Many clients want to know how they can create a holistic media campaign and what kind of structure they should look for in their agencies. Media integration can be achieved within a single agency or holding company that has managed to seamlessly bring the platform expertise together or among several agencies that have broken down the individual profit center mentality to work as a client team. The primary challenge is to build client brands by deploying the necessary array of agency services without financial barriers that inhibit teamwork.
There are at least four kinds of integration at the agency level. The first is with creative and media. Second is between traditional and digital media. Third is within digital, between search, mobile, social, etc. And finally, there is integrating the entire marketing process above and below the line. Currently, it is difficult to find many agencies that have created best in class services to do a first-rate job of all four.
We see two major opportunities for agencies to step up on this issue and reap the benefits of leadership.
The first opportunity relates to an agency CMO. Not the kind of CMO that focuses on just building agency business, but one that concentrates on building the client’s brands. Not a conventional account person, but a genuine strategic marketing person who understands all disciplines as well as financial implications for the client.
Wouldn’t clients be better served if a counterpart at the agency not only coordinated the disciplines, but also augmented the functions of their CMO? Wouldn’t that add more strategic value to the client’s business? Wouldn’t that be attractive to prospective clients? We think it might be.
The second major opportunity for integration occurs at the level of strategic development. At most media agencies, there are planners for traditional media and planners for digital media. Too many agencies still keep the disciplines siloed. Advertising support for each is decided separately. The real opportunity is to have the strategic expertise evaluated and developed as a team with a team leader.
We are reminded of the time when copywriters and art directors did not work in teams. They worked separately and Bill Bernbach finally put them together at DDB. The strategy was brilliant and it worked. Today, integration at the planning level would spawn a truly integrated campaign. And, the specialists could negotiate media buys in their area and work together on a cross-channel deal.
Communications planners understand how tools like market mix modeling can determine how the various media influence the consumer separately and collectively leading to measureable ROI.
During agency reviews, clients are looking more closely at how contending agencies handle integration. And we are too.