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Tom Denford and David Indo from ID Comms: the media pitch that never was…

On this week’s episode of #MediaSnack Tom and David discuss the value of Cannes and review the most bizarre media pitch that they have ever seen.

They start off by sharing some observations from their trip to the Cannes Lions, also known as the Festival of Creativity.

Every year, pretty much the entire global advertising industry travels to the south of France to celebrate but, actually, it’s a good place to meet a lot of clients, outside of the office environment and have some really interesting conversations.

David points out that it was very rare that there were any conversations about pitches or about agency structures. Most of the conversations, he says, reflected each client’s internal operational requirements: “How should they look to design their own internal structures and ways of working to get the most out of media.”

Tom and David argue that these conversations, in one way or another, have been provoked by last year’s ANA report, which encouraged marketers to take control.

And that’s exactly what’s happening because those are the questions being asked by CMOs, Marketing/ Media Directors responsible for media investments. They realise that it’s not a question of changing the scope of the agency immediately nor about changing agencies/running pitches. They are now focused on the internal operating model and ways of working around media.

And that’s where the biggest challenge of all lies, because smart marketers are also considering how to organise themselves better to get the most out of media. They are thinking about ways of taking greater control before thinking about agency rosters. The most important question is: “How should we be operating and where do we start?”

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Tom and David argue that marketers have to understand the strengths and weakness of their current operating structure and the way that they manage media now. This will help them to identify both the easy wins and the greater opportunities for improvement. Whatever the structure/framework you have, you need to understand where you currently stand, identify they key areas for improvement and then develop a roadmap.

Only then can they can go to market and identify the right marketing services and agency solutions but getting that structure properly designed internally is vital.

Despite this, we still see advertisers who launch media reviews driven by an opportunity to save money solely and without necessarily strategic ambition. The recent pitch by Sainsbury’s, a UK large supermarket/retail/grocer is a good example.

Sainsbury’s has now reversed their decision and will no longer be working with m/SIX (the agency that won the account in Q1). Instead they will be going back to PHD, the incumbent agency that had the account for over 20 years.

Tom and David suggest that, perhaps, due to the recent purchase of the Home Retail Group, Sainsbury’s wanted to immediately realise some synergy savings.

It is a common situation, which we see a lot when big mergers happen. We often decline such projects because we know it’s going to become a race to the bottom on cost without defined strategic ambition.

In the last few years we’ve just seen a whole number of these where the internal operating model, the structure, the actual requirements of a media agency, have not been defined at all. Our approach is always to go back to the client and offer to help them get their own internal house in order.

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If you’re going to pitch media, prepare, get some advice, do it properly and involve your stakeholders throughout the business.

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