Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants

An email of support from an equally concerned member of the media industry

Jim_Bowes on the media industry

This post is by David Angell, TrinityP3 General Manager and Head of Media. David has extensive commercial and media experience gained through a fifteen year career in media agencies, which he uses to help drive optimal results for TrinityP3 clients.

Most of you who are aware of TrinityP3 understand that, as an organization, we are outspoken. There is always a new article, blog post, webinar or podcast, on all sorts of topics affecting the marketing and advertising industry both here in Australia and around the world. It’s all free for you to consume, share or comment on. 

There are a number of reasons for us doing this. Yes, we are in business, and good content doesn’t hurt our ability to market ourselves. But it’s also about the level of respect we have for the industry we work in.

It’s about having a point of view, about us as individuals caring enough to stick our heads over the parapet and speak up about things that we believe in.

Genuine professional passion

Some people are cynical about our efforts. Others use the content for what it is, see the passion behind our business, and use it as an opportunity to share their own passion points with us. When such people are good enough to feed back in positive terms, free of any commercial angle, message or obligation, it lifts our spirits.

We recently received one such email, from an individual unconnected to our business, that we’d like to share with you.

We’re not sharing it just because it says nice things about us, although this is of course welcome. We don’t expect you to agree with every viewpoint it contains – in fact we have different opinions on some of what’s said.

We’re sharing because we love the debate, and because it shows just one example of the genuine professional passion from which we can all take heart. Thanks, Jim Bowes, for taking the time and effort to send it to us.

Dear David and the TrinityP3 Team,

I applaud your efforts to help an industry you are very passionate about. You are a rare breed fighting a battle for others who seem unwilling to put forth much effort but will reap the rewards of your bleeding.

I read your article (the entire article) “You want transparency from your media agency? Look at your own behaviour first” and I watched one of the videos with Darren leading a discussion panel.

I am not an advertising or media guru by any means. I have been in the industry my entire life. My father was a Madison Avenue “madman” inducted into the Pharmaceutical hall of Fame (Reg Bowes – a founding partner of Vicom now DraftFCB). The industry clothed me, fed me and put me through school.

I too have a special relationship with it though I am highly critical of it mostly because it is run by those who care more about short term profits than they do about the product.

I hear your frustration and just wanted to send you some moral support. We need more people and organisations like yours if the industry is to survive. Though given the mentality of the industry, perhaps it dying a slow painful death would be better for everyone- especially the consumer.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems is that our industry is in complete denial. Just look at the video which was supposed to be an open and honest discussion about the challenges the industry faces.

It is key to identify the problems and then work together to solve them. That is what successful businesses and industries do. Too bad only one member of the panel (sort of) was willing to even admit there were problems! The others simply said they didn’t see a problem. They were just normal business challenges.

It’s like telling junkies they have a drug problem or alcoholics they have an alcohol problem. Most will defend their behaviour even if they know it is killing them. The first step is to admit there is a problem. Good luck with that!

Our industry is large, powerful and influential, perhaps too much so much like the banking industry. I left the advertising industry to start a small eco-friendly outdoor media business.

I thought the advertising world was a strange fish, it doesn’t even come close to the outdoor advertising industry who have done an amazing job of polishing a business model based on monopolies and unfair (if not unlawful) competition that is only in the best interest of themselves not their clients or the consumer.

A model that gets our cities hooked on the revenue they generate so badly that even though cities loath these companies they protect and coddle them allowing them to get away with things no other industry would get away with.

As someone who has been deeply involved in the sustainable development movement, I have to admire how this industry has stayed under the radar and been able to convince cities that they are innovative even environmentally sustainable. No need to go into that here and not the point of this letter.

I also care about the industry and it is fascinating to watch how busy it is convincing itself of its huge value – focusing on itself with little regard to the one group that really matters – the consumers.

I recently read an extensive article by the Digital Out of Home industry on all of the glorious benefits digital out of home has to offer… advertisers and itself. A wonderful pat on the shoulder of how DOOH was the new sliced bread! How it would add tremendous value to advertisers and though it does have some great advantages, let’s be honest we are just polishing a turd here.

What was the most astonishing to me is that nowhere to be be found were the benefits to the consumers! And here is, in my opinion, where the industries are fundamentally missing the boat. This is the achilles heal that is just waiting to disrupt and take down the biggest of the big boys. And consumers will be cheering.

