On this page we give you simple ways that you can start assessing your existing media operations and start designing what's next.
Advertisers are increasingly aware of the power and potential of media to drive growth within their business. But decision making in media has never felt more complex. From securing the right talent, to identifying the best technologies and tools, to working with the best external partners - media requires focus along several discreet but intersecting lines. ID Comms is dedicated to solving these challenges, whilst simplifying the complexity of media so internal stakeholders can approach operational change with clarity and confidence.
The Media For Growth™ program follows three simple steps. Good quality diagnostic doesn't just tell you things that are broken or just give you a whole list of new things you have to do. Importantly, it tells you what not to do. If you're a media director, you will be very familiar with the pressure from inside your business on all the things that you could be doing or should be doing. Nowadays, everyone has a point of view on media.
The Media For Growth™ program gives you the clarity and certainty you need to confidently define your role as a media leader now, and into the future.
On this page you will find our easy to follow recommendations:
Diagnostic of your current media operations to highlight the strengths, opportunities and priority actions
New techniques for accurately benchmarking your operations against other leading brands to learn the best practices you can start to apply immediately.
Media directors are always at risk of being spread too thin. The role of the media director has really expanded a lot over the last five or 10 years into lots of adjacent parts of the business and the media director in a large global corporate can be spread very thin along lots of different functions. On top of that they have to be very visible externally and work with an increasing number of different partners and vendors in media.
So the primary implication and risk for the media director is being ineffective. To counter that, clarity is needed on the two or three things that are key to your particular job role.
You've got to be the guardian of operational excellence and then once that is established you have to be the North star for the media operation, having the clarity of vision and setting the narrative and the operating principles for the way the company invests many millions (or billions) of dollars, as well as the way the company will work effectively with many external partners.
There are a few things that media directors should be focusing on:
Increasingly we're finding with some major advertisers that media directors actually have a revenue target linked to their responsibility and to their discipline, which is brilliant because it illustrates that the business understands that getting media right can actually drive a successful business outcome.
With that, however, comes more responsibility. So, then we have to ask: how do you position yourself as a media leader for success by having tangible business targets?
We believe the start point is engineering the right behaviors internally first, cultivating a cohesive team, and then making sure that those behaviors are reflected externally with your media agency and other partners. This is how the media director can start to position media and their media operations as a source of growth for the business
These days about half of the internal media operations we see (as part of the larger marketing team) have successfully evolved the internal narrative around media as ‘an investment in growth’ and their colleagues see media investments as a source of growth, which is a much more cohesive way of thinking. We’re hoping that it’ll replace how split companies are, where media directors are split into two parts: half empowered to be part of the strategy, the other half part of the execution.
If you can articulate media as a source of growth internally, then you're more likely to get the company to see that as an investment, which means you're more likely to be able to get the headcount and resources you need to grow your capabilities internally, which is increasingly important.
Also, you're more likely to be able to articulate a good brief for an agency, which excites and empowers the best agency talent. So actually, you get better agencies and better people working on your business internally and externally, and you'll be able to measure the agency’s performance far better than just asking them to reduce costs. Everybody wins.
Eventually, you can start to make immediate dollars accountable for driving revenue and actual real business outcomes, which is ideal because that starts to be truly seen as an investment; the company will then start to value media in a way that for every dollar that comes there is an expected amount that comes back.
Today, most media impressions are almost impossible to follow: they’re hyper-targeted and served digitally direct to devices. As a marketer, this requires a huge trust in the systems of the supply chain.
But, whilst the media marketplace has quickly grown increasingly complex , the typical internal marketing organization has adapted at a much slower rate and we find that many internal media operations are not optimized with the capabilities, structure and process to get the most value from their media investments; they’re simply not able to make decisions quickly.
Ideally, you need to understand where you are at as a media operation. So it is important to do some form of evaluation and diagnostic: it allows you to understand how your current media management capabilities are set up internally and that gives you a line in the sand for which you can begin to start, hopefully designing change for what’s next, to keep you competitive in your category and keep your media investments working harder than other companies. It allows you something objective to talk about, to align your wider team and to build to a consensus which can become galvanizing. That's hugely powerful.
Once you understand the current operations, then you need to define and articulate your ambition for media. Why do you spend that amount of money on media? What role does it play in driving that business outcome?
Often, articulating that can be as simple as writing a vision, defining a simpler KPI framework, understanding how you measure success in media and figuring out which bits of the media process you want to do internally and which bits you're still very comfortable outsourcing to agencies and other partners.
