Transparency, fostering young talent and media bias were just some of the topics B&T covered during its recent chat with Dentsu Mitchell managing director Adrian Roeling.
What are the biggest challenges facing media agencies right now?
From my point of view, there are three main challenges.
First and foremost, our continuing challenge is to provide meaningful insight to our clients on their consumers and in their industries that are used to craft innovative but effective communication solutions. But given the vast pool of data inputs we have access to today across media clients and industries, taking this data and collating it to drive real insights is a challenge. An example how we have addressed this challenge at Dentsu Mitchell is through the development of our proprietary tool, Dialect. It’s a unique unique tool that is an amalgamation of ABS census data, Roy Morgan data and our own proprietary Dentsu Aegis Network CCS data. Dialect delivers an unparalleled understanding of Australian multicultural audiences that goes into planning to effectively communicate with all of Australia.
Secondly, as an industry we need to continue to improve how we demonstrate the value we derive for our clients. We need to focus on net tangible benefits, our consultancy and the delivery of solutions. Often for brands and organisations such as governments, media expenditure is the biggest line item in the marketing budget, and it’s critical that we can demonstrate how the insight and innovative solutions we’ve created for these clients have met their marketing objectives and, importantly, ROI.
Thirdly, to ensure we can deliver on points one and two is the retention of key talent. As much as our industry talks about data and analytics, we are still at heart a people-based industry, whereby its people who build trust in relationships, business understanding and deliver creative and innovative marketing solutions.
Where do you look to find talent?
Initially we look locally. We’ve tried to develop really strong relationships with universities within Australia – we reach out to them, we consult to them, we lecture at them – to try and develop a pool of graduate talent that we can then bring into our network and educate.
Dentsu Mitchell’s also lucky enough to be part of a global network, which allows us to mobilise talent from across the globe.
It’s a combination of fostering what we’ve got in Australia and leveraging our network globally.
Does more need to be done in terms of educating high school and university students about employment opportunities with media agencies?
Absolutely. We started a program last year to address that education gap within universities – it’s part of our responsibility as a leading group within the market to help drive that awareness and education.
Often people fall into media – they don’t naturally set out to study it at university, and end up in the field because of their relationships with people already working in it.
It seems brands over in the US are increasingly recruiting their own data/media/strategists and cutting the middleman – the media agency – out of their slice of the pie. Do you see this becoming a problem in Australia?
The short answer is no. However, it’s great to see clients investing in this capability. We believe agencies provide unique value to clients as the communication landscape evolves in this digital economy, and our specialists should become consultants in best practice, as they are exposed to more opportunity throughout the diverse agency client base and ecosystem.
Is there a bias against traditional media across Australian marketing? Why/ why not?
No, we haven’t seen any bias. We take a client-centric approach to communication planning and are channel-agnostic. Clients want to communicate to their customers effectively and efficiently, and we provide the communication strategies to deliver to their objectives.
Transparency has been a big talking point in the industry of late. What’s your take on it?
Clearly, transparency is a crucial issue across the entire industry. We need to work together with our media partners to ensure metrics meet ours, and our clients’ expectations. Our clients’ campaign effectiveness is imperative – it’s about accountability, not accountability.