The 2017 Global Media Thinking Survey from media change consultants ID Comms, was based on answers from 179 senior marketers from companies with combined annual media budgets of more than $22bn and executives from all major media agency holding groups.
There was near universal agreement (97%) with the statement that "advertisers who take a more strategic and thoughtful approach to media will deliver a stronger marketing performance".
And 79% thought that advertiser marketing teams should be primarily responsible for defining the advertiser's strategic approach including the media objectives, operating model and KPIs.
But when asked to score advertiser performance, the survey found that advertisers were failing to meet expectations (a score of three or less on a scale from one to five) in four key areas: setting clear KPIs for media, having a point of view than procurement.
Not surprisingly, advertisers scored themselves higher (7% higher on average) on these issues than their agency counterparts, who were critical of the current state of media knowledge within advertisers.
Tom Denford, Chief Strategy Officer at ID Comms, observed that a widespread lack of knowledge was one reason why many of the best campaigns nearly always come from the same few clients: "they understand media, work more closely with their agency partners, think strategically and see the opportunities faster".
"Brands that treat media as a commodity and a cost will never actually get the best return from their media budgets," he added.
Agencies, meanwhile, were viewed as letting down their clients in six key areas including their ability to provide insight-driven strategic planning, having a culture of innovation, providing thought leadership in media, providing neutral and objective planning recommendations, identifying relevant data fuelled insight and integrating owned, earned and paid media.
"Real strategic leadership on the advertiser side would dramatically improve media performance," Denford stated.
"The fact that advertisers still have gaps and doubts in this area is a real black mark. Advertisers need to play their part in providing agencies with great media briefs and a process that allows them to do great work that adds value."
Data sourced from ID Comms; additional content by Warc staff