Agencies and CMOs fuel media transformation ‘go-slow’

marketersSenior marketers have blamed their agencies’ legacy business models, rigid processes and opaque tools for hindering their media transformation efforts but have admitted they themselves are also to blame due to their lack of knowledge around technology, new working methods and skills.

So says the latest Media 2020 report, published in partnership with client trade body ISBA, which surveyed over 100 global marketers at CMO and director-level, in order to provide a barometer for current thinking around the media industry.

It found that while 65% thought they had the vision and leadership for media transformation, only a minority were future-fit in the key areas of technology and systems (35%), ways of working (38%) and people and skills (48%).

Of course, Covid-19 rears its head once again as it has for some brands (30%) provided an impetus to accelerate with media transformation; 45% are pushing ahead and only 25% have stopped or delayed initiatives.

Given that previous Media2020 studies have found a correlation between media transformation and agency model redesign, the report predicts that 2021 is likely to see an upheaval of the media agency market to adapt to the new era of personalisation and fragmentation.

Agencies will have to pick up the pace on their own transformations given that nearly three-fifths (57%) of marketers believe their agency model is hindering their own transformational progress.

However, there is better news for agencies who get it right; 66% of marketers believe that when an agency leverages data on their behalf it has a positive impact on their performance, indicating that agencies are playing an important role in this area.

There is still much work to do for marketers though, because while brands are continuing on their journeys of change, over half (52%) believe they are behind target and the largest single reason for this delay is organisational structure (54%).

MediaSense managing partner of strategy Ryan Kangisser said: “The study reveals some promising findings about the progress brands are making through their transformation programmes.

“However, as brands become more self-sufficient and agile in how they operate, they are looking to their agencies to complement more closely their model and provide the supplementary capabilities which help them to deliver growth. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, this desire will only grow stronger.”

ISBA director of agency services Andrew Lowdon added: “Media 2020 highlights the desire for CMOs to transform their media models while outlining the many challenges they face in achieving their goals.

“If we are to bring about much needed change as an industry we must work together to form more agile and responsive partnerships – a topic that resonates with ISBA’s members.”

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