Forrester study: 4 points to note when CMOs choose media agencies

CMOs and heads of media contend with increasingly elusive consumers who have reported they regularly avoid ads and question advertising's usefulness in learning about new products and services. On top of that, today's suboptimal advertising experience is not helped by the advertising industry's separation of media from creative, which has led to competing agency factions and disintegrated campaigns, a Forrester report revealed.

Hence, it comes as no surprise that today's CMOs are on the hunt for better outcomes and partnerships. According to the Forrester study on media management services, adaptive CMOs require agency partners to harness data and creativity to better connect the medium, message, and moment. As the media agency market matures into an integrated, content-rich and, precision marketing offering, CMOs and heads of media are encouraged to look out for four key offerings when selecting the right media agency. Here are the steps media agencies should take, as recommended by Forrester:

1. Scale creative content with audience precision

The best-paid media executions activate creative content across pinpointed audiences, whether the aim is performance or upper funnel. All global media agencies provide content development services, but the report states the best agencies leverage a precision approach to promoting and distributing content. For example, one global media agency created 5B, a feature-length documentary for a client, that chronicles the first hospital ward in the US dedicated to caring for AIDS patients. The feature film was distributed via streaming platforms, and paid media campaigns targeted high-value audiences via performance tactics.

2. Integrate marketing technology, media, and creative execution

Media agencies provide marketers with expertise in audience and channel selection. Today, media agencies integrate solutions across the technology, content, and media landscape. The best global agencies offer brands holistic, integrated agency structures that seamlessly connect creative and channels, the study added. This was evident when an agency created a holding company agency solution that includes media, creative technology, and analytics in an integrated solution. 

3. Blaze the automation and AI trail for execution and operations

The tension between machine automation and agency craft is on full display in today's digital and marketing transformation setting. All global media agencies use data and automation in their operations to define audiences, select appropriate channels, and optimise results. And the best media agencies leverage automation and AI as part of media and creative execution too, the report said. One such agency previously developed an AI platform to help an Australian broadcaster predict wickets during the Australian Cricket World Cup. Each prediction created real-time notifications and ads to alert viewers to tune in to the match. The AI platform predicted nearly 2,000 wickets, resulting in average weekly sales increases.

4. Enhance the centralised resources of their holding companies

It is of utmost importance CMOs and their agencies navigate an ever-sprawling system of tools, platforms, and systems to effectively meet consumers' shifting expectations. The best media agencies enhance their holding company's tools and resources with a proprietary planning platform that maximises executional outputs, the report said, adding all leading global media agencies offer such integrations through shared resources and connections to common technology with its respective media groups and holding companies.

In addition to its study on CMOs’ expectations of media agencies, Forrester also identified the 10 significant media management providers which include Carat, Havas Media Group, MediaCom, Mindshare, OMD, PHD, Starcom, UM, Wavemaker, and Zenith. Forrester had scored the agencies from its 29-criterion evaluation. The report researched, analysed, and scored these agencies, and uncovered its strengths and weaknesses.

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