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Where’s the Money? Avenues of growth for media agencies in 2024

Where’s the Money? Avenues of growth for media agencies in 2024

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As generative AI continues to sweep the globe and infiltrate industries far and wide, media agencies have not become immune particularly with changing consumer behaviors.

According to Kantar’s 2024 Media Trends and Predictions report, consumer segmentation needs to move beyond traditional demographics to a more behavioral and attitudinal approach.

Accounting for these factors will help brands and marketers understand the reasons behind consumer choices with better insights, opportunities and more precise targeting.

Audiences are also consuming content across multiple platforms and devices, making it paramount for marketers to harness the power of these platforms effectively. In particular, on-demand streaming is becoming increasingly favored among viewers for its flexibility and interactivity. Yet, linear viewing continues to retain its communal magic.

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As such, businesses will need to adapt their strategies to the localised tastes of their audiences. With media consumption also becoming more fragmented, avenues such as connected TVs (CTVs) will become useful for marketers to understand complex audience behaviours.

Furthermore, as AI goes mainstream, the media landscape will see much deeper integrations of AI technologies, with generative AI as a stand-out for content creation, according to the report.

It also flagged a potential increase in advertising waste amidst an abundance of technological solutions as businesses struggle to identify the most effective tools for their operations.

Therefore, 2024 will bring the added challenge of sorting the essential from the nonessential and knowing when and where to deploy specific technologies to their maximum potential.

What are the strategic directions for the media world as we face these trends and challenges head-on in 2024? In the fourth instalment of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s “Where’s the Money?” series, we speak to nine media agency professionals to identify the moneymaker of 2024.

Sandeep Mark Joseph, CEO and co-founder, Ampersand Advisory

“Out-of-the-box thinking.”

Joseph singled out agencies that are able to think outside the box as the ones who would be able to bring value to clients. This is particularly so as the boundary between media, creative, and content continues to blur.

“Agencies that deliver integrated communications seamlessly will be in demand and in the money,” he said.

According to him, it will be important for marketers to embrace the changes that marketing has undergone, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding long-term trends and harnessing data are shaping up to be the most lucrative approaches.

He mentioned that different types of media will offer opportunities for agencies to grow from. For example, traditional media might continue to decline and hurt, but those who can offer good rates, deals, and flexibilities are better positioned to benefit.

Other trends include a growing demand for influencer, outdoor and cinema marketing, pressure in the areas of TV, radio, and print, as well as fragmentation of digital media. He also projected that data analytics will remain the unsung hero and secret weapon of marketers, with Market Mix Modelling being essential. With inflation threatening, price elasticity studies and demand forecasting are essential.

“And of course, AI, that shiny new thing, will disrupt like never before. AI is a theme for the next 20 years, and its impact on marketing and marketers is just beginning,” he added.

Human Lam, Hong Kong market director & client partner, Assembly Global

Omnichannel.”

In a region where consumers utilise 15 or more digital platforms on average, Lam observed that single-channel strategies are no longer effective. “APAC boasts the world’s most digitally connected and savvy consumers who are seeking more meaningful and elevated brand experiences,” she said.

She added that with the return of physical retail, consumers now expect seamless integration between online and offline experiences. This makes it increasingly challenging to track points of purchase.

Lam anticipated that this situation will be amplified in 2024, making it more important for brands to have complete visibility and control over the entire consumer journey, from brand to performance.

“A well-designed omnichannel strategy that showcases different facets of the brand and offers diverse levels of engagement will be crucial to capturing consumer attention and loyalty,” she said.

Critically, this strategy will require seamless integration between online and offline channels, especially as third-party cookies fade out. It will be tremendously valuable to accumulate first-party consumer data for performance tracking and optimisation in order to bridge this gap. Additionally, as over 72% of APAC consumers have come to expect personalised brand experiences, first-party data will also come in handy.

Pankaj Nayak, managing director, media group, dentsu Singapore

“Effectiveness.”

Nayak drew attention to the extreme cautiousness among clients in 2023, where many will look to cut back on marketing spend. Though there have been signs of recovery, many clients have been asking for effectiveness measurements before deciding to invest more, despite having the budget for marketing and procurement.

In response, effectiveness begins with demystifying data, analysing it and using it to understand and predict audience behaviour. In doing so, marketers can leverage technology, optimise content delivery, and enable bespoke messaging to create immersive and engaging experiences for audiences.

“Clients will also look for effectiveness in the ways of working across their multiple partners to drive integrated efforts while connecting with their consumers,” Nayak added.

