It was while studying the insightful pages of a World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) report back in 2017 that the concept of 'Media Transformation' first caught my eye. The report, a beacon for the industry's forward-thinkers, revealed a significant trend among its members: a focused shift towards internal media transformation. It spoke of a growing need for enhanced capabilities, training, and skills, alongside a robust integration of data and technology at the heart of client-side media transformation programs.
In my opinion, this pivotal document underscored the need for a new suite of services designed to shepherd advertisers through a transformative journey. Abintus, our media consultancy, whose name resonates with the essence of transformation — 'from within' in the language of ancient Rome — was the pioneer in this new frontier. Since our creation in 2018, we have been at the forefront of developing a media transformation program that is both comprehensive and effective.
Now, five years into our journey, we have refined our approach through rigorous testing and learning, ensuring that our program delivers unparalleled outcomes for our clients. The goal is clear: to achieve maximum Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS). Media transformation, as we have crafted it, is a holistic, purpose-driven model that integrates all aspects of advertising effectiveness, ensuring that every campaign is not just a cost but a strategic investment.
What is a Media Transformation Program?
A Media Transformation Program is a strategic blueprint for revolutionising an organisation's approach to media. It's a thorough reimagining of how media budgets are allocated, how campaigns are planned and executed, and how results are measured and analysed.
This program isn't just about internal processes; it's about fostering a symbiotic relationship with media agency partners to ensure that the entire media ecosystem operates with precision, efficiency, and transparency.
What Are The Key Phases Involved?
Our media transformation program typically encompasses multiple services, including holistic media auditing, media agency pitch management, media management re-engineering, media performance tracking, and media management training. Each service has a specific purpose and is designed to work in harmony with the others to achieve optimal results.
1. THE 'IDENTIFY' PHASE (using Holistic Media Auditing)
Holistic Media Auditing is a fundamental component of our media transformation program and sets it apart from traditional media auditing services. Unlike traditional media auditing, which often focuses solely on media agencies using pool benchmarking, financial and contractual aspects of media buying, Holistic Media Auditing takes a comprehensive and strategic approach to evaluate and optimise all aspects of an advertiser's media ecosystem.
Choosing the right media audit service is akin to a medical diagnosis; it requires a holistic approach for accurate results. Imagine you're a doctor diagnosing a patient. Would you only check the heart and ignore the lungs? Of course not. You'd conduct a full examination to get a complete picture of the patient's health. The same principle applies to media auditing.
Opting for just one or two media audit services is like diagnosing part of the problem but ignoring the rest. It's a piecemeal approach that could leave you with an incomplete understanding of your media performance. The correct answer is to use all of them at once, known as the Holistic Media Audit.
This comprehensive approach ensures that you don't miss identifying your pain points and finding the correct solutions to resolve them. It's the equivalent of a full medical check-up for your media investments, offering a 360-degree view that leaves no stone unturned. By embracing a Holistic Media Audit, you're not just solving for the immediate issues but setting the stage for long-term media health and effectiveness.
2. THE 'IMPROVE' PHASE (using Media Agency Pitch Management)
Media Agency Pitch Management is another critical element of our media transformation program that aims to improve advertisers contractual terms and conditions. If significant shortcomings are identified in our client's media performance, the logical next step is to conduct a media agency pitch. This allows us to leverage the pitch process and negotiate the best possible terms and conditions for future years. It's important to note that a media agency pitch doesn't necessarily mean changing the agency itself, but rather ensuring an improved media agency contract with competitive terms and conditions.
We developed a structured and strategic approach to managing the agency selection process, using our proprietary 6-step approach. Media agency pitch management ensures that advertisers have a transparent and rigorous process in place to select agencies that are best aligned with their media strategy, goals, and values.
3. THE 'RE-ENGINEER' PHASE (using Media Management Re-engineering)
We strongly believe that effective media management requires collaboration and cooperation. Therefore, it is crucial for us to provide our clients with the necessary tools and processes to efficiently manage their media internally. This is where Media Management Re-engineering comes into play. Its primary goal is to optimise an advertiser's existing media management processes and practices by implementing strategic internal changes that enhance overall effectiveness.
Media management re-engineering may include streamlining workflows, optimising media planning and buying processes, implementing new tools or technologies, and aligning teams and roles for better collaboration.