The greatest examples of highly successful new businesses from Uber, Facebook to AirBnB are companies have found a way to cut out the middle man. It is only a matter of time until someone does this to advertising and it will be based on one glaring issue – we don’t value the consumer.

Advertising and media has nothing in its offer for the consumer, the whole reason for our being. At best, we the consumer, are willing to tolerate the 4000 messages being blasted at us per day, we have little choice. At worse we the consumer loath, avoid and ignore media and advertising messages as much as possible. Ad blocking is just a sigh that says “Leave me alone. You annoy me. Be gone”!

I love to look at the wonderful reports written by our industry for our industry that lavish praise on a business model where a recall rate of .03% is seen as a huge success! Looked at it another way it is a business model that praises itself for a 99.97% failure rate.  Amazing that we are so proud of how ineffective we are! Any other business with such a failure rate would have failed long ago.

Here is my prediction. Some very smart person is going to realise that the consumer’s attention is valuable, very valuable and instead of paying agencies and media firms to provide the “opportunity” for consumers to pay attention, advertisers will pay consumers directly for their attention as in, “If you are in the market for a new car, if you actively give us the chance to pitch for your business, engage with us authentically, we will pay you.

If an adword click through is worth $1 to $2, to pay $1.00 for 30 seconds of a consumers time (valuing their time at over $100 an hour!) sounds like a good deal. If you decide to actually buy my product, I will pay you more, and if you tell your friends that you bought my product I will pay you again!” Because as a business we know your time and attention is precious and we value it!

A consumers attention should not be seen as a gift to advertisers (as it is now), it will be for sale to advertisers – to the highest bidder!. It will also save advertisers a bundle on their marketing and talk about reaching their target and the ability to measure!

Pull advertising will replace the ancient push model the industry continues to hang on to because it is the only one they know. I thought we were a creative industry. I see little innovation, few new ideas and no new business models coming out of our industry and it remains the last industry sector to embrace sustainability. Laggards!

Watching the video with Darren summed it all up perfectly well. A great initiative designed to help the industry grow, improve,  and to stay ahead of the curve. Yet the panel was filled with people who opposed the very premise of the discussion! 

The media owner was offended that the industry would even be questioned/challenged. And the others on the panel proceeded to fall in line and reinforced each other that there weren’t any problems or challenges! It was a great big orgy of people who didn’t want to hear the bad news, didn’t want to admit the industry has some major issues it needs to address and that by simply repeating that everything was alright, it would be.

Darren talked about retention of employees as an issue. As a guy in the sustainability community, I don’t even tell people what my business is. If I do I am the target of jokes and great scorn.

We have no purpose, we play no role in making this world better and with the younger generations putting purpose at the top of their list even over earnings, I fear the industry will soon be filled with a bunch of old farts. Low retention rates are the biggest red flag that we have issues.

Okay, a little ranting and raving myself. And with that I will once again, climb on my desk, take of my hat and loudly applaud you and your team for actually giving a damn and having the balls to say we have a problem that we need to at least address if we are to remain somewhat healthy.

I love our industry but I am afraid our days are numbered and the fact that the industry has put forth little to no effort, does not seem the least bit concerned and is happy with business as usual only reinforces my opinion that a huge disruptive change is coming screaming at us while we have our cocktail party on the tracks. Cheers!

Keep up the great work guys! The industry needs you whether they know it or not.

Some of us do care, are listening, are innovating and probably are the ones you should be engaging with while letting the big boys go. It’s time for a change of the guard anyway.

Warmest regards,

Jim Bowes
Natural Media Experts

If you wish to contribute to the conversation please make a comment on our social media sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Or if you prefer it to be confidential then contact us through the Contact Page of our Website.

TrinityP3’s Media Transparency, Performance and Value Assessment takes a holistic look at the operation of your media agency, assessing against best practice at every stage of the journey. It aims to give you the tools to improve the output of your media agency.

Why do you need this service? Click here to learn more

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    David has been a media agency practitioner for fifteen years, holding several senior positions in the UK and Australia. During this time, he has worked with a number of blue-chip organisations. David is the General Manager and Head of Media at TrinityP3. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and children.

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