We all know that consumers are utilizing media differently than ever before. We also know that there is increased fragmentation and that instead of reaching people with a mass message, we need to hit people in niche audiences. We all get that.
The one thing that is not being discussed in agency and client circles is what this really means for planning purposes.
According to a recent statement by industry guru Erwin Ephron, he currently estimates that there are about 1.125 Quadrillion media options out there for media planners and buyers to choose from to reach their respective audiences. That is 1,125 followed by 12 zeros -- or 1,125,000,000,000,000. That's a lot of media options.
Now I can assure you that because the number of media options has grown so big so quickly, there is not an agency in the country that is staffed to evaluate over a quadrillion media options. Nor should there be, as a lot of them aren't viable.
However, a great many of them are viable.
And yet, as agencies and clients, we are mostly stuck in 1995 in terms of the staffing that we expect to pay for in media departments.
At some point, some client/agency combination somewhere is going to figure out that in order to effectively evaluate the huge amount of media options out there, and that to effectively reach a large number of tiny niche audiences, it's going to take significantly more staff to do it right. And they will, and they'll reap the rewards on the backside with better, more targeted, more meaningful media buys. However, until we realize that most media departments are understaffed to handle the quickly growing number of media outlets that exist, we will continue to get media plans that are include mostly national TV buys.
Look at the media plans of any large conglomerate and you'll find that a huge portion of their budgets are spent on broadcast tv in the upfronts. This is happening in spite of dying tv ratings, audience fragmentation, and increased media costs. But they continue to do it because it's easier. And when you don't have time to evaluate everything effectively, you default to what you know, and what is easy.
We're working hard to staff to do it right...and we never do it easy. Easy died about 5 years ago....it's time the industry catches up.