This kind of exercise gives you a blueprint for future growth from media and it gives you a clear plan with which to better engage with the agency community, your publishers and technology partners.
"When are we in-housing our media?"
"Should we be in the Superbowl?"
"Why aren’t we shifting all our money to digital?"
"Should we be building our own capabilities in lots of different areas?"
"Why are we (not) on TikTok?"
"What is our position on ad fraud, brand safety, innovation, creativity…?"
"Should we optimize against audiences or context?"
The media directors that we work with start with an understanding of the operating model of their own marketing organization. How do they future-proof their media requirements in order to capitalize on the opportunities that the marketplace offers? The question we get asked most is: How do I understand what I need to improve, in order to future proof my operating model? And that's when we start talking about diagnostics to understand the limitations and the opportunities within their current operating model which is when we provide a perspective as to where they need to go. We call that the AS IS situation. And so by diagnosing the challenges and the opportunities, we can begin to start developing a roadmap for future improvement.
Media can be so complicated and the language of media can be so complex that it can be very alienating for the wider marketing organization and the business as a whole. So in order to make as many stakeholders feel invested in this important process, we needed to try and simplify the way that we conducted these diagnostics with major advertisers.
At ID Comms we work with the 7Ts® which is a diagnostic framework that simplifies the complex function of media into 7 critical areas for growth.
The 7Ts® framework and the clear reporting style makes the media operation more accessible and easier to understand for non-media specialists by using language that is acceptable within corporate marketing organizations.
Once a media director or CMO can begin to socialize the findings from the 7Ts® diagnostic work it is easier to get traction internally to discuss change.
At ID Comms, our media diagnostic tools and the 7Ts® framework sit in a cloud platform that enables us to conduct diagnostics quickly and securely, to bring together multiple stakeholders in vary and frictionless way.
The fact that it is facilitated by technology provides added objectivity to the findings, which makes internal communications more effective.
The diagnostic data collection comes from document analysis, stakeholder interviews and team surveys, providing rich data points with which to report a clear picture back to your team and CMO, with recommendations of improvement workstreams.
What a diagnostic of your media operation allows you to do, is to give you the evidence or quantitative base of things that you should be doing now, and cutting out the things that you shouldn’t be. One of the big outputs in our diagnostics at ID Comms is highlighting the things that are important to address now, and the things that you need to use for future success. We play the long game. For someone like the media director, it can be very helpful just to offload those pressures to do all the things, all the time. It simplifies and clarifies things.
Media can very often become quite a siloed specialism within the marketing organization. At worst it becomes quite detached from the marketing function and can be seen as little more than a cost optimization exercise.
Performing a diagnostic of the media operation actually allows the media director to reach out into lots of adjacent functions within the marketing organization. Importantly is also helps the media director reach upwards with influence in the corporate organization. So it's a very good way of bringing your CMO, your CPO, even your CEO closer to the role that media plays in business growth.
We've had many company CEOs, CMOs and presidents participate in our diagnostics programs for major advertisers. So we see it elevates the media function. It creates this level playing field of common understanding which is so powerful.
Once the 7Ts® diagnostic is completed (but before we define the TO BE state and start designing a roadmap for change), it’s important to connect with other companies that perhaps have addressed similar challenges and learn from their experiences and pick their brains for best practice advice. We never stop learning, and we always encourage our clients to. Learning is essential for growth.
What we've found incredibly powerful is that peers are usually generous to share some of the learning perhaps their organizations have gained as they go through this kind of journey themselves and this can accelerate our client’s transformational journey.
It's an incredibly valuable and powerful part of the process.
One of the things that we find every time we do any kind of diagnostics and when it comes to the peer benchmarking part is there is always a moment where they turn around and they say,
“Oh, wow. Maybe we're not as bad as we thought we were!”
Even though that may seem like a very small insight, it's an incredibly powerful and motivating realization for the organization and it is a moment that builds great confidence in designing for the future.
Media Operating Models provide a framework that defines how advertisers approach the management of their media investment. They should link the ambition for media with the day-to-day execution of media strategy in order to really drive value. As
The best possible operating model is one that is not only structured and fit for purpose but that is also regularly reviewed and contemporised to maximise both short and long-term business performance. All parties should fully understand their roles and responsibilities, briefings should always be relevant, informative and clear, while strategic and
Getting the operating model right can really drive business advantage, making your media investment disproportionately effective.