What’s top of my mind

The UK's cost of living crisis sees our clients face familiar scrutiny and pressure around their marketing investment.

It’s a critical moment for an agency and our task is to support our clients in the justification for long-term investment in demand creation over a pull-back to focusing solely on short term tactics.

Every economic downturn creates a unique opportunity for businesses to transform. Those that invest in the long-term health of their brand and business have been proven time and again to be the biggest winners. These are concerning times, but born out of them will be exciting relationships with entrepreneurial and confident clients.

Brands’ big opportunity

Testing. Always testing and always learning. Every media channel is adapting to become more welcoming of a client with a test-and-learn mindset.

Platforms like Sky’s AdSmart, ITVX, Spotify as well as programmatic innovations in outdoor advertising and audio allow you to deploy smaller investments, test their effect, learn, scale and grow.

Your creative can become more adaptive and responsive, your investment commitments more agile and your customer data and technology can scale the performance of your media campaigns.

New sources of inventory - from broadcaster video on demand platforms and addressable TV to podcasting services like Acast and future ad-funded models from Netflix and Disney+ - are all being created to embrace brands with a desire to move quickly and to learn from their experiments.

What defines a quality media environment

Attention is becoming a key metric for us at iProspect and our parent group dentsu. We have invested considerably to understand how media can be most effectively planned based upon the advertising attention it generates.

The quality of the environment is paramount here (alongside the quality of the creative) and starts with purpose - is the environment a clear representation of the editorial purpose? This is "quality" in the minds of the audience who are there to consume the media content above all else.

Context is also key. Humans are more responsive to advertising messages that are relevant to the content they are consuming, so ads that connect the brand to the content work better.

Beyond this, there is the hygienic but very scientific matter of ad clutter - exposure limits against publisher yield management that, if done right, make the viewing or listening experience better.

Transforming the agency

Many agencies are at risk of being upside-down. The future of effective media demands the best possible utilisation of customer data but in a manner that is improving of that customer’s experience with a brand.

As an agency, this means that our engagements increasingly start with data architecture and science. Clients also need to be closer to activation in this modern world because, increasingly, this is where the levers are for all media and where the real insight in audience behaviour resides.

So, at iProspect, we are focussed on making data the point of entry and ensuring our activation specialists are as close to our clients as possible.

In addition to this. I care most about our business being truly representative of the UK. Eighty-two percent of our employees are in locations across the country, outside of the capital and its satellite towns. At iProspect we’ve always cared greatly about creating media and digital hubs throughout the UK, and long may that continue.