Media Agencies Under Siege: How to win the war

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To explore the media landscape and state of digital marketing today, Adotas caught up with Bob Ray, CEO (pictured below) of DWA Media.

Q: What purpose does a media agency serve in in this day and age, especially given the onslaught of media and marketing automation solutions?

A: Marketers have more choices than ever before, and with the advent of machine learning and automation, agencies have had to make a case for the value of traditional services. For media agencies, experience working with available mar- and ad-technology solutions is table stakes. The real value is managing data to improve segmentation and the orchestration of more effective advertising that delivers more value to the consumer. Clients do not need non-measurable efficient solutions, they needs predictive outcomes. An agency that can deliver solutions that takes advantage of new technology, and shows real results, will become the next generation leaders in the agency space. Ultimately, its about turning data into customers.

Q: What’s the biggest threat to media agencies today?

A: Big brands continue to take more media capabilities in house. A lot of the mar- and ad-tech partners we work with have helped brands build out internal teams that are well versed in their platforms. Marketers want to spend less to reach audiences, so agencies must contend with stretching a client’s budget and taking less of a cut to meet client demands.

Q: What do you foresee being the biggest change to digital marketing in the next three years?

A: Consumers’ digital personas will become more robust and exact, due to the continued digitization household appliances, vehicles, and personal devices. Because of this, one’s digital experience will be more immersive, interactive, and influenced by advertising. The concept of native advertising will evolve to be more seamless to the overall digital experience. Younger generations are leading the charge in making a large portion of their personal data available to advertisers, either through the use of social networks or online usage. In turn, these young consumers will grow to demand more personalization out of the advertising they receive.

Q: What do you foresee being the biggest challenge digital marketers will face in the next three years?

A: Correlating investments among multiple media channels will continue to be very difficult for marketers, as will selecting the correct message to communicate to consumers through each channel. The bigger issue will be how to create the correct value equation between brands and consumers around identity and access to content. The next three years will likely determine where that balances out.

Q: How can media agencies adapt to the fragmentation of their clients’ audiences and changing behaviors?

A: Media agencies will need to be able to provide clients with a clear view of how their audiences are behaving in current and new channels, and how to message them accordingly. Identifying which channels are for research versus buying versus entertainment is key. Doing so helps a media agency identify a person across different channels and map his or her journey, effectively taking the guesswork out of advertising.

Since joining DWA in 2012, Bob Ray’s main focus has been on helping customers develop next-generation communications plans by providing strategic insights into how media influences technology buyers. He has spent more than a decade as a senior strategist and marketer at several Fortune 500 technology companies. More recently he built and led agencies in New York and San Francisco, working withclients such as VMware, Quantum, and Dell. is CEO of DWA Media. He joined DWA in 2012 and before that, he was president at Gyro.
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