For as long as most of us care to remember, there’s been a healthy alliance between the tri-party relationship of client, agency and vendor.
The client was the ultimate holder of the purse.
Media vendors worked in every way possible to trump the competition and sell a disproportionate portion of their media wares either with or without the agency’s support. Media agencies played gatekeeper, working always in the best interests of the client to ensure the client’s marketing needs are delivered via the most relevant, effective and cost effective means.
But, the world has changed and the typical purchase pathway for paid media channels is no longer the dominant priority for any media agency. In fact, it’s been that way for a while. However, the future of media agencies has not been so clear to many until perhaps the last 12-18 months or so.
On a number of recent visits to the West Coast, I’ve been both impressed and humbled at the energy, enthusiasm and innovation that exists in companies, large and small, working across the communications environment in that part of the world. It’s interesting to see the likes of Google , Facebook and Apple hiring top marketing and sales talent. Talent that is both comfortable and capable brokering sizable direct deals with clients, some deals spanning three years and many tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
So, where does all of this leave the poor old media agency? Can the big super tanker like media power houses course correct fast enough to understand the speed of change in the industry and also to stay at the heart of the future of media?
From GRPs to addressable media, to likes, loves, tweets, mookies and good old fashioned store data, the media world has never been more complex and yet more simple.
The efforts of our friends in Silicon Valley, Seattle and beyond have worked wonders in putting our industry at the forefront of consumers’ lives in general.