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GroupM Interaction Reports

Please use the link section to the right to view and download the GroupM Interaction Report 2007 now available with our compliments.

For the 2008 report, now on sale, please visit the publications section of www.groupm.com


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The confluence of influence

Noise in our business is dominated by the latest technologies and applications from a disparate range of companies with one thing in common namely an unimpeachable view that their view of the world is often the only view and always the right view.

In terms of weight of press Google and Apple dominate and everyone else is either an imitator playing catch up or one of the old guard leaning back on the ropes trying to make it look like the latest punch did not hurt. What you got Joe?

There’s nothing wrong with this until it starts to effect how marketing and media decisions are made. Too much noise can equate to inappropriate emphasis and allocations of time, effort and money chasing news induced dreams.

Today, we are at a tipping point. Broadcast media still delivers massive albeit declining audiences, millions still consuume print and radio, almost everyone who wants to be online is online and, soon enough, everyone who wants to be an active or passive participant in social media will be. In all cases the numbers are huge and by inference so is their influence on decisions people make on what to think and what to buy.

As a consequence we have a confluence of influence that is unprecedented and as a result a complex but delicious opportunity for integrated and interactive marketing in which consumers are stakeholders and participants as well as ‘audiences’.

With the opportunity comes what might be the defining  challenge for communication planners and traders; the simultaneous need to achieve intra-channel and cross-channel optimization  with an increasing amount of data available in real time.

The answers are  of course technical but they are also philosophical and for the agency community the two are of equal import; critically a confluence of influence requires a confluence of consideration in planning.

There is simply no primacy between the broadcast, the addressable and the social and agency and client structures need to recognize that truth before they have a reasonable chance of solving the puzzle it presents.



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The upfront – where the men are men and the shrimp are terrified

It’s that week again. When I arrived in the USA in 2005 the upfronts seemed like an anachronism; I rashly described them as a conspiracy of the damned based on the decline in TV audiences and the inverse increase in the quality of the associated presentations and parties.

In a somewhat counter cyclical way I now see their importance. As the supply of premium inventory falls and the integration and online extension opportunities rise it is more important than ever to secure options over positions with the potential to create market advantage, and to take a long view of what is required to achieve marketing goals.

Of course the real trick is to do this while accurately predicting supply and demand across the trading period. The truth of course is that despite the overall decline in TV there remains no competitive media that can induce as significant and rapid shifts in attitude and awareness.

At GroupM our ship is piloted by Captain Scanzoni and First Mate Schwartz. That is a very good thing. Good luck chaps.

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A battle of ideas

Agency structures are a hot topic. Essentially the debate is between the Y axis of the vertically integrated media specialist – one skill, all channels, and the X axis of the horizontally integrated agency – all skills, all channels and the third way of the all skills, one channel (most often digital) specialist.The fact is that all skills, all channels (the X axis) would appear to be right on any reasonable, if theoretical, evaluation but the truth is that certain managers in those environments threw away their chance for enduring domination by a depressingly hierarchical view of agency functions from which they will never recover. Of course if it is right in theory then the customer must ultimately suffer from any alternative execution as it is by any definition sub-optimal. Of course we do our best to even things out. As the biggest Y axis play in town our speech is about agnosticism between channels, its about the transfer of value from buyer to seller, it’s about focus, about leverage and, of course, playing nice with the creative community. The big third way players are holed below the waterline; ‘the answer’s digital, now what’s the question’  can’t be reasonable or sustainable and only solves half the problem of the constant search for expertise and context. The real dilemma is that the question is irresolvable while all the enterprises concerned insist in pursuing their current incarnations.The truth is that we all have to change and all have to recognize that we can’t be everything to everyone. Interestingly the re-creation of the full service model with media as its center of gravity is both tempting and ultimately futile as it combines corporate activities like budget allocation and portfolio management with boutique activities like creativity itself. No one has yet devised a mechanism to manage and arbitrate these skills in a single enterprise and a subtle shift of power won’t help. 2008 is time to invent the next new thing and my guess is that real structural change is required in a world where it’s only great to be Google.  

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