Adweek Media Survey

What advantages does your media service provide versus a full-service agency?

Better Strategy/Approach: 34%
Higher Expertise/Better Resource: 19%
Better Access to Information: 7%
Buying Clout: 3%
Independent of Full-Service Agency: 3%
Miscellaneous Answers: 18%
No Answer: 29%

Although most major advertisers continue to think of their general advertising agency as their media resource, the survey findings indicate that stand-alone media specialists have become part of the marketing mainstream. More than 80 percent of respondents in the study work with some form of specialized resource.

By far, advertisers who work with a media service cite “better strategy and approach” as the primary advantages to unbundling (34 percent). In a distant second place is a “higher level of expertise/better resource” at 19 percent.

The days when media services could attract prospects by promoting their buying clout are gone, however. Just 3 percent of respondents note “buying clout” as the primary advantage to working with a media service—the same percentage that lists “independent of full-service agency” as the primary advantage to working with a media agency.

One of the most compelling findings from this question, however, is that almost three out of every 10 advertisers still don’t really know what to make of a media service. The survey finds that 29 percent of respondents give a “no answer” response to the query about what makes a media service more advantageous than a bundled media department. This uncertainty is underscored by the number of respondents who give “miscellaneous answers” to this question—18 percent.

The unbundled concept may yet be too new for a consensus to be reached about its advantages. Successful advertisers may also be reluctant to abandon the conventional wisdoms upon which they’ve based their media decisions.

The Morgan Anderson perspective is “major advertisers continue to see their general advertising agencies also as their media resource, but these numbers suggest that the day of the stand-alone media agency has arrived—whether it is an affiliate of a general advertising agency or on its own. The level of “no answer” responses suggests that this area continues to be in a state of flux.”