From 18th to 20th May, C Squared’s flagship conference, Festival of Media Global, celebrated its tenth anniversary of providing insights to the global media and marketing community.
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The venue for the conference has moved from Venice to Montreux and now back to Italy in Rome. The agenda has also shifted immeasurably. The scale of change the marketing landscape has undergone over this decade is laid bare when considering that in 2007 Facebook was just a few years old and the first iPhone was rolling off production lines.
Back then the digital media ecosystem operated much more on the principle of human relationships and negotiation before the greater efficiencies, targeting and scale that automation and technology have enabled.
The vendor and agency landscape was much simpler back then too. Certainly, it seems possible to reconstruct the infamous Lumascape from the range of business cards collected from the Festival this year.
Meanwhile, clients have been undergoing their own re-birthing process. To future-proof their businesses for a digital age, nearly all WFA members have begun a process of digital transformation.
During a panel discussion at the Festival, and using a recent client survey as backdrop, WFA brought together several members of the WFA MEDIAFORUM to discuss what this process means for client-side media departments, and what issues clients need to resolve over the next ten years to be as effective as possible.
The following observations emerged:
#1 We have a resourcing issue
In addition to their original responsibilities, media directors are also required to be “social media ninjas”, “content overlords”, “technology nerds” and “transparency detectives”. To do this we need the right talent in the right places and this is identified as being a “significant issue” for 63% of survey respondents.
We’re lacking the depth and breadth of specialist skills required to do what we need to do.
#2 The cracks are beginning to show
More than 9 in 10 agree that ad fraud is perpetuated by the structure and systems in place in the digital media ecosystem. And the same number have transparency concerns about programmatic.
Our future horizons are limited unless we can repair some of the issues inherent within the trading structures.
#3 It’s not me it’s you…
All our panellists agreed that media agencies play a pivotal role for them and expect them to continue to do so as they progress on their transformation journeys. But as much as clients value their agencies, 75% of respondents disagree that agencies provide impartial recommendations.
A fundamental trust issue lingers which prevents us from realising our potential.
#4 It’s a bumpy road ahead
“We know where we’re going and we know how to get there” commented one of our panellists, “but the car’s broken down”.
Extending the analogy, the solution may be to build your own car, a costly and time consuming process requiring a mechanics’ expertise, something we’ve already identified as being in short supply. For some the solution is to buy a new car – the ‘mediapalooza’ of 2015 suggests many clients have been through this process already.
Finally, some may consider taking an alternative mode of transport altogether. Interestingly, almost half (49%) of the respondents feel that media agencies’ business models will be highly disrupted by management consultancies over the next five years.
Much is in flux and it’s likely that both the vendor landscape and the way clients market will be significantly different come 2026.
For more information about the activity of WFA's MEDIAFORUM, please contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org