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ID Comms Media Training Survey
Tom DenfordNov 08, 20164 min read

Brands Failing To Provide Quality Training In Media Skills


Despite rapid change in the media landscape, lack of training means marketers are ill-equipped to handle new areas such as digital or programmatic.

Less than one in ten senior brand and media agency marketers thinks that media training at advertisers is up to scratch, according to a new survey by ID Comms.

The ID Comms 2016 Training Survey found that globally just 9.4% of advertisers and agencies believe that current media training programmes are satisfactory, with 60% agreeing that there was not enough financial support for such training.

Other factors reducing commitment to media training include lack of time (27%), the feeling that such training should be provided for free by agencies (12%) and previous poor media training experiences (7%). 

The findings from media change consultancy ID Comms are based on responses from 117 senior executives at agencies and advertisers including marketers from brands spending an estimated $20bn each year and responses from all the major media agency networks.

The lack of commitment to training comes despite the fact that the vast majority of respondents are aware that better media training would give them a competitive advantage.

Nearly 96% of respondents agreed that brands can gain competitive advantage in marketing by investing in media training. A staggering 67.5% strongly agreed.

Respondents also ranked the current skill base as less than satisfactory, scoring an average of 2.9 out of 5 (where 4 is satisfactory) across three critical areas: “Being a good client and following good media management behaviours”, “working productively with media agencies” and “making media more accountable”. 

Splitting the results between agency and advertiser respondents shows that advertisers were most concerned with a lack of budget whilst agency respondents were most concerned with the lack of time to commit to media training.

There were also key differences between the two sides on the areas of training that would bring most benefit. Advertisers picked Media ROI (14%), KPI Setting (13.5%) and briefing and evaluating (12%) as their most critical areas while agencies named Paying for agency services (11%), Media ROI (12%) and KPI Setting (10.5%) as their top three.

Download ID Comms 2016 Global Media Training Report.

Some respondents said the lack of investment in training highlighted the status of media within brands. “I believe the key issue is that Media hasn't been a priority area within marketing departments,” said one respondent, and that the situation will continue unless media moves up the priority list.

“Recent concerns over trust and transparency in the media landscape have highlighted the risks to brands of not having up-tp-date knowledge and skills in media” said Tom Denford, Chief Strategy Officer at ID Comms. “Brands can no longer simply rely on agencies to provide free training but must take active steps to improve their own skills and commit to a programme of continuous media education. Training is one key tool to upgrading that internal capability, alongside recruitment, but while many recognise the benefits that better media understanding could bring to their business in a fast changing media landscape, collectively brands are failing to invest enough time and money in media training”

Download ID Comms 2016 Global Media Training Report

The findings of this survey were discussed at an invitation-only event, hosted by ID Comms in London, on 10th November.

Additional responses from individual advertiser respondents include:

Training is fundamental to enhance leveraging agencies' capabilities to their full potential and to elevate the understanding of media importance with a brand's senior marketing and management stakeholders.” 

“The market is evolving so quickly it is challenging for brands to keep on top of changes and also ensure their people have the right skill set.”

“Companies need to first accept that media is a not an expense centre but a growth and investment centre.”

Additional responses from individual agency respondents include:

“There are many clients with substantial gaps in understanding of how to make their media spend and media agencies more accountable and how to ensure that they are receiving real value.” 

“I've unfortunately seen too many "clients" operate with a very poor appreciation of the strategic and business value that media can bring. Unfortunately, what follows typically is a lack of ambition, leadership, and downstream executional thinking only.”

“Most clients do not have any idea of the salient aspects of media.”

The survey was conducted between 10th September and 4th October 2016. There were 117 responses in total representing brands with a total, global advertising spend of approximately $20bn.

The respondents were comprised of Marketing, Media and Procurement professionals with a range of global, regional and local market responsibilities. Seventy percent were Europe-based, 20% were from the US and the remainder representing the rest of the world.

Agency respondents came from all six major holding companies as well as key independent media agencies. For more details of the ID Comms 2017 Global Media Thinking Report, join our special Strategic Thinking webinar.

Download ID Comms 2016 Global Media Training Report.

Results of the ID Comms Global Media Training survey have been featured in WARC, MediaPost, The Drum, Marketing Week, Campaign and MoreAboutAdvertising.


Tom Denford

Tom Denford is one of the world’s most trusted advisors to senior marketing and procurement leaders on navigating media and digital transformation. With 20 years’ experience in the marketing industry, which covers senior global roles in creative and media agencies, Tom co-founded ID Comms in 2009, with ambition for the company to be the world experts in maximising media value and performance.