The digital revolution has re-written the rules that govern how we engage with the world around us. Socially and economically, its disruptive influence has been profound: it has brought seemingly limitless volumes of information and data to our fingertips, democratised markets and fundamentally transformed the relationship between brand and consumer.
Its impact has propelled a boon in start-up businesses and empowered consumers. Jostling for space in ultra-competitive markets, brands are having to reconsider the ways in which they communicate with customer-bases that now call the shots. The role of traditional media – particularly TV – remains crucial in expressing key marketing messages, cultivating brand prestige, increasing share of voice and driving response; yet in a fast-moving, dynamic modern world, the word traditional is one that attracts much scrutiny.
Responding to new demands
While major broadcasters have made exciting strides in developing platforms that enhance the targeting and integration capabilities available to advertisers, the traditional TV buying model used by the larger agencies and sales houses looks increasingly outdated. Smaller independent planning and buying agencies are working hard to change this. But why the need for a new approach?
Advanced Booking deadlines and share deals may very well suit the Big Business world, but, for those operating outside of this bubble, such models are simply too rigid and restrictive. For many advertisers navigating this saturated, multiscreening world of websites, apps and the ever-evolving complexities of the customer purchase journey, planning flexibility is vital.
Such brands require the manoeuvrability to operate month-by-month, week-by-week or day-by-day, without having to commit entire annual or even quarterly spends in one fell swoop. They demand a fluidity in their campaign planning that allows for the nip and tuck of budget allocation based on real-time performance insights. They flourish upon the optimisation of airtime around creatives, channels, weekdays, hours and programming that deliver the best response and the clearest ROI. They need to test, learn, and build with scale.
Embracing the spirit of disruption
To meet these demands, agencies must provide a hands-on service delivered by highly-trained and passionate teams wielding a wide skill-set; planners and buyers capable of providing the support and expertise that helps business owners, marketing managers and entrepreneurs make informed decisions about the direction of their campaign. If businesses are to have the confidence to invest in the long-term growth of their brand amid these uncertain times, it’s imperative they enjoy a relationship with their media agency built on trust and transparency.
As important, however, is client and agency sharing an ethos of disruption; of thinking a little differently to execute a vision that is stable yet fluid; of having the agility to organise around opportunities as they arise, whilst at the same time having a system in place that ensures fast turnarounds are executed efficiently; of embracing a culture of experimentation that always has a rationale and purpose at its heart.
Long gone are the days of TV advertising being the preserve of corporate giants with multi-million pound budgets. In an environment energised by the disruptive zeal of ambitious challenger brands, it’s time for TV planning agencies to embrace this same spirit, and nurture a more flexible approach that meets the needs of a new and constantly morphing generation of businesses.
Stuart Bryan is content manager at Guerillascope.