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Industry Snapshot with Magna’s Bassem Massoud

Interview with Bassem Massoud, CEO, MENA, Magna Global.

HOW IS THE MEDIA AGENCY MODEL CHANGING, AND WHY?
It’s the age of the customer, and their actions trigger a lot of data that brands are struggling to translate into meaningful insights. Media agencies must excel in data-driven marketing to tap into consumers at the right moment in the right context. This requires a mindset change within agencies – from recruiting the right type of talent to restructuring the agency while ensuring a proper fit between the organisation and the environment.
Data-driven marketing brings with it new specialist solutions such as DMP deployment and analysing the client’s ad stack. These solutions are totally different from what used to be scoped out for media buying and planning.
The agency of the future will retain the best that is expected of a traditional agency – thorough understanding of the landscape and planning creativity – and balance that with expertise in data-driven marketing.

HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS AND CREATIVE AGENCIES CHANGING?
Client-agency partnerships – like other partnerships – require continuous nurturing. On the one hand, clients are demanding more accountability from their advertising investments as media becomes more measurable. On the other hand, with the proliferation of data-driven marketing, clients are trusting their agencies to
guide them and support them through all the tech advancements to achieve their marketing and business KPIs. Creative agencies are embracing the digital world and the need for various forms of content built for different digital platforms based on the needs and restrictions of the platform and the changing consumption habits of the consumer.
The line between media and creative/content is also blurring – especially when it comes to the social market place. For example, social content production, social media strategies and influencer marketing are offered by media, PR and creative agencies. Hence it is important to align on roles and responsibilities as the need for better collaboration has never been higher.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING THE INDUSTRY?
There are multiple challenges, but I will focus on two main ones: Expertise, and the need to balance strategic and tactical goals. Expertise: In this digital age, there’s a continuous emergence of new technology from the big internet and tech giants to digital start-ups. There is a shortage of talent for specialist digital skillsets and
also platform-agnostic planners/strategists who understand the world of ad tech but also balance it with creative planning to meet client objectives. For agencies to move from a transactional media buying model to the advisory role that drives clients’ businesses, the right personnel and mindset are vital.
Balancing strategic and tactical goals: The immense pressure on marketers to deliver on numbers sometimes affects brands in the long term. Marketers should not forget the importance of brand building while delivering on business results.

WHAT ADVANCES IN MEDIA ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
The fact that addressable media is not limited to digital only. Initiatives such as Sky Ad Smart in the UK, and data- and location-based initiatives with OOH are incredibly exciting. I also find it fascinating that the media landscape can evolve beyond our imagination. For example, car manufacturers are moving towards the ethos of connected cars – and this is going to cause a big data explosion.

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