LONDON: A rapidly evolving media ecosystem has now reached "peak complexity" and CMOs' priorities have shifted accordingly, with control over customer strategy and data, organisational integration, and brand safety the focus for 2020, according to a new report.

Media2020: Refresh, an update on a 2015 report from media advisory firm MediaSense and UK advertiser trade body ISBA, used a blend of qualitative and quantitative, with more than 250 senior marketers across a range of industry sectors taking part in interviews and an online survey to understand how marketers' attitudes are changing and to identify emerging trends.

The latest report revealed that every organisation has been re-organising into a more data-driven and customer-centric business with all interviewees acknowledging that organising resources around customers also means owning customer strategy and customer data.

Over three quarters of respondents (78%) rated data analytics and data insights as a critical media capability (vs. 67% in 2015) and over half (54%) now see data management as an in-house capability (vs. 42% in 2015).

To meet the demands of this more data-driven, customer-centric marketing approach, all participants recognised that a more "agile" internal and external operating model is required, with integration becoming an increasingly important expectation.

Agencies and specialists will need to remain very nimble as 62% of marketers (up from 58% in 2015) expected to use fewer agencies by 2020, with 67% stating they will be actively looking to re-organise their agency operating model.

When respondents were asked what aspect of the media industry they would like to fix, "transparency" was the most commonly raised topic (by 47%). When asked what was keeping them awake, however, nearly a quarter (24%) cited "brand safety" as the main cause of concern, versus just 5% who cited "transparency".

Close behind "brand safety" came measurement (23%). Most interviewees felt there had been little or no progress in industry measurement standards since the 2015 report and the majority (70%) believed measurement currencies are no longer fit for purpose.

"Agility of development and deployment will be key attributes for 2020 operating models," said Graham Brown, co-founder of MediaSense. "Since the media ecosystem has now reached peak complexity, we will start to see greater consolidation, integration and simplification."

"What is clear is the need for recalibration of the relationships brands have with their agencies, with media owners and in particular the big digital/tech platforms," added Phil Smith, ISBA Director General.

Data sourced from MediaSense; additional content by WARC staff