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Posted by Stuart on November 20, 2013

Remember when media planning and buying was all about gut reaction, or historical preferences… or simply choosing the vendors that took you out to the best “Mad Men” style, all afternoon lunch? Well times are ‘a changing – or they really already have changed. The media industry has morphed from the guessing game of “what traditional media format works best” of 50 years ago, to a well thought out process including market and demographic analyses, examination of media habit and target behavior, competitive research, extensive vendor reviews and hard hitting cost negotiations. It’s safe to say that most media agencies are completing these basic steps when developing their media plans and buys, but what are they still missing? How could the modern day media agency improve further?

On top of more detail, research and rationale, clients are begging for more creativity. What will make them stand out from their competitors? What will set them apart as a category innovator? Again, media agencies recognize this, and most, deliver media plans based on human experience, with the media channels selected simply as touch points along the way. The big picture idea of who the target is, what they like to do and the creative media channels selected are combined to showcase how to effectively get the client’s advertising message in the right hands/ears/eyes. So media agencies have figured out how to paint the picture of effective message delivery, but strangely enough, this is often done without an idea of how that message will look, feel or resonate with consumers.

Collaboration between media departments and creative departments is key in ensuring the advertising creative fits organically with the media channels selected.

For example, say your cosmetics brand wants to support the launch of an eye-shadow trio. Most media agencies would be briefed on who the client believes is the target market for this new product, including the age range, sex, and perhaps some qualitative data. Based on the information provided, the media agency will investigate the most effective media channels available to support this product launch. The media agency may or may not have direct contact with the creative agency, so although they know the ad material will feature the eye-shadow trio, they may not know any further detail about the ad.

Media planners may still make great choices for the brand, but imagine how much stronger their recommendations could be if they had an inside look at how the creative will look and feel?

A media team within an integrated agency has that exact advantage. The media planners can speak directly with the art director to ensure the ad message communicates the client’s desired message – all without scheduling multiple-agency conference calls! So when the media planners see that the top ranking women’s fashion magazine is running a story on “Become a Bronze Beauty Goddess!” they can speak internally to ensure creative featuring the gold and copper eye-shadows skus are featured for a direct tie-in to the editorial.

We’re now in a world where consumers can choose what content they want to consume, which is making it harder and harder for advertisers to engage. It has never been more important for the advertising message to be relevant and interesting. With media and creative teams working together, we can make sure that the right message is delivered in the right environment at the right time to ensure maximum customizability to the consumer’s interests.

Having one integrated team can also be beneficial during the brainstorming process. An integrated agency may not only be responsible for their client’s advertising, but potentially also their in-store trade division’s consumer collateral. Often times (similar to media and creative), marketing and trade teams work in silos and don’t always leverage each other’s hard work. An integrated agency sees, and has the chance to develop additional, cohesive touch points for their clients. When a great concept is developed by a full service agency, it often makes sense for the client to leverage this idea through every available channel – not just the channel one specific agency is responsible for.

An integrated agency comprised of eclectic individuals from various backgrounds also helps generate great ideas. Some people say, “great minds think alike”, but we tend to disagree. The benefit of an integrated agency is the ability to pull ideas from the analytical media person, the uniquely inspirational designer, the socially savvy social media guru, the detail-oriented project manager and the focused web developer and mould different perspectives into one great idea!

We at BTI Brand Innovations are a cohesive team that looks at your marketing objective holistically. With us, you don’t need more agencies that you can count on one hand! Imagine picking up the phone to call your agency about your media buy, POS creative and social media nurturing (and more!).

Contact BTI today and we can make that a reality for you!