At the beginning, the carving out of media buying agencies from the general advertising business was seen as a step towards widening the scope of the business. Today, the decision has given birth to a robust sub-sector, as top media buying agencies are now in the realm of billion naira billings.
Some times in the early nineties, an agency chief executive was said to have suspended one of his top hands for what he described as "dereliction of duty." The top hand in question was said to have failed to prepare both media plan and public relations support for a new big campaign they were planning to launch on behalf of a client. They were supposed to present the final proposals to the client for approval before the campaign was to break. But the inability of the staff to meet the deadline given by the client nearly cost them the business.
Fast forward 2013, a clear twenty years after, there exists a different scenario in the conduct of the business of marketing communications. Today, the days when one outfit prepares the creative material, plan its exposure in the name of media planning, organises public relations support for the campaign seems to have gone and gone for good.
In the last ten years, the client has had to deal with different 'agencies' with specialisation in these areas. Now there exists in the market outfits whose sole business is media planning and buying and the same vein, there are PR firms whose main business is helping organistions sending their corporate messages across to their targets via third party channels. They also help organise media presence and engagement for brands and also help shore up the image of both brands and corporate outfits.
However, if there is any area where the Media Buying agencies are winning the largest part of the business, it lies in the volume of ad placement on regular basis, which cannot be compared to the little the creative agencies would get after developing a concept.
Top media buying agencies:
MediaReach OMD: A top player in the marketing communications space, mediaReach OMD is an independent media specialist with a record of good performance on many local and international accounts. The agency which currently handles Union Bank, Airtel and Promasidor, has also contributed well to the knowledge base of the industry through the annual publication of Mediafacts - a key media resource for marketing professionals in West and Central Africa.
Last year, the agency struck a new deal with Google Global Services Nigeria Limited on brand marketing. The agreement, which was consummated at an event in Lagos and christened "Google Day", was expected to see the two companies collaborate on survival strategies for different brands in the face of stiff competition not only in Nigeria but across the world.
Media Perspectives: Obviously one of the leading media buying agencies in Nigeria, if the yardstick for judgement is based on volume of business, billings and ability to rejuvenate brands. Media Perspectives, a member of the Troyka group, started playing in the big league from day one in 2005 when it opened shop with the media buying and planning businesses of Nigerian Breweries, Indomie and Zain, as Airtel was then known. By 2009, the agency witnessed a huge expansion with blue chip accounts like PG, Nokia and Hennessy.
However, the agency's biggest breakthrough in recent time was in 2012, when it won the MTN Account, which is unarguably the largest buyer of media space and airtime in West and Central Africa. Through referral, it added accounts from SMG: Coca-Cola and Samsung as well as winning local accounts like Jumia, E.J Gallo, Jovago and Kaymu between 2014 and 2015. Along the line, Media Perspectives sealed a global partnership with Starcom MediaVest Group, reputed to be the World's No 1 media group and became its Nigerian Agency.
To achieve its targeted result, Media Perspective is believed to always deploy insight -driven media planning by defining marketing problems, probing challenges among others.
Perhaps the secret of the agency's success lies in the strength of its network. As at today, its global partner -Starcom is in 78 markets, with 129 offices across the world. Africa has three regional hubs; Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal. According to a source close to the agency, it currently manages $39.2b in media investments
Starcom Media Nigeria: Another leading media buying agency, Starcom Media commenced business in 2000. Currently, it operates from two offices located in Ikeja, Lagos. Outside the shores of the Nigerian market, the leading media specialist company has affiliate partners across key markets in Africa to cater for its clients' brands and other marketing responsibilities.
This fact indicates that the agency follows its clients into new markets to fully explore marketing potential for brands in its portfolio. It prides itself as a media communications company that seamlessly connects consumers and brands through research based planning.
Inspired by a vision to be the "foremost media specialist in the country" Starcom deploys superior talents and systems to impact clients' business, using global standards.
The agency's impressive clientele features respected multinational corporations and successful indigenous companies. These include Nigerian Breweries and Nestle.
All Season Mediacom: One of the subsidiaries of the Troyka Group, All Season Mediacom is another reputable media buying agency with its hands on topnotch accounts like Etisalat and Intel. With the equity partnership between Troyka and Publicis, the next few years may be busier for the agency as more businesses may come its way.
Media Fuse: In no distant future, Media Fuse stands a good chance of making it big in Nigerian marketing communication space as a result of its recent alignment with Dentsu Aegis Network. The network in a fresh determination to play big in Nigeria's alluring market, bought into Media Fuse two years ago with a promise to use its huge economic potentials to impact on the local media buying agency. Dentsu Aegis Network is a global player with operations in 110 countries. The relationship between the two marketing communication firms now gives birth to a new firm - Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network. It currently handles Guinness and Peakmilk accounts.
Other media buying agencies that are doing well in the market are Media Share and PHD. In particular, the future of PHD is bright; being a member of the Ominicom group that recently won the global account of the MTN group. The account consolidation may automatically give the MTN account in Nigeria to PHD.