As 2020 begins to draw to a close, this week we asked our CEO Michael Ungerboeck to share his views on how Brands and Marketers have actively sought to review their Media Marketing activities. Many agencies in the industry have observed a significant increase in the number of brands who have reviewed their Media Agency partners in particular. Michael spoke recently with partners about 3 different groups of brands who have been in market for new agencies.

Group 1: the Brands caught with their Digital pants down

When the effects of the pandemic first hit the Australian and New Zealand markets, marketers hit the panic button and almost immediately paused most activity. Intuitively this didn’t make a lot of sense other than to give businesses some breathing space, in order to digest what was unfolding in the economy. By May/June ADMATIC was already receiving an unprecedented number of inquiries about marketing in the digital world.

On the face of it too many brands seemed to be on a long slow ‘digital transformation’ journey, but when hit with a pandemic they quickly realised that their slow approach to adopting digital marketing was going to come home to roost. Many of our pre-COVID clients were well placed to hit the challenges head on and so they took full advantage of the evolving opportunities. Many of our e-Commerce and Digital clients saw growth of up to 400%. By late June ADMATIC had received more inquiries in 6 months that we had received in 1 year, since foundation.

Group 2: the Brands who simply didn’t understand their Customers

The second grouping of opportunities fell into a category of those who simply didn’t have enough information about their customer. Some of these inquiries were sometimes a little confused and seemed to somehow not know what they were asking for. On closer review it was clear that this cluster of opportunities reflected a market that simply didn’t have access to the plethora of data available on their target audiences or target market. What was worse was that many of these brands didn’t have a robust enough understanding of their very own customer, their communications journey, or of their digital footprint.

ADMATICians take great pride in understanding the customer, their presence in the market, and to form an understanding of the consumer journey. It is critical to understand the customer journey completely before contemplating a communications or channel strategy. Unfortunately too many inquiries that came in were centred around the media preferences and capabilities of the agency working on those campaigns. ADMATICians will always make a great effort to understand the journey and take an omni-channel view of the world. When it comes to activations our campaigns are very much data fuelled and technology agnostic enabled. Many of the new client opportunities sought to understand their consumers better and then sought to communicate with those audiences in a smarter way.

Group 3: their Agency is still so Big and Traditional

The third main grouping was more straight forward, in that there were a number of brands who reconsidered their long standing relationships with larger agencies, focussed on old school media plans and from those who lacked sufficient innovation. From what we’ve observed there’s no doubt that many brands were starting to realise not only greater value and transparency in the independent model, but also saw greater levels of effort and innovation.

As brands were hit with the pandemic there seemed an immediate need for a review of marketing efforts, based on CEOs and CMOs asking questions about long standing agency relationships. As we were asked to review briefs and consult on data/media strategies, we found in many cases insufficient reasoning behind media plans that hadn’t changed for years, and that there was an unhealthy obsession with opaque Traditional media buys. Brands were asking questions to which their incumbent partner couldn’t provide answers.

Opportunity was the Key in 2020

Ultimately when faced with a completely unscripted crisis marketers hit the panic button. Rightly so, they asked many questions of their marketing needs and of their agency partners.  In most cases, whether they chose to work with ADMATIC or not, we feel that most marketers will be better placed for the experience in 2021. The 2020 year presented an opportunity to review. ADMATIC experienced a record number of new client appointments and we continue to see that growth going into next year.

Brand marketers have been bruised and battered but we think that they will come through stronger and better off for the experience in 2021.