Since a few years we all see some investments shift from local to global media platforms, from marketing people within advertiser’s local offices to marketing hubs at regional level, from (advertising) agencies doing everything from Brussels or Antwerp to agencies made by local consultants working with experts based in East Europe, India etc.
What can we expect in the next decade? A status quo? More globalization? A step back?
Across all studies and papers, I have read in the last years, all great conversations I had with experts and marketers with local or global positions, my opinion is built on two mains observations.
First, all new and future communication technologies exist thanks to the increasing speed of the connections and of the chips (so the hardware, the devices).
5G is a key focus for all telecommunication, IT and entertainment companies today. And you can already find articles on 6G. We all live with smartphones, lots of us use smartwatches. Some of us have Virtual Reality devices. Shortly we will wear smart glasses, advanced hearing aids and all these wearable devices will no longer be the slave of the smartphone. If you want to have a first taste of our live in maybe 20-30 years… search for neurotech innovations on Google.
All these IoT (Internet of Things) based devices but also the more and more popular commercial drones or smart speakers would not be efficient without affordable and fast connections to transfer data and fast chips to transform data into voice, video, direction order, virtual reality etc…
The equation result of high-speed connection + fast (chips in) devices is equal to high expectation in UX from the consumers. Would we buy the last smartphones or VR devices, would we pay for 5G without having a great user experience? No! We do this because we want immersive games, ultra HD 4K video on our social newsfeed when sitting in a train or fast (and right) answer from our voice assistant.
This leads me to this first conclusion. Who can offer the best UX to the consumers? Only the global companies. Simply because they are able to hire armies of developers and capable to invest billions in R&D (research and development). Off course there are great projects achieved by our Belgian publishers or telecommunication companies. I would love them to provide same exceptional UX as the Gafa can do. But let’s be honest, the local players will never have same R&D budgets than the global ones. The UX on Netflix will never be outdated by a Belgian, a French or even a European VOD platform (unless it becomes global).
In my opinion, consumers look for great UX so, we can expect them to increase their usage of global media and entertainment platforms and spend less and less time on the local platforms.
As consumers will be mainly on global platforms, and because their media inventories are being managed via self-service tools (programmatic), this would also mean less room for Belgian marketeers and agencies. Our tasks will be performed at hub (read “global”) level, having direct connection with these global media companies.
And this is it? Do we need to move to international cities to work for hubs, or change job? There is another part in this equation we need to explore.
My second observation is we, the consumers, the people, look for news and stories from our neighborhood. We still love local content.
Take now 5 minutes to check what are your favorite sources of content on your Facebook newsfeed. Here are two Facebook #fans rankings provided on socialbakers.com for Belgium (on 8th December 2020) :
All pages top 10
And the same for YouTube
All pages top 10
Some global publishers get high score on YouTube Media channels but most important content providers on these global platforms are sportsman, singer, actor and publishers… All from Belgium.
In short, we love local content on global platforms! We want the news from our village with a UX from the world companies
What are my conclusions about the global VS local approach for our marketing strategies and team settings for the next decade?
Even if we may think it is a pity, our local publishers will move from being media providers to content providers. Off course they will keep (some of) their platforms like a TV channel, a website but they will more and more create local news or entertainment content which will be mainly distributed and consumed on the global platforms. They will compensate the revenue they lose from advertising or subscription on their platforms by new revenue streams from selling their content to Netflix and Amazon or thanks to advertising shares with Google or Facebook.
On top of local content creators (journalists, movie makers, etc.) local content companies also need to have UX and data experts who are able to understand the global technology and algorithm and who can also ensure that the format of the local content will be successful on these.
Instead of selling advertising spaces to advertisers, their commercial team will need to propose smart integration of brands stories into their editorial content. So, the revenue from push advertising (TVC, displays ads, social ads) will keep on shifting to the GAFA but the “native”, “advertorial”, “product placement” etc. advertising model is the key driver of local revenues.
Hub constellations should keep on growing alongside advertisers and agencies. Deals will be set with the Gafa from there. But there is room for local experts and leaders. Local advertisers and agencies sides will also evolve locally. For example:
One last thing: as an agency, you need to set strong hubs… And that’s possible in Brussels.