For decades, TV reigned supreme in the advertising world. Media agencies' main tasks were isolated to planning or buying campaigns across a narrow selection of channels. Only ten years ago, the first smartphone was yet to be released, Facebook was unavailable to public users and Twitter was three months away from launching. Now we have Apple Pay, wearables and a range of other technologies disrupting the status quo, with consumers now more likely to see ads on a vertical screen than a horizontal one.
Clearly, media agencies must adapt quickly if they want to stay relevant in such a rapidly changing environment. Organisations not only need people with a wider set of skills than ever before but also innovative tools that empower employees to perform an increasingly challenging job.
After all, today's planners have to do much more than simply purchase TV space and push out 30-second ads (although TV is still crucially important to the media mix). Marketers are faced with a seemingly endless list of contact points to consider for their communications, which creates opportunities and difficulties in almost equal measure.
What issues are affecting agencies?
In a world of big data, marketing automation and programmatic advertising, agencies need people who possess talents across much wider areas. Strategists, data analysts, content producers, developers, econometricians and search technicians are just some of the varied skillsets on show at high-performing agencies.
However, finding the right talent is just part of the process and no one is strong in all these specialisations. Media agencies must therefore take a more strategic approach across the entire organisation - a task that is often easier said than done.
This is particularly true for agencies that have siloed disciplines where TV, digital, print and other departments are working independent of one another. Media agencies understand their channels, but where most organisations have room for improvement is creating a cohesive message from the many disparate streams of information running through their business. So how can agencies work towards an integrated cross-media perspective without a complete overhaul of existing processes?
Media planning tools can provide an effective framework to facilitate a more strategic approach to campaigns by combining the latest research, sophisticated analytics and user-friendly software. In doing so, agency employees can generate important insights into consumer journeys across multiple channels and categories.
How Pointlogic's tools can help
We've covered a range of challenges that media planners face in 2016, including an ever-growing number of contact points, the diversity of in-house skills now required and the siloed nature of many agencies. Nevertheless, the rise of digital means there are huge quantities of data available to help shape relevant messages, tailor consumer journeys and better define the often-blurry lines between overlapping media channels.
Pointlogic has developed a suite of planning solutions to support media agencies in their quest for greater consumer insights and more advanced cross-channel integration. We understand the complexities of marketing and are dedicated to providing tools that identify and overcome common pain points for planners.
Pointlogic Commspoint, for example, is ideal for agencies that want to overhaul their communications strategies and find the best contact points for advertising their goods and services. The software utilises comprehensive surveys of consumers and media experts, the results of which form the inputs for our extensive data analytics methodologies. Commspoint recognises media capabilities, reach and frequency figures, spot duplication patterns and other information, which is then translated into influence on the consumer.
Meanwhile, for a more precision planning approach, Pointlogic Pinpoint is a portfolio of agency solutions that enables marketers to drill down into various channels at a more granular level. Agencies can use Pinpoint to optimise the buy across multiple brands, better manage cross-media reach and frequency, and set the best weights and frequencies for campaigns. The platform also facilitates media behaviour analysis by examining shopper profiles in depth.
The benefits of using Pointlogic tools
At Pointlogic, we consider our tools to be decision support systems; they provide the research and analytics that media agencies rely on for the important day-to-day choices that can make or break campaigns.
Dirk Engel, a market and media research specialist, author and lecturer, believes the right tools can provide agencies with a competitive edge in their decision-making.
"Marketing and media planning have two sides: On one side there is numbers, figures, technology and - of course - money. On the other side, there is strategic thinking, creative work and ideas. The challenge is to communicate between both worlds," he explained. "Pointlogic tools are perfect for this task, because tools like Commspoint and Pinpoint match strategic goals with hard data. The combination of recent research results, a scientific background and a user-friendly interface deliver a powerful solution for improving marketing and media decisions."
Deploying high-end media planning tools helps bridge the gaps between different departments and enables agencies to move towards a more integrated, cross-channel environment where everyone is speaking a common language. Technology continues to change consumer behaviours every day, so businesses must now leverage the latest innovations in order to create campaigns that cater to evolving needs.