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The Media Skills You Need.
ID CommsNov 19, 20212 min read

What Capabilities Do Media Departments Need?

Media teams are getting bigger as the landscape and the role gets more complex. In this episode of #MediaSnack we talked about how media directors can ensure they have the skills they need...

Behind every brilliant media director is a great team. And it’s an increasingly larger team. Recent research from the WFA has revealed that the global media teams are now 60% bigger on average.

That’s essential because as the role has become more strategic and complex, media directors need back up to ensure that they can make the right decisions. There is huge scope for media leaders to boost capabilities but they have to be smart about where they do it and how they do it.

The pandemic has triggered many media directors to think more deeply about where they were investing their money. We see organisations moving expertise in areas such as ecommerce and shopper marketing out of their previous silos and putting it under the remit of the media director.

For brands seeking to build their teams, we think there are three areas to focus on: 

First, have a vision for media. Creating a manifesto for media gives you a platform to build on. It has real practical application because it sets the tone and tells everyone what you are trying to do.  It creates a framework for value and growth and sustainable growth.

Second, understand what your internal capabilities are. Know what the gaps and create a business case for change. Build a commercial business case illustrates the value of a stronger internal team in delivering in key areas. The WFA study identified four key areas where brands thought they were lacking: e-commerce, econometric modelling, transparency and in-housing. 

Media leaders shouldn’t be afraid of identifying gaps. We recently spoke to one media director who said that if you think everything is fine then the focus will go on to another part of the business. Building a strong media team needs constant senior level focus and investment and highlighting opportunities is part of the process.

Download ID Comms 2019 Global Media Trining Report

Third, have a roadmap but don’t expect to fill all your gaps at the same time. The road map will also help you illustrate progression and how that team is driving greater value from investment.

Good areas to focus on are the more strategic such as data, insight and strategy. Marketing organisations are now more data and insight rich than they used to be. They get more feedback, they are better connected to sales organisations, better understanding of consumers and typically own that data. When that’s combined with very sensitive commercial information, which often wouldn’t be shared with the agency, the results can be hugely powerful.

In our experience, taking control of the executional element rarely works, however.

As media directors take time to build out their internal teams they can use their agency to compensate for outstanding gaps. Taking it slower allows you to build a strong culture, particularly if you are hiring lots of people who may not have worked client-side before. 

It requires strong leadership to develop new teams, make sure they gel with existing capabilities while also managing expectations across the rest of the organisation.