Buyer or Consultant? What is the Role of the Media Agency Today?

After begging the panel to refrain from using any acronyms, Google’s Mark Howe began an open discussion with a distinguished panel of agency leaders about the changing face of media agencies today. This included Claudine Collins, Mark Creighton, Pippa Glucklich, Martin McNulty, Ben Wood and our very own Managing Director, Dan Clays. Questions ranged from structure to data and here are a few key themes from the inspiring session:

Agency structure

An omni-channel approach is crucial to getting the attention of consumers. Multi-channel strategies are becoming increasing vital as digital is becoming progressively engrained in everything we do. Agencies make this happen by using a holistic group approach, which enables them to draw upon specialists within their agency.

Dan believes, ‘Clients do need digital specialists but connected as part of an integrated agency proposition, and alongside other specialists that are not exclusively digital such as creative solutions experts, advanced media planners and data analysts.’

Agency culture

When speaking about agency culture, it was argued that although agency culture may be changing, the ‘culture’ of its workers is not.  Agencies are evolving, becoming more integrated and collaborative than ever, however its employees still thrive from creativity, citizenship and diligence – they are the same at their core, just equipped with a different skill set.

Big Data

The increasing amounts of available data should not overshadow creativity but it should work alongside it to help create more informed, real-time content. An idea should be enhanced by data, not confined by it. ‘Digital is ultimately part of everything we do now and so we need people running client business who understand digital, data and content as part of an integrated communications strategy,’ said Dan.

To conclude the session, the panel were asked where they see their own media agency in five years’ time, in no more than five words. No two answers were the same, with responses varying from a ‘combination of art and science,’ from Ben Wood, to ‘mobile will be bigger,’ from Dan. The variety of answers demonstrates how media agencies are expecting to adapt and evolve in a variety of ways.


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