Media agencies need to bring clients and media partners closer together, according to a panel of agency leaders at an industry conference today.
The panel at the Mumbrella 360 conference in Sydney discussed the State of the Media, an annual survey co-produced by Trinity P3 and MediaScope. The survey was based on comments from clients on how media agencies managed common challenges.
Many of the concerns raised indicated a perception problem: media agencies, it seems, sometimes have trust and transparency issues with their clients.
Trinity P3 managing director Darren Woolley and MediaScope founder Denise Shrivell were joined by former TMS and Media Federation Australia executive Andrew Lamb, D212 managing partner Barry O’Brien and incoming Starcom managing director, Annick Perrin.
“You have great agency relationships and then you have relationships that go through change or some turmoil; people issues, and those just need to be resolved – it’s like any relationship,” Ms Perrin said.
She explained that there was a need for agencies to communicate to clients more in more detail. “We need to share more about the back end of what we do, more of the detail, so that clients and marketers see the value of what we do.”
Those trust and transparency issues, illustrated in a video of well-known media creatives reading out client complaints, could be resolved by building closer relationships between clients and media partners.
Andrew Lamb said he did not understand why some in agencies did not want clients to talk to media partners.
“In my experience, every single time we have brought a client into the fold with a media partner, the results are better and it also gets rid of all those trust and transparency issues that are raised,” he said.
Ms Perrin agreed. “You’ve got to bring your clients closer to the media partners.”
Agencies should stay “really close”, from briefing through to the completion of the project, she said.
“Media [partners] want to hear how it’s gone if clients have got great results in their channel. The more [liaison] the better, I think.”
Host Darren Woolley said the same problems are repeated every year, compounded in recent times by a flood of new challenges presented by digital media.
“This idea of the delineation between different types of media buying is getting more and more complex and marketeers are struggling with that,” he said.
“There are so many different things you can do online. It’s added complexity – but only for people not willing to let go of what they know and learn something new.”
He said publishers needed to “lose the business model” tying them to printing presses and adapt to new ways of operating, with an advantage as “a trusted brand, and a trusted source of news”.
“I would say print’s still very healthy,” he said. “I think there’s a place for print. What’s changed is not the medium so much as the content.”
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