When it comes to ‘media transformation’, the best source of inspiration comes from clients themselves.

The world of media auditors and consultants is given relatively little attention in the trade press and given the complexity of the digital media ecosystem, this is surprising. Independent advice is, arguably, more important than ever.

WFA recently published a report on this sector, based on a survey which included client, agency and advisor respondents.

Pool auditing and benchmarking remains a large part of what many companies in this area do, used by 9 in 10 clients and indispensable for 70%. But the suppliers have evolved their offerings and are likely to provide one or more other services including contract compliance, media consulting, agency & pitch management, media measurement & analytics…

Advertisers are now using independent media advisors to help set long-term strategy for media management, evolve their own organisations, hire new people and agencies, and set KPIs and measurement to hold everyone to account.

“…arming me with what I don’t always see from our media agency of record…helping me see the global picture that may impact my media agency’s activities & resources.” – WFA Member

It’s not all perfect though. Nearly all clients (96%) agree that ‘digital media requires a different assessment methodology to offline media’, and agencies and advisors feel the same way. But while advisors think they have made great progress (two-thirds of advisors agree that ‘digital evaluations offered by media advisors have advanced considerably in recent years’) clients are more sceptical, with just 23% agreeing.

Legacy advisory tools don’t seem to cut it. Digital media evaluations require an alternative approach, which should ideally include reference to business KPIs, impression verification and an assessment of buy-side and sell-side costs to establish ‘working media’ benchmarks, and potentially many other things besides.

The recommendation to clients dissatisfied with ‘outmoded media price judgments’ offered by their advisors is to consider opening a dialogue with them to explore more value-based assessments. Ultimately advisors seek to provide meaningful and relevant evaluations to their clients and they should be open to this kind of discussion.

Unsurprisingly digital is where client needs (and therefore advisor opportunities) lie. Programmatic evaluations are the main priority clients want their advisors to address. Media analytics and consultancy-level services will also be more in demand, with technology selection and implementation being ‘more important’ for at least 60% of client respondents.

“We need new kinds of auditing technique, with greater focus on data to help us interpret how we are spending within programmatic.” – WFA Member

Clients need support with ‘media transformation’ and there’s a clear opportunity for independent media advisors to play a key role in accelerating this. But as Scott Moorheadsays, advisors require review as much as any part of the ecosystem. There are different shades of advisor out there and clients should consider carefully what they need from their advisors, and make an informed decision on which partner is best suited to the task in hand.

When it comes to ‘media transformation’, the best source of inspiration comes from clients themselves. If you’re a client looking for ideas plus the practical steps to deliver, you might want to consider joining WFA’s Global Marketer Week in Tokyo this month. This will, again, be a big focus.

Source: WFA