A report published recently in association with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) explores how businesses are organising themselves to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving media ecosystem and is based on one of the most comprehensive surveys of senior marketing and media decision-makers to date.Findings of the “Media2020: Preparing for a very different media ecosystem” report show that marketers are increasingly focused on becoming more self-reliant and agile, anticipating a rapid shift in the way they work with agencies and in the metrics they use to measure media performance as they prepare for the 2020 media ecosystem.

The report builds on a series of in-depth interviews and an extensive survey among 200 senior marketing and media decision makers between March and July 2015. Participants covered a broad range of industry sectors, including food, media, technology, insurance, retail banking, travel, pharma, toys transport, drinks and confectionery and represent well over £1 billion in advertising investment.

Report highlights:

The report revealed that marketers are at very different stages of their evolutionary journey towards 2020 but there is clear agreement on the disciplines they consider will be critical to success over the next five years: data analytics and insight (67%), content development (50%) and omnichannel planning (43%).

These priorities are a clear reflection of the significant shift in marketing focus to customer-centricity, with marketers indicating the need for much deeper and broader internal capabilities to manage customer relationships, and the corresponding data, more closely. Over half of marketers surveyed (54%) said they expect to bring a number of functions previously outsourced to agencies in-house by 2020.

The changes to organisational structures within client companies and the desire to exert tighter control over certain capabilities means that marketers’ requirements of agencies will change. 58% agreed that the number of agencies they work with will likely decline over the next five years, but there was little consensus on the right agency model.

While nine out of ten respondents are comfortable that media agencies will remain the go-to people for paid media, disintermediation is a real issue for these agencies, with 73% of marketers saying they will increasingly contract directly with media owners and technology companies by 2020.

Creative agencies will face a different challenge. Many marketers say they feel creative agencies are behind the curve, particularly in relation to the creation of dynamic content. While eight out of ten marketers believe that creative agencies will remain the best place to go for big creative ideas, nearly 60% anticipate that content development functions will move in-house or to alternative agencies within five years.

When respondents were asked to rank their most important challenges over the next five years, there was strong agreement that measuring performance was the top priority, with 65% of marketers identifying the use of outcome-based KPIs to match media investment decisions more closely to business results as the number one priority.

Consequently, marketers expressed clear preferences for the metrics used in planning, executing and evaluating media performance to evolve, predominantly to digital metrics measuring ROI, customer value, conversations to outcomes, content engagement, from exposure to advocacy, and ultimately, the nirvana of the single customer view.

As models and metrics change, so too will agency compensation models. They will have to evolve to be much more aligned with this performance-based culture. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) agree that performance target-based remuneration will become even more important in 2020.

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