Need Brand Care in MAD on 03/30/2017

    The current 'scandal' over poor ad placement is simply a result of a decade-long race to the bottom on costs. The result is an advertising supply chain that has forgotten to care about the brand.

  • Change Metrics To Change Media in MAD on 02/23/2017

    Changing metrics is the foundation stone of the change we expect to see in 2017 and the right measures will provide marketers with a fresh perspective on the true value and power of media for their business. Creating a new platform for media requires brands and agencies to reflect on the numbers they use to assess performance.

  • Delivering Media Change In 2017 in MAD on 01/23/2017

    The responsibility for change in media lies predominantly with advertisers. They control the purse strings and can drive change through the industry. But before they can perform that vital function they also need to start by changing themselves. The first action needs to come from the CMO. Change comes from the top and that requires the CMO to set the lead both within the marketing team and the rest of the company. The second action needs to come from Media Procurement leadership. They need to go into battle to help CMOs demonstrate that media is an investment rather than a cost and encourage the company to be more strategic about media and work better with media agencies.

  • Audits Won't Transform Media, Vision And Excitement Will  in MAD on 10/05/2016

    Change is coming. Brands, agencies and consultants need to move away from obsessing about cheaper pricing and bigger discounts. Auditing media agencies is important, but more and more auditing is not what media is all about. Nobody ever audited their way to growth.

  • Advertisers Dropped The Ball On Media in MAD on 07/25/2016

    We now know that some media agencies have not been acting wholly in the best interests of advertisers. But brands share a huge chunk of the responsibility for allowing this state of affairs to develop. Put simply, media was not high enough on the corporate agenda when the scale of investment was taken into account.

Comments by Tom All comments by Tom

  • Let's Bring Industry Together, Not Widen Divide by Marla Kaplowitz (MAD on 10/15/2019)

    Marla, there is no intention to 'widen the divide'. Predicting major pitches is meant as helpful intelligence for agencies and marketers wanting to know how to plan their resources for the year ahead. Our predictions are based on actual briefs we have received from advertisers (at present ID Comms has received briefs from 3 advertisers considering pitching media in 2020, each one with a media budget of over $1bn) and we predict 2-3 others at that scale, using our own market tracking tools which have been pretty accurate over the years as predictors of global pitch activity. We also refer to the good database managed by ComVergence on pitch activity as well as the 4As own database, which we have previously contributed information to when asked. There are a number of robust data points that sit behind this story, I can assure you we don't make these headlines up in a self-serving way. But I concede it remains somewhat speculative - who is foolish enough to predict anything in this industry? We try. 

  • Report: More Marketers Seen Boosting Amazon Ad Budgets Compared To Google, FB by Steve McClellan (MAD on 10/12/2017)

    Really interesting insight, one of the reasons why we have predicted that Amazon's ad revenue will overtake Facebook's by 2020. Watch #MediaSnack Episode 92 "Amazon will break the duopoly" to understand how and why

  • Advertisers Dropped The Ball On Media by Tom Denford (MAD on 07/25/2016)

    Agree Ed, but I'm perhaps a fraction more optimistic! Sure there will always be a bunch of advertisers for whom media is a cost to be managed downwards (cut) usually with the agency having to accept the scalpel. But I think that smarter brands are seeing that, long-term, this strategy doesnt actually sell more cars or more soap, it just buys more media, more cheaply. So that KPI has to evolve and media investment held to a higher standard to drive a meaningful business metric for the company. Those marketers who don't recognize the potential in their media spend to work 3x harder than it does right now will be at a disadvantage (this year) and then displaced by someone who does and can do their job better (next year). 

  • Most Agencies Believe Media Talent At Advertisers Not Cutting It by Steve McClellan (MAD on 06/28/2016)

    You're right that media departments (and the stand-alone-agencies) probably aren't super attractive for the top talent. I expect it is increasingly hard, in a big media agency, to really see where the future of the business lies. In our work with advertisers though I think we've turned a corner, more and more are open to discussing behavioral change - becoming better, smarter clients to the agency and they can see how that translates into value when they start thinking about their media dollars as investments in growth rather than a cost to be managed downwards. That shift of mindset (including new knowledge from the ANA #RebateGate report) is changing marketers behavior in media and should result in agencies feeling more rewarded and paid more fairly. We hope.

  • Most Agencies Believe Media Talent At Advertisers Not Cutting It by Steve McClellan (MAD on 06/28/2016)

    Thanks Ed, the report itself also shows some optimism from marketers about their ability to build new capabilities internally to cope with future demands of their marketing organisation.

  • At The Super Bowl, Broncos Win, Budweiser Fumbles by Sarah Mahoney (Marketing Daily on 02/08/2016)

    The SuperBowl is a media and advertising phenomenon, we investigate why? #MediaSnack

  • 4A's Issues Transparency Guidelines, ANA Says It Went 'Rogue' by Steve McClellan (MAD on 01/28/2016)

    Am deeply concerned that these "guidelines" aren't serving any advertiser's interests, in fact they potentially make getting transparency harder, not easier. Section 4 is a particular worry, appears to be suggesting that potential lucrative barter and content arrangements between agencies and vendors are none of the clients business. I think smart clients will politely beg to differ and be asking these questions anyway. Also very disappointed that 4A's could not wait to see if any alignment with ANA was possible once they complete their first stage investigations. 

  • Good Marketing Needs Good Procurement Support by Tom Denford (MAD on 12/03/2015)

    Many thanks Bill, yes I saw the survey results you published in November, very interesting. A procurement client of ours often says "marketers are the rock stars, procurement are the roadies" which I always thought was a nice analogy; setting everything up technically to allow the marketers to do their best work. They both need each other to produce the best result, but must have clearly defined roles. 

  • GroupM To Staff: Keep It Zipped On Remuneration, Media-Buying Questions by Steve McClellan (MAD on 11/17/2015)

    We strongly advise advertisers in the U.S. to use different questions instead of simply asking whether rebates exist in the U.S. media market [this taken from a previous Mediapost article]: 1. Do media vendors ever offer incentives to media buyers? 2. Are these incentives ever accepted by the media buyer? 3. Does the media buyer document these in a transparent way? 4. Can the advertiser be reassured that his or her agency is passing back these incentives in full? 5. Does the agency ever generate a benefit (cash or something of value) from a media vendor as a result of passing over some of their clients budgets? 6. Do they return these benefits to clients in full? 7. Does the agency make any financial gain (directly or indirectly) as a result of their transactions with media vendors? 8. Does the agency holding company or trading group leverage agency billings to generate financial upsides for the parent company, trading group and or the agency? Full piece here:

  • Nielsen Acquires DMP eXelate, Enters Programmatic Audience-Buying Marketplace by Tyler Loechner and Joe Mandese (Real-Time Daily on 03/04/2015)

    Really interesting move, to Henry's point, this does speak volumes about the lack of trust in media agencies to manage the programmatic supply chain. Instead, marketers might feel more trusting of their research / data specialist to better manage the automated and optimized media buying process in future? Perhaps this is within Nielsen's hypothesis and thus this investment.

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