A few years back, “media agnostic” was a cliché that was vogue for those companies trying to differentiate their Media Agency from a competitive set evaluated on their ability to deliver “the most competitive rate platform”. It was used to get agencies to a position whereby their strategic credentials were at the fore.

However it is a term I have not encountered for a while. Perhaps it has gone the way of “moving forward” and “paradigm shift”… died through over use and the industry’s desire to launch the next buzz word (sorry, “buzz” is another one!)

Perhaps it is disappearing due to a lack of relevance of the term, but maybe it is due to commercial reasons…

Is there a commercial reason for “media agnostic” to disappear from the Media Agency lexicon?

On April 18 2013, Adnews published an article that stated “media agencies are pulling significantly stronger returns from digital than any other medium”. Furthermore, it was reported that one high profile media agency owner had stated that “agencies can make a better return out of digital; of course agencies are driving to it, if they can get a better return”.

Where a Media Agency’s service agreement is based on commission, and those commissions vary by medium, to remain agnostic becomes a conflict… After all, it is a business. We all pray at the church of the dollar!

In the early days of online, higher fees were accepted by marketers. It was a new world, and Agencies and Marketers were all learning on the job. It did take a lot more time and energy to plan and implement online campaigns, often with very modest budgets. A higher fee was relevant.

But is that true today? Yes, there is still a myriad of choice, but this growth has been accompanied by the development of ever-ingenious software to assist Media Agencies to navigate through and optimise each client’s options.

Today we see commission based media fees for digital often over three times those of traditional options. Why?

I am not suggesting that all fees need to gravitate to the lowest cost. However, I am advocating a fee system that flattens the obvious inequities between those fees paid to Agencies for the implementation of “traditional” media and those for “digital” opportunities.

Maybe then we will return to a world where the term “media agnostic” has some “saliency” (damn, there’s another one!)

– Graham Webster, CEO