Bala Pomaleh, CEO, Mediabrands Malaysia

“Talent.”

“In an increasingly complex AI-led landscape, investing in the best talents will give us the best returns,” said Pomaleh.

To survive, companies must be able to adapt fast to fluid solutions, evolving technology and challenges. On the manpower side, talents must be agile and be able to think on their feet to give clients the best advice to succeed, he added.

Therefore, Pomaleh saw investing in talents in a multi-disciplinary way as the way to go. On top of that, it will also be important to create a culture for people to thrive and hone their skills. This is necessary to foster an environment that is conducive to creativity, innovation, tech sophistication and growth.

“Humans and the human touch will become the game changer in 2024.”

Helen McRae, CEO, Mindshare Asia Pacific 

“Commerce.”

To McRae, commerce in Asia goes way beyond mere transactions. “Social commerce, quick commerce, and live commerce are giving brands opportunities to do great brand communication as well as performance,” she said.

She added that digital and physical commerce will also connect at the crossroads of online to offline to online experiences. 

Meanwhile, she also suggested that AI would be an enabler for commerce, making processes faster, more effective, and more personalised.

Irene Tsui, managing director, Mindshare Hong Kong 

"Artificial intelligence."

With the belief that AI is the next big transformation for the marketing and media industry, Tsui said AI-powered algorithm has enabled greater personalisation of content and more targeted advertising at scale.

"Consumers now have the expectation of tailored recommendations and personalised experiences which have driven the demand for AI-driven solutions among advertisers. More effective targeting, higher engagement rates and easier proven ROI - this positive spiral will take the adoption of and investment into AI even further," she said.

To stay on top of the latest market trends, Tsui said GroupM also integrates proprietary AI technologies into every aspect of its clients' work, from audience planning to activation, and optimisation to ensure that it targets the right audience, leverage predictive analytics, and gain deeper insights into the customer journey, all for the better ROI on its clients’ investment.

Nina Fedorczuk, chief enablement officer, Omnicom Media Group APAC

“Real life experiences.”

Fedorczuk cited the rise of revenge travel and the intense demand for tickets to concerts by popular bands and singers such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift in 2023. “We have seen an immense appetite from consumers globally to get out into the real world and have real experiences,” she said.

While massive events have garnered consumers’ attention, smaller groups have also been creating and attending micro-events. As an example, she suggested that marketers in the travel industry may understand the different passion points behind travelling, from which they could create moments and experiences tailored to these interests. If the main driver for a getaway is culinary experiences, brands could craft experiences around cooking and meaningful micro-communities.

"There is no doubt that in 2024, people want to connect again,” Fedorczuk said.

She added that across different scales, marketers have the potential to create meaningful and worthwhile brand experiences to satisfy consumer desires.

Elaine Poh, managing director and head of domestic business, Publicis Media

“Interactivity”

“Consumers today want more than just products. They want engaging experiences,” Poh said.

As a result, interactivity can bring immersive storytelling, interactive games, and real-time personalisation to consumers, engaging them with a more participatory approach. According to Poh, brands are increasingly shifting away from traditional, passive advertising to incorporate more interactivity.

This shift is further aided by advancements in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), AR, and VR, along with more powerful smartphones and new social media features, which make interactive marketing easier and more effective.

“This style of marketing is particularly appealing to younger audiences, who favour genuine, interactive brand experiences over conventional advertising,” she added.

Sindhuja Rai, CEO, Wavemaker APAC 

“Brand building.” 

“It’s time to focus and invest in de-fragmentation and multi-channel integrated solutions,” said Rai. 

This is to drive future innovation and investments into audience-driven solutions, she explained. 

Rai added that brands should not be too quick to jump onto bandwagons without looking at the holistic picture. Rather than pursuing the latest developments and new opportunities, it is important to build strong brands that can support fundamental lower funnel growth. 

This point is further amplified by how the market is rebalancing and assessing the full consumer journey, resulting in more data driven insights such as Marketing Mix Models (MMMs). 

By fusing data, innovation, commerce, and human ingenuity seamlessly, Rai expressed optimism that brands would be able to harness their purpose and rise above the noise of an ever-crowded media landscape. This would lead to more differentiation and accelerated growth.

The biggest conference is back! Experience the future of marketing with 500+ brilliant minds at Digital Marketing Asia on 28 - 30 November in Singapore. Uncover groundbreaking strategies that connect leading brands with their target audiences effectively.

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