When Marketers Go Off the AOR Grid: Navigating the New Normal

By Guest 

This is a guest post by Jillian Gibbs, founder and global CEO at Advertising Production Resources (APR).

A survey last year by the World Federation of Advertisers revealed that two-thirds of the respondents have decoupled production in some way: taking over the bidding process, directly hiring and paying vendors (like production companies), and/or outsourcing the management of the entire process to a third party other than the AOR.

The marketers who are taking on more control have brought creative in-house, hired on-staff production managers, and brought on internal digital production teams. Additionally, the nuts and bolts of production are moving out of the hands of agencies, in addition to trafficking, business affairs, and music licensing.

What is causing this dramatic shift? Why are marketers absorbing the labor-intensive aspects of production responsibilities instead of relying on the traditional agency model?

The pace of change is more than any one-stop-shop or AOR can handle.

Advertisers want the opportunity to work with the right creative partner for the best work. They also need options for content creation automation to reduce the layers of approvals so that they can be more responsive and work in real-time.

The challenges of this chaotic environment cannot be overstated. With tighter budgets and the escalating need for cost transparency, numerous alternative production models have emerged to fill in the gaps.

So, how can marketers navigate and optimize this new and complex normal? Where are the opportunities and what does the new AOR relationship look like?

Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Marketers need a content production strategy to pull together all of the disparate production parts, whether it is done in-house, through agencies, production companies directly, with media platforms or wherever.

The challenge is the silo approach to content production which remains prevalent and forms a disconnected environment riddled with miscommunication, waste, and ineffective cross-channel messaging.

Change management will be key to our future success. As members of this industry, it is our collective role to evolve the eco-system, introduce new approaches and processes, and solve how the marketer manages, operates, and orchestrates their production network.

There is room for everyone to contribute high-quality creative that reaches the right audience at the right time.

We need to eliminate waste, leverage talent and production partners, and ensure the marketer has the agility and platform to work with the right creative resources for the right type of work.

There is space for innovation using blockchain, automated tools, and redesigning the ways of working.

The new normal is here, and we shouldn’t fear it. Agencies and everyone else in the industry should have a role to play in ensuring that marketers and their brands are successful at enhanced communication with improved efficiency.  We need to be open to change, and embrace our new role in supporting marketers on a more progressive way of creating all content.