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THE MEDIA SEP 2018 e-book

MEDIA AGENCY “An international observer concurs that the South African market has been slow to invest in diversified services, in part because there are still a lot of traditional advertisers.” Concurring with this, Dawn Rowlands, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network SSA, characterises buying braggadocio as “boring” and refers to Carat’s Consumer Connections Study (CCS), a single source media, marketing and consumer-targeting data survey, as a source of insight. Even more future facing has been the Dentsu Aegis acquisition of Merkle, a data-driven, technology-enabled performance marketing agency with a formidable US database of 300 million unique IDs. The mar-tech arena is seen as crucial by the networks. Omnicom Precision Marketing Group has just acquired a majority stake in mar-tech and ecommerce management and technology consultancy Credera, whilst IPG has stumped up $2 billion to acquire Acxiom Marketing Solutions (AMS), a database marketing company collecting information from an estimated 2.2 billion consumers worldwide. ‘Massive legacy drag’ But this is not where the local battles are being fought, just yet. Severe in her assessment of the local market, Rowlands talks of “massive legacy drag” and “the limited views and overinflated opinions of industry” that some players still have. De Nardis delicately points out that the local market remains “conservative” with its dominant investment on TV. Digital has not evolved to the levels of most Western, and some Asian economies. Building meaningful data layers requires investment and given the relatively small size of the local market, the major groups have been lethargic in this area. An international observer concurs that the South African market has been slow to invest in diversified services, in part because there are still a lot of traditional advertisers. Taking the Nordics as a cautionary example, he says the groups, which had fundamentally restructured and invested ahead of the curve gained large traction; those following an old model or tinkering at the edges quickly lost share. The tipping point was quicker and more profound than had been anticipated. Botha provides a buoyant perspective, characterising The MediaShop’s service offering and revenue streams as “chalk and cheese” compared with 10 years ago. Two factors drove this: a more demanding client environment and the need for diversified income streams. Clients have been receptive to new offerings such as attribution modelling, econometric modelling, OOH production, SEO, activations, and research and promotions, which now make up nearly 15% of agency revenue. Dearnaley cites the recent launch of an econometric division, led by Deborah Schepers, as PHD’s current focus. This allows them to finally answer the question of “which half of my advertising is working?” and guide clients to make informed decisions, ranging from “how much do we need to spend for uplift and where should we spend?” to “what durations and formats are effective?”. This is a decisive move into the consulting space. Interestingly, Schepers points out that it requires professionalism and maturity to be able to hear the bad news, which may be delivered from a clinically objective statistical approach. New perspectives from staf Of course, people are important too! Carrapichano points out that “training and appointing staff from different backgrounds, representing South Africa’s demographics is paramount to staying a dynamic agency”. Adopting new disciplines can be a catalyst for bringing in new perspectives. De Nardis reckons out that digital skills are fiercely sought internationally and a real scarcity in Africa makes investment in upskilling of the youth critical. Local agency leaders are aware of being part of a “mobile first” continent from which unique lessons can be learnt. Rowlands, for example, cites Kenya as a country where the widespread use of relatively low-tech cellphones has led to the development of inexpensive, but ingenious and effective communication solutions. The survival, or, possible renaissance, of media agencies is dependent on their ability to lead client conversation. Rowlands suggests that more datacentric agencies will be well poised to take this guiding role and argues that recruiting will tilt strongly towards the field of science. Dearnaley endorses that there is P 24 The Media | wagthedog.co.za Dawn Rowlands Continued to p26


THE MEDIA SEP 2018 e-book
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