Marketers face a real struggle to recruit in-house buyers as they seek to take greater control of their media, according to a new report from ID Comms looking at the challenges of media trading.
The need for talent has been identified as the biggest obstacle to marketers seeking to expand in-house buying efforts because of the lack of variety and clear career progression in these fields.
Overall, respondents rated accessing the best quality talent to be the most important factor to expanding in house buying. Advertisers on average rated this factor at 2.5 out of 3 (3 being the most important) and agencies at 2.3. Other key factors identified as challenges were measuring success, deciding on technology, keeping on top of innovation and accessing good quality data.
Many brands are also struggling to identify the cost benefits of bringing media buying in-house with a lack of a solid business case and clear models to look at across the industry.
Other fears holding back the move to in-house buying include the difficulty of maintaining competitive tensions of the agency world, staying on top of changing market conditions and keeping up with the latest trends in innovation.
The ID Comms 2018 Global Media Trading Report is based on 130 responses from media, marketing and procurement executives representing brands with a combined global media investment of more than $30bn. Respondents from the agency sector included representatives from all major media agency holding groups as well as key independents.
The report also found that many businesses had shifted their KPIs for trading success away from discounts monitored by traditional media auditing. Business results (17 per cent), financial transparency (15 per cent), brand safety (13 per cent) were rated as the three most important indicators of success in media trading for advertisers.
Of those who ranked business results as the most important, 68 per cent were advertisers and 32 per cent were agency respondents. The biggest distinction between the two groups participants was in their perception of the importance of financial transparency, of those rating financial transparency as the most important indicator, 91 per cent were advertisers and just 9 per cent were agency respondents.
While the research found that most marketers are backing the current trend to focus on quality rather than purely buy on the basis of price, many saw it as more than an either or issue.
So while 88 per cent of all respondents agreed that advertisers who treat media as a quality buy rather than a commodity buy are at an advantage, many advertiser participants, across procurement, media and marketing, consistently commented on the importance of a balance between cost and value rather than prioritising one. Media pricing remains an important factor as advertisers seek to benefit from competitive pricing in their trading strategies.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the media buy dictating the plan and 10 being the plan dictating the buy, procurement respondents narrowly believe the media buy dictates the plan (5.3). However, marketing respondents (3.3) believe the media plan dictates the buy. Publisher respondents were more cynical, averaging a score of 7.3 in favour of the buy dictating the plan. This wide spread of responses demonstrates the inconsistent priorities within the industry, some focusing on quality and some on cost. The majority of respondents responded neutrally, indicating the balance between cost and quality is of critical importance.
“Moving buying in-house is not a simple process and the truth is that there are many questions that those brands that take this step will have to answer. The biggest of these will be how they attract the talent they need to ensure they have access to the best tools and smartest trading strategies,” said Susy Pyzer-Knapp, Consultant at ID Comms.
Seventy-one per cent of participants agree or strongly that traditional media auditing is a critical component of good media governance. However, 58 per cent disagree or strongly disagree that it is fit for purpose in an age of digital auction-based media buying. This sentiment of auditing being critical in the transparency and trust but in need of improvement spans across all participant groups.