Marketers and procurement need to champion media within their organisation if it is to reach its full potential.
Big brands spend a lot on media. Media budgets can be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Despite this huge investment, however, many are only just starting to realise that they need greater internal expertise to take back control.
These new experts – often dubbed the Chief Media Officer as a shorthand but representing a much wider team – need to work closely with procurement specialists who continue to have an important role to play, providing guardianship over the contract, remuneration and ensuring the agency remains accountable for its performance/ commercial commitments.
Smart brands now realise that a combination of skilled procurement and media expertise is required to manage such an important budget line.
But it takes more than the simple import of media experts to change company cultures that have long viewed media as a cost rather than an investment and where media agencies are viewed as a supplier rather than a strategic partner.
Indeed many of the companies that are about to invest in media expertise, simply aren't ready to fully benefit from the value these internal media experts/ guardians can bring.
That’s because many have deeply entrenched, often negative, perceptions of media and the role of media agencies. Senior management can also lack understanding of the media guardianship role.
Making these new appointments a success requires the individuals concerned to quickly secure the internal credibility and mandate to use agencies better and drive more value.
This is extremely difficult unless they can first change internal perceptions of media.
Creating an environment for success requires a three-step strategy:
First, they need to define a clear role for media. This means articulating the role that media can and does play in delivering against business goals, being clear about the role that media agencies will be expected to play in delivering this vision, and defining a media operating framework for dealing with the media agency.
Second, they need to create a roadmap for media management improvement. This means conducting an internal analysis/ diagnostic to identify the areas of current media management that are working well and the areas that need improvement, identifying priorities that can become a case for business change and aligning senior stakeholders and management with this roadmap for improvement.
Third, they need to champion successes internally. This means showcasing and quantifying the value of improvements via a business case that demonstrates the business value of improved media performance, while also reaching out to all parts of the company to celebrate these achievements.
Simply employing media expertise alone won’t solve the all the issues, brands also have to change their cultures to appreciate the value that smart media expertise can bring.