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Better Media Investments
Tom DenfordJun 08, 20234 min read

Better Media Investments

Brands Deserve Better Media

A weekly column from @tomjdenford



Why do brands audit their media investments? And how to do it properly. 


Yes I know, the word ‘audit’ sounds aggressive and accusatory to our agencies, as if it's looking for a problem or a mistake. But given the large amount of money invested in media each year it is prudent for the brand to get a regular, objective understanding of precisely what’s being bought and, most importantly, if it is at the right balance of price versus quality. 


Brands deserve better media. At a time when media seems to be getting more complex and harder to unpick what’s working, it's easy for brands to lose time and resources on things that don't drive growth. 


More brands than ever have decided to regularly audit their media investments, knowing that making every dollar work harder gives them a competitive advantage in advertising. 


But how do they know their investments are being put to the best use? And how do they identify wasted budgets that can be reinvested into helping their brands grow?


At ID Comms we audit billions of dollars of media investment for many of the world’s leading advertisers. We see some typical benefits for brands that regularly audit their media:


Brands get improved governance that stands up to scrutiny.

Large marketing investments tend to get greater attention from the C-Suite and often must adhere to a set of governance requirements. Large amounts of money carry oversized risks and so these requirements help prove that proper steps have been taken to approve the release of funds, change orders, delivery validation, proof of performance and the achievement of agreed KPIs. If a robust media governance framework is not in place or has not been updated, it is a good reason to conduct an initial media audit. 


Brands get better insights into what’s working.

When reasonable questions produce answers that beg more questions or suggest a concerning absence of detail, lack of urgency or underwhelming grasp of KPIs, it may be time to get outside advice and seek better answers. This may not be an occasion to put the team “on notice” but can be framed as a positive performance management tool and a way to impress upon every one that better answers are necessary to drive the results needed in the business. 


Brands can increase the impact of media investment.

The key here is creating a baseline against which you can measure future performance, then regularly track financial improvements being driven through the media audit program.


Making every dollar accountable and optimized is job number one for all media investment professionals and brand stewards. This is true in growth periods and in recessions, for brand leaders and challengers, big spenders and small, online and offline, local and global. 


Brands can maximize value improvement opportunities.

New product launches, new target segmentations, ambitious business goals, competitive pressures, market forces, supply chain challenges and changing economic conditions are just a few of the good reasons to consider new ways of going to market.


A media audit can provide a fresh opportunity to consider the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) most important to the business today and can bring fresh insights. An experienced media audit firm can leverage experience from a wide aperture of brands that have gone through similar challenges and succeeded. 


Brands can performance manage their agency partners.

The maxim ‘what gets measured gets managed’ (h/t Peter Drucker) tells us the intrinsic benefits of setting targets in life and in business. Target setting is important for team productivity and the targets should be re-visited each year for relevance and interrogated for proper and intended outcomes.


Agency partnerships are a very important and high-value brand investment and must be optimized to deliver on the full ambitions of the marketing, finance, media and strategic sourcing teams. A proper program for partnership optimization will consist of a multi-dimensional review framework and a clear and collaborative approach to learning, sharing and target setting. 



5 Ways a Better Media Audit Will Help Grow Your Brand



Brands deserve better media audits.

When the time comes to conduct a media audit, and there’s strong clarity as to the reason to do it, it should seamlessly inform the brief to the media auditor, set the stage for audit partner selection criteria and help position the program for future success. 


We see a regular media audit as part of good governance and stewardship of a brand’s media investment. Marketers deserve to know that every dollar invested in media to grow that brand is working as hard as possible. 


Brands should be able to identify investments that are underperforming or where value is being lost and be able to clearly see opportunities for improvements; changes that can add more weight and impact to a campaign or reduce costs overall by cutting out waste.


The industry would be better if more brands were auditing their media. We recognize that brands see better results, agencies learn how to better serve their clients and are held accountable to deliver higher quality results, raising the waterline for us all.


Remember we are all in service of the brands we love, and when brands get the media they deserve they flourish. A regular health check on your media investments is a strong start. 


When brands grow, we all win.




This post was featured in ID Comms’ weekly column, Brands Deserve Better Media. Each week, CEO Tom Denford shares insights on media and advertising and inspires us to work together to build a better future for the industry.

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