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This week, Producers & Procurers iQ will focus on the last four trends,which follows our detailed analysis of the first three trends in part 1
Last week, we covered the Advertising Production Resources’ (APR) white paper, which analyses the major transformations experienced by the advertising production industry during the pandemic in 2020 and defines how content creation will be influenced in the years to come.
The report says that this year’s trends are influenced by the increased demand for more content, innovations in content creation (specifically tailored for ecommerce) and the shift toward centralized marketing operations.
This week, Producers & Procurers iQ will focus on the remaining four trends and round up some of the key lessons at play. You can read the full report here.
Click “Refresh” on Production – challenging traditional production
In the height of the pandemic, creative and production teams were willing to compress production timelines to get messages out in meaningful ways. In such an unconventional time, content had to be produced unconventionally.
Repurposing existing footage became more acceptable and advertisers started to produce content directly with production suppliers to save time and money. In turn, a trend that APR have noted is that this has led to more unorthodox production models and they are more open minded to agile solutions.
With speed being crucial, APR notes a trend of brands exploring automated production tools, such as Content Management Platforms (CMP) and Dynamic Content Optimization (DCO) tools to drive production efficiencies. Traditional production (triple bid through an agency) is not completely redundant but there is a greater need for technology to drive scalability.
This is a theme that APR predicts is here to stay with reduced timelines with faster approval processes and real-time data dashboards being crucial to support data-informed decisions. APR also notes the increased demand for artificial intelligence in copy and design. They cite Snazzy.ai and Pixlee as two platforms that have been operating in this space.
APR predicts that brands will continue to focus on innovation to support content creation and a higher demand for procurement teams to improve their processes. As such, brands will be more empowered in their sourcing decisions and brands choosing their content creation partners directly
The white paper goes on to say that in-house creative and production teams will become a priority for those brands wanting to maintain control and improve production efficiencies. However, striking the balance with in-house and external creative/production partners will be a challenge moving forward.
APR states that video content will be a central requirement for social media, influencer, and ecommerce marketing. Remote post-production through the support of virtual video villages will remain popular, mitigating overheads and travel costs. This increased coordination will result in a new emphasis on overall production management through integrator roles. These integrators will be accountable for project coordination and asset production processes.
Fit-for-Purpose Partners – challenging partner capabilities and seeking efficiencies
Since marketers are taking more control of their content, they are also taking a closer look at their agency relations. APR notes how they are learning that the role their agencies play to find, vet and empower production suppliers in the ecosystem is critical to their successes.
Marketing teams are expanding their content creation eco-system to include more speciality agencies and creative production partners. Because of the constantly evolving market, marketing procurement professionals are often charged with deciding where to send RFPs and with whom to produce their content, and the list of companies willing to do the work is getting longer and longer. This is leading to an increase in project-based work as brands experiment with companies and shift some work away from traditional AORs.
APR suggests that marketing teams are embracing the concept of fit-for-purpose partner work, matchmaking their specific needs and expanding their production models to include multiple specialized external partners. This has impacted the balance between retainer and project work and the sheer acceleration of finding the right balance is significant in 2021.
We need to be more efficient and this has resulted in suppliers pitching directly, as opposed to pitching through agencies. Moving forward, the challenge will be determining how to accelerate the vetting, contracting, onboarding, and payment processes for new suppliers in this modern ecosystem.
In terms of wider predictions, APR sees that marketing teams will challenge partners to support performance and growth, and there will be a higher demand for proper resource management and a need to accelerate the sourcing and onboarding of content creators, production partners, and suppliers.
Not only is this something that APR are excited for, but they also see marketing procurement as becoming more open to packaged solutions and more willing to negotiate for a committed volume of work.
Ultimately, they predict a deep frustration with the RFP process (and the lengthy timeframes) and expect to see rapid innovation in this area to ensure that results begin accruing much earlier. According to the APR report, on average, it currently takes almost a year to source, vet, and onboard new companies into an existing traditional ecosystem.
DAM It! Enough is Enough – challenging digital asset management
With budgets restricted, 2020 proved to marketers that repurposed content can be incredibly effective when needed. It has also led to brands requiring and accumulating more digital assets than ever before.
In turn, this has led for brands to implement an effective Digital Asset Management (DAM) and more emphasis is being placed on creating engaging content with fewer resources and repurposing content across multiple channels.
With this change, there has been a greater push to utilise already existing content libraries. As such, APR predicts that marketing teams will centralise the entirety of their brand assets moving forward, either through a third party or their in-house teams. This will ensure brands are prepared for the unexpected, breeding a culture of flexibility and greater control of costs associated with rights management and production.
Importantly, it will also improve awareness of assets available and reduce redundancies in production across multiple agencies and suppliers in the content creation ecosystem.
Processes around DAM will offer deeper control of a brand’s existing assets, thus increasing the lifetime value (LTV) and ROI of that content. Hence, APR encourages marketers to assess their DAM processes on a regular basis – especially in connecting DAM to automation tools.
Information in Formation- challenging data strategy inclusive of production
In economic uncertainty, brands needed to understand where every dollar of their marketing budgets were going in order to make informed decisions and generate as much ROI as possible. As such, 2020 saw the demand for more detailed production data. Not only is this something that APR postulates will continue post pandemic, but also spanned across ROI and sustainability.
Last year also signified a shift where sustainability and DE&I became crucial to the industry at large. As such, brands are already looking for carbon calculators and capturing data on diversity (in front of and behind the camera), and other KPIs to reach certain company goals.
In the past, production was only a small part of the marketing investment (10-24%, depending on local vs. global brands). Now, in this world of digital acceleration, production can account for double this or more, depending on the media mix. Production is now considered more upstream in the planning stages. Brands seek to work more efficiently to make the most of their budgets to meet their content needs.
In light of this, APR sees that there will be a growing need for production data collection and procurement tools, such as databases, RFP, and bidding software. Some key players in this space include ARIBA’s RFP Solution, ABID from AICP and APR’s ACERO.
The same goes for sustainability and DE&I, where Streetlights Production Assistant Program , AICP’s Double the Line initiative and Free the Work, as well as AdGreen’s Carbon Calculator are making waves.
Ultimately, APR predicts that our reliance on data is here to stay and it will be a fundamental component for every organization’s content creation strategy. Not only will we know how much each asset costs, how well it performs, and what’s required to optimize future iterations, but there will also be an increased demand for the development of customized data collection tools and dashboards to aggregate reporting across multiple platforms.
The common thread is that we are all seeking a “Better Normal” and we need to shift away from old behaviours and must challenge the status quo.
The white paper was created from the insights of APR’s 200+ Subject Matter Experts from around the world and aism to act as a starting point for reimagining content capabilities.
You can read the full report here.