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Frustrated with agencies, CMOs say bringing media buying in-house is back on the agenda

Frustrated with agencies, CMOs say bringing media buying in-house is back on the agenda
Written by publishing team

With brands getting their marketing back on track after the pandemic, marketers say in-home media takes priority. And they want more help from agencies to make that happen.

A report from digital consultancy firm Kepler made harsh reading for media agencies. It featured more than 150 senior marketers from leading brands across consumer goods, automobiles, retail and finance.

More than half of marketers surveyed cited one of their main challenges as managing and improving relationships with tech platforms like Facebook and Google. However, a third of them do not believe that their media agencies have strong enough relationships with major technology platforms.

For the vast majority of marketers (85%), data optimization, rather than media buying leverage, was the most important factor driving media investment, and 89% said these capabilities will decide which agencies they work with. However, 65% stated that “traditional media agencies do not have the technical expertise their organizations require,” while another 61% said that “media agencies’ talent and operating models are not developing fast enough” to meet their needs.

Two-thirds of marketers (66%) who participated in the study said that “media agencies are lagging behind clients in terms of technology.”

Media inside the residence (if agencies will help)

Against this backdrop of dissatisfaction, marketers are again resorting to housing media buying.

Half of brands (52%) are considering taking on all aspects of their ability to invest in media within the company. The report found that it is larger companies that appear to be more committed to housing, with 63% of marketers from $10 billion+ revenue companies saying they eventually plan to buy all of their media internally.

Bringing media talent from agencies to the brand organization has raised the bar, with nearly 40% of marketers now citing this as one of the challenges they face.

“As a whole, this data indicates a significant move in brands’ priorities away from simple media buying and trading toward more practical challenges of housing and building relationships with technology platforms,” the report said.

The study highlighted the fact that while brands want to move more media buying into the company, they depend on their agencies to help them achieve this and impatience is growing with those who are unwilling to help.

More than half (53%) of marketers in the report said they use “agency to embed their talent within their organizations,” while another 43% use agencies to develop internal media technology.

Currently, most brands have adopted a hybrid approach, with 69% of those surveyed using “a combination of internal media technology and talent as well as external agency support.”

Half (47%) said their media agency partners could improve “learning sharing and consulting” with internal teams, while 43% said their agencies needed to improve “to give a clearer picture of digital media performance.”

More than a third of marketers (37%) surveyed do not feel that their agencies provide technical support to support in-company marketing and media. Meanwhile, a similar percentage (36%) said their agencies “do not provide strategic guidance to help plan ahead”.

Agencies’ reluctance to support brands in their in-housing endeavours may cost them, with many marketers now deciding which agency to work with based on their ability to work well with in-house teams. 78% of respondents said that “a talent and trading model that will flex around our internal operations” was the ability they were looking for in future partners.

“Brands are adopting different media playback models to suit their requirements,” Kelber said. “Our study reinforces the fact that in-residence media investment is a well-established trend and media agencies must quickly adapt their talent mix and business models to keep pace with market needs.”

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