We’ve gathered and analysed trends, category intel and industry best-practice to help you make accurate and confident decisions as you build marketing strategies.
Marketing – the growth engine of your business
The role of marketing is to generate demand, and so, more than any other business function, marketing acts as a growth engine. With advances in technology, the role of today’s marketer has become increasingly complex spanning a vast range of platforms as responsibilities encompass data management, business development, distribution channel management and customer service.
The most successful marketers are big picture thinkers who intimately understand their customer and are adept at thinking creatively as well as strategically.
Selecting the right CMO for your business has the potential to dramatically increase revenue by stimulating sales. Therefore, the decision is one of the most important a business will make.
The media landscape
Compared to markets such as the US and UK, what Australia’s media lacks in size, it makes up for in complexity. The television market alone consists of 19 free-to-air and 105 subscription channels in addition to Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) platforms including 7Plus, 9Now, 10 Play and Foxtel Now. The news media sector is equally complex with hundreds of titles spanning both print and digital. Beyond news, Australian publishers offer a broad range of entertainment and lifestyle content. There’s also the channels of radio and magazines to consider.
In addition to Australian-owned and led media offerings, businesses also have the opportunity to work with global media companies when planning their marketing activities. While these channels may look attractive, it is worth sense checking research released by them to ensure you’re getting the most value from your marketing dollar. They may have mastered the art of promoting their advertising offerings, but often the evidence behind these claims is insufficient or confusing.
Given all of the above, media has much to offer in terms of business impact if the choice is the right one. Deciding which channels to advertise in requires in-depth knowledge of the ever-changing landscape as well as the differences between the various platforms. There’s also a knack to combining channels to achieve desired business outcomes. Couple this with the constant innovation in the sector and even veteran followers of the industry can be hard-pressed to stay informed. And that’s where we can help.
Category intelligence & challenges
When it comes to marketing and media selection, businesses have differing media requirements unique to the sector they operate in. Marketing-based decisions in various categories are also influenced by the challenges each sector faces. For example, in the wake of the royal commission into banking, and with the looming onset of open banking, the finance category continues to battle challenges around trust while being beset by disruption; following the impact of COVID-19, Australia’s retail sector has a long road to recovery while also grappling with new digital competitors as shoppers increasingly turn to online offerings over bricks and mortar stores; similarly, the travel sector has months of work ahead to regain ground with international travel numbers unlikely to be restored until well into 2021. For businesses operating in these and other sectors, the decision of which media channels to invest in is mission-critical and needs to be made with evidence-based arguments.
Working with agencies
Given the complex nature of the media landscape, many businesses opt to engage agencies to manage aspects of their communications. While creative agencies handle the creative ideation and execution of campaigns, media agencies oversee the selection of channels for campaigns to run in. A number of agencies offer a full-service approach and manage both. Selecting an agency to work with requires due diligence to ensure the organisation can meet your business needs.
Test and learn
With a plethora of marketing options available to businesses, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stick to what you have always done. By doing this, however, your business may be missing out on opportunities to improve both the effectiveness and the efficiency of its investment.
Taking a test-and-learn approach is one way to explore new ways of approaching your media investment. The approach offers decision-makers a way to understand the value of media spend and, when done well, can accurately assess how different marketing activities contribute to the bottom line.
Many major organisations are already applying test-and-learn principles. Reportedly, Amazon conducts hundreds of tests each month to refine its marketing and product offerings. Closer to home, insurance business IAG created a two-year plan to test the value of short- and long-term marketing by selecting one region and running only brand-building activities there for 24 months.
For businesses yet to dip their toe in the water, we suggest they start small. Allocate 70% of your budget to business-as-usual, 20% to media channels that have recently moved to the mainstream or are on the verge of doing so and 10% to untested methods.
Rather than treating media as set-and-forget, adopting a test-and-learn approach requires monitoring how each investment is performing and tweaking accordingly. Although be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly. Research shows that longer evaluation periods are required to truly gauge performance over time.
Media transparency and auditing
The media industry has undergone much change since 2017 when Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard called out the “murkiness” of media deals. His comments put transparency firmly on the agenda and led to changes in the way agencies and publishers manage their media dealings.
However, with the continued emergence of new platforms and technologies, achieving transparency in media has undoubtedly become more complex. Case in point: findings from PwC UK that 15% of media spend allocated to programmatically traded advertising is being lost to an “unknown delta”. In channels such as these, it is increasingly difficult for businesses to have complete visibility of where and how their advertising dollar is being spent.
This lack of visibility often leads businesses to conduct media audits. When seeking to determine how the cost of media stacks up compared to industry benchmarks, benchmark auditing will quickly generate a view of whether a financially adequate service has been delivered in return for the investment.
In light of these challenges, many businesses opt to deal with media channels that can demonstrate transparency through independently verified, third-party measurement.
Regulation of the media industry
The Australian media industry is regulated by government agencies including the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Currently, the ACCC is overseeing several inquiries that impact the local market:
Digital Platform Services Inquiry
In February 2020, the Australian Government directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into the supply of digital platform services.
Services covered include internet search engine services, social media services, online private messaging services, digital content aggregation platform services, media referral services and electronic marketplace services. The direction also covers digital advertising services supplied by digital platform service providers and the data practices of both digital platform service providers and data brokers.
Matters to be considered by the inquiry include:
the intensity of competition in markets for the supply of digital platform services, with particular regard to the concentration of power, the behaviour of suppliers, mergers and acquisitions, barriers to entry or expansion and changes in the range of services offered by suppliers of digital platform services
practices of suppliers in digital platform services markets which may result in consumer harm
market trends that may affect the nature and characteristics of digital platform services
developments in markets for the supply of digital platform services outside Australia.
An interim report on the inquiry is due in September 2020 and then further interim reports every six months until the inquiry concludes with a final report to be provided to the Government by March 2025. For more information visit the ACCC website here.
Digital Advertising Services Inquiry
Launched in February 2020, the Digital Advertising Services Inquiry is exploring the competitiveness and efficiency of markets for the supply of digital advertising technology services and digital advertising agency services.
Matters to be considered by the inquiry include, but are not limited to:
the competitiveness and efficiency of markets for the supply of digital advertising technology services and digital advertising agency services
the availability to advertisers, publishers and other market participants of information on activities in those markets
the concentration of power in those markets
auction and bidding processes
the impact of mergers and acquisitions in those markets
the behaviour of suppliers in those markets
whether the corporate structures of suppliers or contractual arrangements between suppliers and customers have a negative effect on competition or informed decision making in those markets
the distribution of digital display advertising expenditure between publishers, digital advertising technology services providers and advertising agencies
how competition in those markets impacts on competition in the market for the supply of digital display advertising services.
The ACCC is due to deliver an interim report to the Government by December 2020 and provide a final report by August 2021. For more information visit the ACCC website here.
News Media Bargaining Code
In April 2020, the Australian Government directed the ACCC to develop a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook. A draft mandatory code is to be released for public consultation before the end of July 2020, with a final code to be settled soon thereafter. For more information visit the ACCC website here.