Media transformation may have sped up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but new research shows agency models are lagging behind their clients’ expectations.

The gap between expectations and delivery looks set to shake up the way media agencies work in 2021.

Media advisors MediaSense, in partnership with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), questioned more than 100 global CMOs and marketing directors to produce the Media 2020 report.

They found that, while 65% of CMOs and directors believe they have the vision and leadership for media transformation, only a minority felt they were properly equipped in specialist areas. Just 35% felt they had an adequate grasp of “technology and systems”, only 38% in “ways of working”, and 48% said they felt properly equipped in “people and skills”.

Researchers found that for some brands (30%), COVID-19 has provided a catalyst to accelerate media transformation, moving towards more integrated and consumer-centric ways of working; 45% of brands say they are pushing ahead, and only 25% say they have stopped initiatives all together, or have put them on hold.

Previous MediaSense research has found a clear correlation between media transformation and agency model redesign. Given that 57% of respondents now say their agency model is “hindering their own transformational progress”, the report’s authors suggest that 2021 is likely to see a significant upheaval in the media agency market.

When agencies do get it right, there is clear evidence their contribution is highly valued.

Brands are frustrated, they say, by agencies’ old business models, rigid processes and opaque tools, all of which are hampering progress rather than enabling it.

On the other hand, when agencies do get it right, there is clear evidence their contribution is highly valued – 66% of respondents, for example, said that when an agency leverages data effectively, it has a positive effect on performance.

The report’s authors point out, however, that much more progress needs to made by brands and advisors. While brands “are continuing on their journey of change”, still over half (52%) believe they are behind target, with the single biggest reason for this, cited by 54% of respondents, being organisational structure.

Ryan Kangisser, Managing Partner, Strategy at MediaSense commented, “As brands become more self-sufficient and agile in how they operate, they are looking to their agencies to complement more closely their model and provide the supplementary capabilities which help them to deliver growth. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, this desire will only grow stronger.”

Sourced from MediaSense