Media Is the ‘New Creative,’ Study Says

NEW YORK Media shops have been arguing the case for years. Now, a new study released today at the Association of National Advertisers’ annual conference in Phoenix concurs: Media is the new creative.

Almost 60 percent of participants believe that creative, strategic and media capabilities should be rebundled, although there is no consensus as to which agency “type” should take the lead role in setting brand strategy.

However, most of those surveyed said partnerships between media companies and media agencies would become more important than traditional full-service agency partnerships going forward.

The study, entitled “Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010,” attempts to identify the priorities, capabilities and partnerships that marketers and agencies need to adapt to succeed in the future. The study was undertaken this summer, based on responses from over 250 marketers as well as in-depth interviews with over 75 leading agencies and media company senior executives.

“The impact of new media is changing the way marketers interact, target and distribute their marketing message,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. “As the marketplace shifts to a digital interactive environment, marketing organizations, agencies and media companies need to transform existing marketing agendas and capabilities to succeed.”

The study was co-sponsored by the ANA, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.

According to the study, marketing is becoming less about sending a message to consumers and more about conversing and co-creating experiences.

“Now, consumers not only talk back to marketers and interact with marketing messages, but they also reshape and distribute those messages through global communities,” said Booz Allen principal Andrea Rasmussen. “The mix of media channels has shifted from a one-way broadcast model to a set of dynamic two-way media forums.”

The study found that 80 percent of marketers place high importance on behavioral targeting and that technology enhances consumer insights and targeting capabilities. Additionally, it found that over 80 percent of participants believe that communications planning capabilities will be critical moving forward.

Marketers need to “make your consumers advocates” by understanding user-generated content and how consumers use brands and understand that interactive are no longer ‘niche’ capabilities but part of the requisite skill set, the study concluded.