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When I launched my media and marketing consultancy Aperto One in autumn 2016, I wrote an article for Campaign entitled "Media agencies must face up to trust issue".
I asked if the agency commercial model was broken and what needed to happen to move it on.
I had spent 15 years in agencies and knew that there was an opportunity – and an imperative – for advertisers to create positive change, by introducing smarter ways of working and to correct legacy behaviours.
My view is that all parties need to take responsibility: the advertiser, the agencies, the consultants and indeed the media owners.
Have we made progress?
Much has been discussed, a lot has been debated and in pockets, we are seeing change, but we still have so much to do.
Aperto One’s first year of business has been surprising but fascinating. We have been fortunate to have worked with truly progressive marketers and we quickly learned that to enable genuine change, we had to do doing things quite differently and that required significant energy, persuasion and selling to everyone.
Building trust has been essential. Our primary advantage was described by one client simply as "we had not let anyone down yet".
By this, they meant that we had not described the new type of partnership but then delivered the old. Too many are guilty of talking about next-generation solutions but then quickly regressing to legacy ways because it is easier.
Still a blockage
There is still a blockage to change at scale. Agency holding groups are not solely responsible for holding things up. Most are now able to radically change course and remove many of the well-documented behaviours. Some already have.
However, this change can only take place if, in return, advertisers who want to see progress are committed to taking more responsibility, seeking knowledge and really understanding what they are trying to build.
Better frameworks to value media and the work partners must be developed.
Media is not a commodity and agencies as service providers are not just another supplier.
Put simply, marketers must spend more time understanding the role of media in their business and secondly look again at the commercial model it has in place with its agency of choice.
Here are some of the blockages to progress that advertisers and their partners need to address:
Blockage 1: Advertiser – do you have the commercial model wrong?
What does the wrong media agency commercial model look like? An advertiser should revaluate their agency commercial model if: