What are the biggest challenges facing agencies today? How is the media planning and buying process evolving, and how can sellers help that process along?
To answer these existential questions, we sat down for a series of interviews with agency changemakers. Up now: Jake Marx, Global Head of Partnerships, Stagwell Media Network.
For Marx, a lot of these questions harken back to the initial proliferation of cable networks—the original source of audience fragmentation. The industry managed to adapt to that new normal, and he’s confident that technology will get us where we need to be. For years now, the industry has been talking about ways to measure and target audiences; conversations have revolved around agreeing on a new currency, but now, “there are real and tangible products and solutions in the marketplace,” Marx says.
The mere existence of these solutions isn’t enough to move the industry forward, though: The real work starts with education.
“We’re making sure everybody—not just on the agency side, but even our clients—are educated and have a firm understanding of the complex landscape and how these continuous changes are affecting how we plan, how we buy and really how we measure audiences, and their impact on the business.”
Events like the NewFronts are important parts of this continuous education. “There are a lot of really good, different and unique opportunities out there that are a little bit past the TV networks,” Marx says. “That's one of the great parts about the NewFronts, is all of these different companies are able to come to the forefront and really showcase what they have.”
Because viewer habits are so chaotic that even calling them “habits” seems a misnomer, the TV ad business has become the sight-sound-and-motion ad business, and the way agencies buy all this sight-sound-and-motion gets more complex by the day, with lots of overlapping audiences. “You can now buy or target a show upwards of several different ways digitally,” Marx says. “You can go direct to a network, you can go to their streaming platform service, you can go through a TV manufacturer like yourselves, you can go through a streaming device.”
“It's not necessarily about the direct-to-device strategy,” Marx continues. “It's more so about an activation and an audience strategy as well as really an inventory curation strategy. It’s always been a delicate balance between art and science."
What does Marx see on the horizon? “I think we're going to see the sprinkling in of interactive engagement units, branding, and custom content,” he says. Brands will continue to evolve towards more organic storytelling and messaging, and more immersive experiences. That includes augmented reality.
But until we’re all wearing AR glasses at all times, “the proliferation of the content availability is what is really going to drive a lot of the change,” Marx says.
Enjoy the full interview below: