“One of the industry’s fundamental problems lies around the remuneration in the agency business,” Samir Ayoub, the industry veteran who launched media audit firm MEDPUSH in Q4 2016, makes this point while reassuring that all is not lost in the media value chain battle.
For every agency, a pitch call is like the double-edged sword –– it is a business growth opportunity but then there is also the matter of dealing with the tougher side of media procurement, essentially meaning driving down margins. “There are many agencies today that are getting fees lower than the cost of serving the business itself. And the competition is so cutthroat that respite seems like a distant dream,” Mr Ayoub notes.
It is precisely this gap, among others, that has created a place for an offer such as MEDPUSH.
MEDPUSH’s mission statement is about maximizing media efficiency and help improving the industry standards. Everything it does comes down to this core objective. Mr Ayoub is cognizant of the fact that this cannot be achieved until all involved see true value.
“We bring additional value to the advertiser, decoding and simplifying a complicated and fragmented media scenario for them. We advise the client how it should be for them. At the same time, because we can show the value that agencies bring, we can encourage clients to remunerate agencies better. Our ability to bring both perspectives makes the difference,” Mr Ayoub explains.
Trust & Transparency
If there was a ‘trust’ economy, transparency would be the only currency that would have appreciated over time. The biggest advantage of a media audit company is the promise of that transparency, especially in what has fast become a trust deficit sector. In addition to that, in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, media measurement is an area of great challenge, adding to the lack of transparency.
One would argue MEDPUSH perhaps had the perfect pitch set for itself. But the going was not that easy. “We had to go through our own trial phase but by the end of year, we could see the uptake,” Mr Ayoub recalls. The primary reason for this was that the process worked.
The audit takes place across the entire media value chain. MEDPUSH audits the construction of the brief, the process, the relationship between the agencies and the client, the communication et al. “Maximizing efficiency applies to the entire chain. So, our audit covers the process, compliance, prices and planning effectiveness. Marketers complain that neutral media planning was compromised. And in many cases it was led by whatever source profited the agencies. We could change that reality or perception by introducing effective planning KPIs and guidelines that are not buying led,” says Mr Ayoub.
Raising The Bar
Even though MEDPUSH is making its mark, the challenges are aplenty. “When we launched MEDPUSH, many were not even clear on what media audit meant. Our task therefore was twofold — educate the advertisers and establish a new trend,” says the media veteran.
His optimism though stems from the fact that once an agency understands the benefits for itself and for the clients, it does not desist from exploring further. “The onus of building on the trust element is on us. Then the agencies are at ease, clients have peace of mind and there is a confident way of showing that their media investment is going in the right direction,” he says. This is in fact the key element because as confidence in media investment grows, marketers will likely spend more, increasing the ad pie itself.
• MEDPUSH aims to facilitate better agency-client relationships
• It recognizes agency remuneration as a challenge and aims to address it
• It constructs audits for the entire media value chain process, and not just prices
• The media consultancy firm expects 2018 to end on a better note from an ad economy standpoint
• Maximizing media efficiency is its core objective; media neutral planning being critical in that
Rapid Fire With Samir Ayoub
Does EMM Partnership Help?
It does in benefitting from EMM’s international experience and practice.
What Are Marketers’ Top Concerns?
Trust, transparency, truly media neutral planning and concerns such as brand safety, data validation, ad fraud and the likes around digital media.
Will 2018 Be A Good Year?
It would be a continuation of 2017 but with light at the end of the tunnel towards Q4.
What Is On Top Of MEDPUSH’s 2018 Agenda?
Continue to build stronger trust between clients and agencies
Highlight the areas where more efforts should be done to maximize efficiency,
Encourage traditional media suppliers to embark on new initiatives to help the industry overall e.g. measurement for outdoor
Educate the relevant stakeholders to pay more attention to how investments are done in digital
What Are The Top Trends Shaping The Industry?
Further growth of biddable media spend in digital, increased needs for data analytics and modeling, addressing the transparency and trust elements and the blurring of competition lines between media channels and media vehicles, especially as the ad pie is shrinking. Also, tougher competition in growing market share.