The benefits of media management re-engineering are numerous, including increased operational efficiency, reduced costs, enhanced agility and flexibility, improved media performance, and better overall control and governance of media investments.
4. THE 'MONITOR & OPTIMISE' PHASE (using Media Performance Tracking)
Media Performance Tracking involves collecting and analysing raw media data from multiple markets, cleansing and organising the data, and utilising interactive dashboards and tools for monitoring and analysing media performance.
The media data can then be merged with additional datasets, such as media plans, post-campaign reports, media agency invoices, agency commitments, agency PRF scheme, competitors' data, and sales data. This empowers our clients with complete transparency, full accountability, and the means to optimise their media performance in near real-time, all at their fingertips, across multiple brands and multiple markets.
Media performance tracking allows advertisers to gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their media investments, understand their competitors media strategies, measure the impact of their advertising efforts, and make data-driven decisions for optimising media strategies.
It's critical to consider that while media agencies can offer a similar media performance tracking solution, the lack of independence may raise questions about impartiality and accuracy in reporting. After all, these agencies are effectively grading their own homework, which may lead to a potential bias in the evaluation of their performance.
This is where an independent consultancy such as ours truly shines. We provide a trustworthy, unbiased, and comprehensive view of media performance. Additionally, our solution captures media inventory purchased directly by the advertisers, providing a more holistic understanding of the media landscape. Thus, working with an independent consultancy alleviates any concerns about trust and accuracy, ensuring advertisers can make informed decisions based on impartial and comprehensive insights.
5. THE 'TRAINING & SUPPORT' PHASE (using Media Management Training)
Media Management Training focuses on building the skills and capabilities of advertisers and their marketing, procurement and media teams. Through a online training platform (Abintus Academy), advertisers can enhance their understanding of media management best practices, stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies, and develop strategic thinking and decision-making skills.
By investing in media management training, advertisers can strengthen their media management capabilities, drive better results from their media investments, and achieve long-term success in the ever-evolving advertising landscape.
How Long Does a Media Transformation Take?
Embarking on a media transformation journey is akin to commissioning a bespoke Rolls Royce — it's a process that cannot be rushed if the outcome is to be nothing less than extraordinary.
The timeline for a media transformation can vary depending on the scale and scope of the undertaking. For a full transformation at the local level, one can anticipate a period of up to 12 months. However, when we scale this transformation to a global, multi-market level, the process can extend up to 24 months.
This meticulous timeframe is essential to ensure that every aspect of the media transformation is executed to perfection. At the culmination of this period, our clients are equipped with what can only be described as the Rolls Royce of effective media management. They possess a media savvy team, a best-in-class contract with their preferred media agency, and a suite of tools designed to optimise their Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) moving forward.
Media transformation is a powerful approach to minimise media wastage, maximise ROAS and drive advertising success. Its integrated and purpose-driven nature allows for a comprehensive and strategic approach to media management, addressing key challenges such as media transparency, accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The impact of this transformation program on our clients is remarkable. It involves a thorough and extensive overhaul that leaves no aspect untouched, guaranteeing complete transparency and accountability in media management. We firmly believe that a comprehensive and effective media transformation program is the key to achieving long-lasting and significant results.
Our approach is truly innovative, offering a different perspective to address a common challenge, but one that delivers lasting outcomes. The tools and processes we implement are not off-the-shelf solutions; they are bespoke, tailored to the unique needs of your business. Your teams will be empowered with the resources and expertise to maintain this high level of media management for years to come.
If the prospect of such a transformation excites you, we invite you to delve deeper into the Abintus Media Transformation Program. Please reach out to us or schedule a consultation. We are eager to discuss how we can illuminate the path to media excellence for your organisation. The choice is in your hands. What do you stand to lose by discovering how it works?
Author Expertise and Experience:
Philippe Dominois is co-founder and CEO of Abintus Consulting, and Head Coach at the Abintus Academy. He has over 25 years of international media experience, having worked on the media agency side, client side, and media auditing side throughout his career. Philippe has authored hundreds of articles over the years that focus on media management best practices.
Media Auditing Guide: Click Here
Media Agency Pitch Management Guide: Click Here