Media Agencies are expected to be on top by clients

Media professionals live in a world that is constantly in churn. DTH, internet and social networking are just some of the major developments that have taken place in the last three years, which have redefined the media landscape. Clients have become more demanding. It is more to do with change. Since some media agencies are seen as the specialists, clients expect them to be on top, if not ahead, of the curve. And in order to achieve that you have to be a superman or superwoman. Many media heads believe that media agencies are far more evolved in the way that they understand the medium much better than their creative counterparts, who for example see TV merely as being an ‘ad break’. Media agencies were all about OTS (Opportunity to see) till a few years back.

Today they are all about OTX (X being experience). Once a campaign is created by an ad agency it runs for a fairly long time. In the interim though the marketer still has numerous tasks at hand for which he turns to the media agency. To her media agencies are more task-driven, in that they begin by asking clients ‘What do you want to achieve?’

And it is here the big change has taken place. Today a client running a single brand commercial could have totally different marketing objectives for different regions and more often than not it is the media and not the creative agency which can help achieve them. Increasingly marketers are realising that “this (media) is where the rubber hits the road.” The multiplicity of tasks means that media agencies are constantly looking to new ways and means to achieve client ends in a cost effective way. Gone are the days when we were waiting for tapes from the creative agency. Today we are well ahead of them. Their refusal to accept this is nothing but an ostrich mentality.

And he is bang on target when it comes to the new forays being made by media. Today, perhaps the greatest factor though working in the rapidly growing stature of media agencies is the fact that they are ‘creative neutral’. What this means is that they are not biased towards any one form of creative over the other. Media people because of their closeness to the medium and hundreds of people they meet from the media owners side, have the width of sharing and borrowing ideas from so many minds. And so media guys mesh the creative insights/media knowledge. Since it’s not our core proprietary, we are able to act neutral and concentrate on how best to reach the audience better and what can improve ROI’s. Creative is no longer the domain of just the ad agency.

Increasingly, they say, creative solutions can come from TV channels, film makers, radio jockeys and what have you. Very often clients brief us on say a radio activity, we talk to the radio station and the deal is done. The point is further amplified by Mediacom’s Gururaj who argues that message creation is no longer the sole prerogative of the creative agency. The example of Gillette’s Mach 3 is cited where every year the creatives on the brand had been changing but with no great results to show. The media agency then was drafted in and it worked in concert with a research agency and a radio station. The resulting activity led to a jump of almost 400% in brand trials.

Today media agency is the think tank and catalyst that puts together strategic alliances between media owners and clients, with the end result of sorting out business/marketing issues for the client. For example, a consumer perception problem in Punjab, can be sorted out by understanding the issue, by working out possible solutions and this is done more often than not with the help of specific initiatives with local media owners.