Engaging with today’s consumers requires breaking down the silo mentality, according to GroupM’s digital strategy & investment officer Venessa Hunt.
As the offline and online worlds continue to converge, brands need to look at what consumers are doing holistically across all devices, from a TV screen to an online screen and beyond.
Hunt believes media agencies need to think less about the silo mentality and look at how the customer can be engaged through an integrated offering.
She also said the best way to look at the convergence of the online and offline worlds is as if there is no line, however, she acknowledged the line is already blurring.
Hunt added defining what is digital is becoming increasingly difficult.
She said: “The word ‘digital’ is becoming so broad, what is digital, and what isn’t digital, I think is very hard to define.”
Commenting on the future of media agencies with the rise of digital, adtech and automation, she was quick to point out the difference between being an agent, and an agency.
“It comes back to the difference between an agent and an agency. I was actually talking about this recently and an agent is a transactional relationship, right? It’s one of those things where you hire somebody to do one thing, with that agent kind of relationship.”
While she didn’t deny the media agency and client relationship is changing, she was firm in her stance that it will always be needed.
“An agency relationship is where we have a relationship with a client and provide them with something they need. And will that relationship change? Of course it will. But if we go back to the beginning, our job is to create something, build something, make something or bring something to the client. If they can’t do that themselves, the relationship will always be valuable.
“The biggest thing that I think about in all agency businesses right now, in both creative and media, is we are a people business, and great ideas come from great humans. It’s that simple.
“We should absolutely automate as much as we can to allow our people more time to think and to come up with new things, but if you automate everything to a baseline as a brand, then you’re no different to the brand that sits beside you.
“If you want to be different, you need humans and the big ideas, and that’s going to come from agencies,” said Hunt.
When asked if she thinks all media buying in the future will be done by machines, Hunt disagreed.
“As much as we can automate, we will, but I also think about how complex it’s all become. If you think about media buying in the very early days, you had out-of-home and newspapers, that was kind of where we started.
“Over the years, we’ve gotten a bit crazy with all the different mediums, like radio came, then TV and now the internet and everything else social media.
“Our jobs across all agencies are more complex than ever before because there are more media touchpoints, and technology coming into that. To automate some of that makes total sense. Why wouldn’t we uncomplicate some of the stuff that’s repetitive or the stuff that can be automated?
“But if you want to do something different, it’s going to come from humans and brains.”