Tom Denford and David Indo from ID Comms: who are the world’s best CMOs?

On this week’s #MediaSnack Tom and David celebrate an epic list of the 50 Most Innovative CMOs In The World written by Lara O’Reilly at Business Insider. Tom was part of the small advisory board that helped identify the world’s marketing leaders alongside Wendy Clark the CEO of DDB and Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

Business Insider segmented the world’s marketing leaders into four interesting categories; The Connectors, The Rebels, The Integrators and The Storytellers. It is interesting to note the mix of old and new, notably that the CMOs of Google and Netflix take the top two positions.

Tom and David note that the word ‘media’ appears 25 times across the 50 profiles, whilst the word ‘advertising’ appears only 17 times. Is this an indication of the shifting focus, reflecting the fact that CMOs need to take a more pro-active interest in media?

Next, they look at a Dominic Mills blog, which lifts the lid on an apparently highly secretive plan by Dentsu-Aegis Network to launch a digital media buying (or is it audience selling) platform based on a non-disclosed media buying model where advertisers have no right to audit media prices.

These buying methods, which already exist in most of the other agency groups, are regarded as delivering particularly healthy profit margins by allowing the agency to mark-up media inventory in opaque ways.

They operate as ‘Principal-based buying’, that is the agency buying and then selling on the media opportunity to the advertiser (see here for more explanation on PBB). The (perfectly valid) argument in support of this approach is that in not disclosing the price paid, that the agency can negotiate lower media prices. Some advertisers love this approach, getting more for less always sounds like a good idea, while many other brands can’t tolerate the lack of transparency.

Finally, they look at the noise surrounding ‘the future media agency model.’ Tom and David argue that the blueprint for a media agency will be defined by the marketer, typically based on a narrative and vision set by the CMO.

This is one of the reasons why the Business Insider Top CMOs list is so important. It is the marketing ambition and vision of these executives that will determine the role for media, how brands will invest in connecting with customers and therefore what will be required from the media agency landscape.

Some of that vision is currently taking shape in pitch briefs for 2017. Many brands are following best practice in preparation for media agency pitches by really defining the blueprint for a new agency model and ensuring a well-organised, accountable and transparent process.

By the end of 2017, Tom and David argue that we will see a very different media agency model taking shape, driven by a high volume of pitches demanding a different approach of media agencies. This will change the shape and design of the media agency model. Only the most agile, forward thinking and those willing to listen to advertiser needs will win in 2017 and beyond.

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