Recently Malcolm Gladwell reintroduced the concept that 10,000 hours are required to become an expert in any field. Whilst there may be some controversy around the number there is no disputing the fact that to be an expert in any field you need to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to the cause. Whilst natural talent plays a role the sheer volume of hours required to understand the environment and the nuances of the cause at hand can’t be undervalued, after all nobody would want a doctor with no hours in the surgical theatre operating on them.
There is no industry where this is more prevalent and pertinent than the media industry. Over the years media has been devalued by being considered a ‘commodity’ and treated as such. Clients have weighed the value of a media agency based on the cost they charge to retain them and the discounts or value they can offer. And whilst these metrics do have a significant role they cannot be isolated to the detriment of strategy, insights and creative thinking. We’ve all been conditioned to think that ‘cheap’ is equal to good, we need to shift that thinking to understand that without an idea, grounded in insights, any investment, no matter the cost, is wasted.
In addition, the rise of programmatic advertising, machine learning and artificial intelligence is forcing agencies to re-evaluate their place in the eco-system and to forge a dynamic relationship with digital specialists, integrating previously polarized disciplines into a single seamless solution. Operating within a media neutral environment media agencies are uniquely positioned to help clients navigate an increasingly complex marketplace and to provide value and solutions that rise above sheer data manipulation.
The days of simply buying and selling media are over, but for agencies willing to develop a deep expertise in data, technology, creative media application and consumer behaviour a new dawn is rising. Provable results, unique propositions and campaigns that ‘surprise and delight’ will prevail.
Smart, pioneering media executives will lead the way. They will harness their passion and coupled with their deep understanding and extensive experience will redefine the value of a media agency. They will prove that 10,000 hours may be the benchmark but applied insights and vision will deliver the value, the provable hard metric based results that clients need.
The media agency of the future is not a media agency at all.