With brands clawing back control of their media budgets and FMGC giants bulking up their internal capabilities it's little wonder agencies are on high alert, but one advertiser that won't be bringing automated media in-house is Domino's UK.
The pizza chain's head sales and marketing director Tony Holdway has said that under his watch, there are no plans to ditch the brand's media agencies in favour of internalising buying, planning or digital.
“The day I sit there and think I can deliver the expertise that an agency can deliver I think I should pack up and go home," he said. "[Brands] invariably take stuff in-house when it’s not working externally and they think they can do it better themselves and that might work for about three months before they run out of steam or ideas.”
Holdway's firm stance comes less than two months after agencies baulked at P&G's plan to cut its global agency roster by 50% at the close of 2018 and bring some capabilities in-house. Some agencies are worried it's a sign the world's biggest advertiser is cutting its marketing spend to the bone, while others believe it to be a reaction to the uncertainties in the global economic climate.
Speaking on a panel at Advertising Week Europe on Wednesday (21 March) Holdway was joined by eBay's EU director of revenue labs Rob Bassett, who is responsible for experimental innovation for buyers and brands.
Bassett offered little insight into whether eBay – which works with MediaCom in Europe – is joining the some 65% of brands the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) claims are building up internal capabilities by hiring dedicated digital and media leads. However, he did caution that traditional media agencies need to change the way they position themselves to advertisers.
“Media agencies pushed really hard to commoditise media and they succeeded and they’ve slowly driven value," he said, before caveating: "They talk about audience rather than context, they talk about price, they’ve been governed by purchasing and they’ve got to the stage where they're actually going to start pushing towards their own demise if they’re not careful, because they’ve deskilled what they do."
He continued: "I would absolutely love it if there was more of a move towards people thinking a bit harder about their media choices and actually putting craft rather than analysis at the forefront of it."
As marketers push for better value when it comes to automated media buying, a recent poll from Adobe placed the number of brands planning to bring programmatic capabilities in-house by 2022 at 62%. The remaining 28% said they would "take some" buying in-house within the next five years.