The problem with siloed thinking in advertising

This article appeared in the August 2013 print edition of the Irish Marketing Journal

It’s my belief that one of the greatest threats to the effectiveness and the credibility of the advertising industry in Ireland is the siloed thinking that continues to be purveyed by many of the large media agencies. Simply put, in today’s data driven world where relevance is king, it is no longer in any clients’ best interest to separate media planning from the rest of the creative process.

And despite plenty of lip service being paid by several agencies to the idea of being ‘full service’, today in Ireland ICAN is the only true full service integrated agency, with an in-house media planning & buying team.

The separation of media is a hangover from the analogue days when a mass, passive audience could be reached effectively with radio, press and TV but it is no longer relevant in a world that has been changed by digital technology. We all know that modern consumers interact with advertising and marketing messages on their own terms, in their own time and across multiple devices – as agencies we need to be able to get our clients’ message in front of the right person in the right place at the right time.

At ICAN, we’ve always taken the view that media needs to be fully integrated with the other disciplines such as strategic planning, creative, search, technology & analytics – and for this to work best it needs to happen under one roof. Time and time again our clients have seen the benefit of this ethos as we harness the power of media and creative working together in the planning stages to tell compelling and relevant stories. And it doesn’t stop at planning, because our media and creative teams work side-by-side we are agile enough to respond in almost real time to external factors, optimising and improving the campaign. One great example of this agility was when during a recent campaign for our client permanent tsb, we were able to quickly capitalise on some negative press coverage a competitor of theirs was getting over high account fees, by contextually targeting this coverage with permanent tsb ads promoting their no-fees current accounts. This would not have been possible if the creative and media functions were separated.

The good news is that the writing is on the wall for this type of siloed thinking. Clients, quite rightly, are demanding the performance and accountability that can only come from the integrated thinking provided by true full service agencies. Media houses are scrambling to acquire creative talent but after years of pursing such a separatist agenda it remains to be seeing how the market will react.

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