FROM THE MCN INSIGHTS LIBRARY: Traditionally, a media agency strategically plans where and when your advertising and marketing message should appear. The agency, ideally, helps you buy the space and puts your message on it.
Today, media agencies have evolved beyond that definition and morphed into ‘communications agencies’ meaning they do a lot more than just tell you where to put your message or when to put it. Because consumers have changed the way marketers plan their strategies, and have adapted so many new channels – mostly due to the advances in digital – agencies have to have multiple efficiencies, including strategic planning, buying clout, social media muscle, content development, mobile media versatility and more.
With digital, the lines haven’t just blurred, they’ve auto-erased. Media agencies worldwide are fast acquiring, hiring, renting – content creation talents or agencies to become a complete solutions provider for their clients. That’s the nature of how today’s consumer’s use and dependence on digital focused channels of communications have changed the way media planning agencies behave in the ecosystem. You cannot put your head in the sand (and there’s lots of it around here) and stay in a silo.
We don’t look at digital in isolation, because digital is part of every day life and can no longer be viewed (as is often done in this region) as a ‘by-the-way channel’. Agencies today provide strategic consulting and execution on how best to leverage digital for a brand’s communication; how to optimize digtal touch points, develop strategic engagement plans across all media, look at new areas like social networking, search, viral, mobile and web 3.0 for true integration. Media solutions today include a 360° approach where clients are being provided with knowhow, expertise and final product including the development, design, programming and full content.
But one cannot forget that life at a media agency is not all zeroes and ones. Online and mobile isn’t everything, and at least here in the Middle East, tv is still ruler of the domain. And no Arab Spring is going to change that, facebook or no facebook. At the end of the day, come Ramadan month, the sofa and the tv are the hot zones in the home. So, understanding traditional media channels – tv, radio, newspaper, magazines, outdoor – and being able to tell the client how, where, why and when his message should go on is still key.
Media agencies first of all need to understand their client’s business needs, understand the market dynamics and be able to focus the message to consumers via channels that best resonate with the target audience. Beyond that, media agencies bring efficiency to their clients across media planning and negotiation points as they have the specific expertise, volume leverage and theoretically deliver economies of scale and reduce per media booking transaction cost. That’s the basics.
Today, media agencies will help you plan how you play in the social media space, they will help you market your brand on Search engine pages (SEM), they will put your message inside taxicabs, organize events, do mail-drops at door steps, send out emailers, write on the sky or the beach, blog, post on facebook, manage your website, put pretty girls with handouts in a shopping mall and almost any other way you can think of communicating.
~ Tom Roychoudhury, chief innovations officer, MCN