18 years in the making: changes to media planning since Space and Time Media launched in 2000VTurner
It isn’t a startling revelation to point out that advances in media technology and the ways in which consumers access information are driving profound, fundamental change at an accelerating pace. If you want to feel old, show a CD to a five-year-old.
Less obvious to many is that for all this change, the basic role of media within our lives remains constant: when media works, it connects us to friends and family, powers our careers, keeps us informed, keeps us entertained. Even when everything is changing at a phenomenal pace, consumers still want what they have always wanted. The best new widgets or apps are still those which are most successfully able to connect us to something that we care about.
To pick a recent example, although many may speculate about more cynical commercial motivators or the imperative to minimise the impact of “fake news”, it’s noteworthy that Facebook was keen to position its imminent newsfeed change as midwife to a better-quality user experience. Mark Zuckerberg assured us that “one of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” Cutting-edge algorithms and zeitgeist media curation coupled to age-old notions of home, family and belonging. It might be the need to drive ad revenue which matters to Zuckerberg, but he knows full well that it’s mom-and-pops, aw shucks and togetherness that matter to you. Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose.
So, for all that has changed since day one, the idea that media planning for brands is about ‘seizing the moment’ is as relevant today as it was back in 2000 when Space and Time Media first opened its barn doors. We’re still doing the same job of finding the right people and speaking to them in the right way for the best price. We still have to understand what the consumer wants and calculate how best to leverage that to suit our client’s agenda. However, these days tech has made these moments more immediate, multi-faceted and almost infinitely trackable. There is also a good deal more of them: people consume far more media than ever before, and consequently the opportunities to position a brand in front of them are legion.
“The medium is the message” was a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan, meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in any message it would transmit or convey, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. Marketing principles have not changed by and large, but the technology available now amplifies every part of this message delivery.
Why we started Space & Time Media
Space & Time Media exists because we believe in being a true client partner. We are not shackled by the limitations of the big network agencies, allowing us to be more nimble and completely independent in thought and execution – this is very important to us and has proven invaluable to our clients. Our regional offices offer a level of local market knowledge blended with the support of a vast insight team nationally, and that delivers great results for our clients. It’s reflected positively in their ROI.
We aim to be technologically innovative and competitively equipped with the very best in class reporting, insight and online protection tools. We plan for optimal integration of all media channels based on the discovery of insights and our considerable industry experience. Planning around the human response, we seek out media moments that provide real engagement with consumers.
Our pledge is to stay abreast of all new technologies, ahead of our competitors and be the most relevant client-focused media agency around. Our eighteen-year history and our class-leading client retention figures prove that we deliver on all counts.
In 2003, as a young media agency, we were largely a press and broadcast agency when our 100,000th booking was made – for Countryside Properties, a client relationship we are very proud to say is still thriving today.
In 2004 we expanded with a regional office in Manchester. Then as now, it was important to our custodial role in managing media investments for our clients that we offered a stronger regional presence along the length and breadth of the UK. To offer ground-up, granular media planning across the local and the national space, we needed to be in several places at once. Today our Manchester office is home to a 25-strong team of client services, search, social, data and finance professionals. In 2006 we pushed the model further, launching an Edinburgh office to service a growing number of Scottish clients. In 2014, launching a London office continued our track record for strong growth.
Pioneers in digital advertising
We were an early adopter of paid social activity, with our first Facebook campaign booked in January 2008. By 2013, our spend with Facebook had reached £1 million, a milestone we achieved in 2011 with Google. Responding to the changing media landscape remains essential to us; if there’s a better, cheaper, better-targeted option for our clients then it’s our role to know about it. It’s never change for its own sake, but it’s also an awareness that if we’re standing still, we’ll fall behind.
With this in mind, we shaped our teams to evolve specialist areas, peopled by experts who understand the agile and fluid space within which tech giants and start-ups operate. We have spent years investing into tech and people to ensure that our offering is compelling and trustworthy and that our client’s investment is well placed and safe.
Over the years we have progressed by being early pioneers and ensuring our model is fit for purpose no matter what. As testament to the viability of this model, in 2016 we were declared the UK’s number 1 Elite Media Agency in The Drum’s Independent Agency Census.
Technology is a livewire that runs through media buying today
Today proper campaign planning takes account of the wealth of data and insight available in the modern media landscape. Touchpoints in the digital age are carefully planned intersections between experience and intent, planned in nanoseconds. Using a people-based media approach allows a media planner to put the customer journey at the centre of any campaign; staying truly media neutral in the pursuit of best-in-class results.
In the context of this potentially bewildering array of data and resources, our business model makes more sense with every new innovation: the power of cutting-edge technology and insight, harnessed and translated into plain English by a team of experienced professionals who put a premium on client service.
Where we are headed?
Delivering a pioneering and progressive media service for clients means we pursue the best integrated solution, embracing whatever innovations are required. Our trailblazing spirit is tempered with a results-focussed approach using the very latest in Insight tech to guide us along the way.
By Peter Jones