GLOBAL: Leading global advertisers are prepared to re-think their organisation’s approach to media as the complexity of that environment increases, according to a new study.

A white paper from the World Federation of Advertisers, based on a survey of 71 individuals at 54 member companies representing global ad spend of more than US$90bn, reported that the most common approach to media management is via dedicated media ‘generalists’.

That is the preferred approach at global HQ level (65% of respondents) and region/zone (44%); at the local level, however, there is less likely to be any dedicated media resource, with marketers are more likely to simply allocate part of their time to media (74%).

But the study said that ‘specialists’ can now be found at global HQ for almost half of respondents; and 87% agreed (41% strongly agreed) that “as the complexity of media increases, more specialists (programmatic managers in particular), will be required”.

In addition, procurement is highly engaged in global media, with 59% of businesses having procurement specialists with media as a remit.

The research, said the WFA, “clearly identifies a will to re-think internal organisational structures for media, while addressing resource challenges, especially as they relate to data and technology”.

When it looked at the particular roles played by ‘specialist’ media resources, it found that e-commerce roles were prevalent: over half of respondents (53%) had these people at global/HQ level dealing with online marketplaces, and more than a quarter had them on a regional level and on a market-by-market basis.

Data analysts were also common at a global level (54%), but less so at regional and market level.

Programmatic specialists were rarer, relatively speaking, with almost two fifths of respondents (37%) having people fulfilling this role globally.

But it is this last area that shows the strongest signs of future growth, as the white paper reported that 21% of respondents were planning to hire someone into this position within the next couple of years.

Another focus for WFA companies will be to bring media budgets under greater central control as they seek to capture economies of scale; 88% of respondents reported that ‘all’ or ‘most’ of media budgets are currently controlled by local markets.

Despite the extent of internal ‘media transformation’ taking place, the study did not see any great appetite to bring more planning and/or activation in-house.

Sourced from WFA; additional content by WARC staff