Is media’s evolution bringing more capability in-house?
US brands such as Nationwide, Target, P&G and American Eagle are all looking at the issue of media seriously and investing in in-house trading desks as a result.
Panellists agreed this could also be seen across both Unilever and Telstra, through their own trading desk investments. Fellow panellist, PHD Australia CEO Mark Coad, noted several of its local clients working under a hybrid model.
While there are legitimate reasons to do this – such as data sensitivity – Coad sounded a note of caution about all brands trying to invest in these capabilities internally.
“I hold the view that programmatic capability is going to form the heart of the future agency. That ability to use artificial intelligence and automation to serve the right message and right time. That’s where it’s going,” he said.
“But in a world not too far from now, the competitive advantage for our clients is going to be getting that right message to the consumer at the right time…your speed to market will be your biggest competitive advantage. If that’s the case, you better have the best people and the best technology. You might save money in the next few years going down this path, but I think there’s a longer-term piece missing from this right now.”
Unilever head of media and PR Annelise Douglass agreed programmatic investment internally isn’t as simple as data protection or control. “A lot of companies in Australia don’t have that stretch to do this. And year one from a programmatic perspective is the best year from a P&L perspective, but years two and three are often the hardest to return a profit. There are whole heap of questions that need to be asked here,” she said.
Telstra executive director Jeremy Nicholson noted Telstra’s hybrid model on the trading desk as well as creative.
“The benefit we see in a hybrid model is we’re a huge data-driven company as it is, with huge amounts of data and security. But we do need the outside perspective…working on the trading desks or in an advisory role, in order to provide that tension,” he said.
“We really run on the idea that no one knows the business like the people working inside it, but we need that to collide with outside thinking, because no one knows your industry better than those sitting outside it.”