Q1’s number one priority for media directors should be to make sure that their agency talent is on top form.
The media director’s role is ever-more challenging. In our experience those that do best are the ones with a good agency partnership and good agency leadership.
Some may be looking to bring some elements of this work in house but, for many, the agency partnership remains the foundation stone of success in 2022.
Having the right agency talent is vital, not least because this year the market conditions are so uncertain. We’ve seen media plans have to change and adapt because supply chain challenges mean brands simply couldn’t get certain products on the shelves.
Managing these expanding and exciting challenges relies on media directors having the right agency talent on their account. This allows them the freedom to go forward and deal with the strategic, internal challenges they face.
Media directors need to address this as their number one priority right now, not least because changes in the way media is bought are putting the supply of talent under particular strain.
We review a lot of staffing plans and look at resource requirements for many brands around the world and there are key questions that need to be asked. These include: where are the gaps? how long have they been open? does that reflect our scope of work in this rapidly changing year? and could talent currently underemployed be replaced or moved to tackle areas of tightness?
Media directors can address the talent challenge in three ways:
Firstly, they can dust off their scope of work and make sure it’s accurate. Agencies can only staff up if they know what you want them to do. Make it relevant to your business and number of campaigns; reflect the needs that you have for the year; and once it’s up to date, take it to the leadership of the agency and ask them to come back with a resource plan.
Secondly, they can look at payment. Talent inflation is real and agency teams need to be properly paid. That’s the only way to guarantee your agency teams are focused on your objectives not the commercial needs of the agency. Current best practice is to pay a fixed fee for strategic and management of your account, with a commission for execution.
Thirdly, they can check gaps in provision. Ask the agency what plan there is to fill those gaps and when you will have a full team on the account. It’s not just a numbers game. Check what proportion of time each of the staffers is being allocated. Remember that anyone on less than 20% of their time, unless they are very senior, will not be dedicating much time to your business. Make sure time feels right. Make sure that balance between senior staff and operational execution is right for your business and do not accept big gaps in talent provision for a long period of time.
Speak to the agency leadership and start a good dialogue. Getting a solution to any concerns will also help your existing agency team because if there are big gaps then others will have to pick up the pieces.
Agency leaders will dread this conversation because they already have a queue of people asking about talent but remember it’s only the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.
In an average year, talent is an advantage but in 2022 it’s competitive advantage. It needs to be the number one priority for the start of the year.
Watch ID Comms #MediaSnack episode on Q1 media priorities here: