According to a recent ANA survey here are the top issues for marketers in 2011:

Marketers' 10 Top Issues For 2011

1. Marketing accountability

2. Building strong brands

3. Integrated marketing communications

4. Aligning marketing organization with innovation

5. Media proliferation

6. Advertising creative that achieves business results

7. Globalization of marketing efforts

8. Consumer control over what/how they view advertising

9. Multicultural marketing

10. Attracting and retaining top talent

Media agencies, such as ourselves, have always been focused on #1, accountability. That comes with the territory of spending someone else’s money. Stewardship of client dollars is a critical function of any good media shop. But more importantly is the desire to determine the ROI of the marketing program. Measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs represents the “Holy Grail” for every marketer.

Interestingly, we find the positioning of issues #5 (Media Proliferation) and #6 (Advertising creative that achieves business results) very interesting. Obviously both are important. Here’s where it gets interesting for us. In the past, media related issues were not in the top 10 - let alone the top 20- of issues marketers thought were important.

Media proliferation issues were seen as slightly more important than the advertising creative…. this reinforces that more than ever in a complex and ever changing media environment, media strategy leads the marketing process (See earlier Monitor: Media Leads the Way). Furthermore the consumer control over what/how they view advertising (#8) again points to the importance of a deeper media strategy that engages consumers to connect to the message as opposed to merely exposing it.

Never has there been a more exciting and challenging time to be a media agency. The time has come when the value of a strategic media agency is becoming fully appreciated.