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Media Intelligence : 2009 - 2010
state of play MEDIA FRAGMENTATION GAINS PACE Social media is creating change on the media landscape whilst fragmentation is now the norm within old and new media disciplines. With these changes comes the demands for accountability and effi cacy. Media buyers and their clients are taking a cautious yet measured approach in this economic downturn. The growth of digital and integrated media are redefi ning research parameters whilst the abundance of information and choice poses new challenges for researchers in the media marketplace. Investing in media should beat the downturn John Sintras MD, Starcom MediaVest What is your forecast for the media industry over the next twelve months? It’s really diffi cult to call next month let alone next year. Which media segments are generating excitement in agencies at the moment? Search is certainly increasing in importance and being aggressively pushed by ourselves to the majority of our clients. That is where we are looking for the biggest growth as well as mobile and some of the newer forms of digital. We are looking to innovate and stay fresh in that area. In general, the whole area of investment and negotiation across the board, given the market has changed and demand has dropped, now has a lot of people who are really taking advantage of the situation in a pro-active way with clients, and deal and do short term negotiations at every opportunity. Is there a move towards search for its cost eff ectiveness/measurability. It makes sense, given the amount of purchasing activity through search online. There is a good business reason but also the ROI. When times are tough and people are looking for guaranteed ROI, search is directly measurable Where are agencies feeling the pinch? The tricky thing for agencies is that revenues are potentially declining – given that a percentage of an agency’s revenue is tied to billings. As billings decline for some clients and some mediums, revenue declines accordingly. We are not necessarily seeing as much revenue but the whole challenge of managing the workload with reduced revenue is creating some pinch as well as ROI for clients. We have been heavily investing in those resources for some time and it is more important in this sort of climate – helping clients to fi nd answers. Some large organisation are talking about nine-day fortnights, pay freezes and other cost cutting initiatives. Is that the case at Starcom? We are certainly being very cost-conscious and responsible, any salary initiatives are heavily scrutinised, but we haven’t issued any nineday fortnights however we are encouraging people to take as much of their annual leave as is reasonable. Who will be the media winners when we emerge from the downturn? Those people that have really invested in proving the effi cacy of their media or mediums will emerge strongest – not the ones who have been in a fi re-sale sort of mentality, which is the natural default position. Those people that have really focused on personal relationships with agencies and clients – the ones who are invested in getting to know the situation in the hard times, they reap the benefi ts when times are good again. If times are tough clients are more likely to trust them and give them the benefi ts of a larger purchase when things look up. Also people that invest, and understand return on investment. How are you approaching measurement and research now and looking forward? We have a very holistic approach to research. We talk about it in the sense of the left and right side of the brain. The way we are structured is very human and very much about understanding how the brain works so we put a lot more focus on understanding people as people. We have employed an anthropologist and created some very interesting learnings from that, which is an interesting point of difference for us and focusing more on anthropology, psychology and sociology in terms of research. We are looking at a blend of real and digital observational methodologies to understand what is happening out there in the real world and in cyberspace. We have a program called Culturescope which is an ethnographic approach to understanding what is happening in the marketplace with social reporters etc. We did two studies last year and have more planned for this year We have done a whole study in branded conversations which is around social marketing and word of mouth in terms of tracking touchpoints, channel planning and ROI. Last year you fl agged the shortage of talent as a major issue within the industry. How does that stand now? What has changed is that the attrition rates have declined dramatically in the industry – certainly in our agency. People aren’t moving on and it is the fi rst time it has happened, in my experience. It’s one of the positives to have come out of the recession. Having said that, you still need to invest in growing those people, and the real fear is that when things start to look up again there will be some pent up frustrations, and people will be wanting to do something different and we will have a huge catch up of attrition rates. This could be an issue for the industry and we need to be very careful about how we manage our people during these times to try and avoid this happening. The other challenge is that people aren’t really recruiting at the moment, everybody is trying to manage head count. We need to be careful that we don’t bite the hand that feeds us. MEDIA Trends + Strategy 12 p11-15_stateOfPlay.indd 11 p11-15_stateOfPlay.indd 11 3/7/09 11:50:52 AM 3/7/09 11:50:52 AM
MT Resource 2010