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30 August 2018

PwC Director: Replacing Traditional Media With Digital Is Wrong

Dropping traditional media such as printed newspapers in favour of digital pureplay is wrong and ignores the growing body of evidence that using traditional media has clear business benefits, PwC's Neil Duncan has said.

In a piece for Mediatel this week, PwC director of media insight, performance and assurance Mr Duncan cited Newsworks’ Planning for Profit research as one of a number of studies that demonstrate that dropping traditional media could be harmful for businesses.

Mr Duncan said: “The narrative of 'digital' advertising replacing 'traditional' advertising is wrong on a number of levels, but nevertheless print media in particular has been more aggressively substituted for social media and search than any other.

“It's in this context that the study by Newsworks and Benchmarketing, Planning for Profit, is so important. The main thesis of the research, that marketers should pay close attention to brand building and profits when assessing the effectiveness of marketing spend, could not be more relevant in today's world.

“The insight from this research is eminently actionable, but there needs to be the will to use it. The message to advertisers, and their agencies, is that it might just lead to a more profitable outcome.”

Mr Duncan cited a number of other studies such as ‘Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness’ by Enders Analysis, ‘Marketing effectiveness in the digital era’ by Les Binet and Peter Field on behalf of the IPA, and Radiocentre’s ‘Re-evaluating Media’ as part of a “growing body of credible evidence” that media investment decisions need to be changed.

Mr Duncan concludes: “The importance of building brands and profits, and doing so with advertising in a trusted context, is supplemented by a third theme around audience data. The advent of EU GDPR, and later this year the new ePrivacy regulation, is shining a light on the source and use of personal data.

“But even without this regulation, we believe the marketing world is starting to realise that the quality of third party data is often questionable at best and that, in contrast, first party data is frequently of relatively high quality.

“Effectiveness measurement relies on access to the right data, and advertisers need to ensure that they are working with partners who are both committed to effectiveness and its measurement.

“At a time when transparency in media is in the spotlight, it is critical to have the right information to make the best investments.

“Media owners in the UK have built businesses over many decades by understanding and appealing to their audiences; it's time to remind ourselves that they know their customers and their preferences very well.”