Media Strategy: Thinking Bigger

Media strategy

With the right mix of data smarts and future-focused media minds, MediaCom is helping brands better connect with consumers. Managing Director Zac Stephenson and Head of Strategy & Solutions Rikki Townsley explain why a ‘bigger picture’ approach to media planning is helping realise short- and long-term success for their clients.

What’s the MediaCom philosophy?

Knowing that clients increasingly crave great strategic advice, at MediaCom, our vision of ‘Seeing the Bigger Picture’, drives everything we do. It means we have broader, deeper conversations with our clients – conversations that go beyond media to encompass all of their marketing activity. It means we truly understand their businesses and plan for growth opportunities within their entire communication system. 

Our agency is wholly geared towards our clients’ future business growth, and ‘Seeing the Bigger Picture’ means we aim to deliver results for them in both the short and the long term, helping them with everything
from brand health to e-commerce. We do this along three major axes: 

  • Being as acclaimed for our data-led and digital work as we are for building brands, comms planning and brilliant implementational planning and buying. 
  • Creating media and messaging for clients that’s more culturally relevant to their audiences and also more personally relevant to each individual consumer (through AI-generated benchmarks and leveraging human insight to create a true connection between brand and consumer). 
  • Looking beyond our local office to plug into expertise across the network, affording us access to tools, resources and skill sets in New Zealand that are global in pedigree.

How do you deliver this growth for your clients?

All of our work is constructed around the need to drive reach with consumer audiences, increase the relevance of our clients’ brands to these audiences and ultimately derive a reaction from them. At each stage, we use world-class tools combined with local context and an understanding of behavioural economics to deliver on this. 

Zac Stephenson.

Our broad-reaching media planning is executed in line with our EBI for Marketing Science partnership best practice, ensuring both maximum efficiency and effectiveness. We then leverage the scale of GroupM to secure media on behalf of our clients at the most cost-efficient rates, to maximise our reach potential to all category buyers.

To increase our clients’ relevance to consumers who have the highest propensity and value for them, we’re constructing a world-first Attention Planning framework with some of the global industry’s pre-eminent luminaries on the subject. Leading the region from New Zealand, this will be a game-changer for the clients with whom we’re conducting the pilot activity, taking our work from ‘just’ being incredibly efficient to being truly effective – driving genuine business results.

When maximising consumer reaction to our work, we draw on the power of GroupM as well as our regional, trans-Tasman and global MediaCom whanau to deploy data, precision targeting, attribution and optimisation tools. And finally, we extend our thinking by being part of WPP, with a full host of subject matter experts in customer experience, design-thinking and creativity.

How are you structured to bring this ambition to life?

Our client leadership team are the beating heart of MediaCom, and our clients’ close business partners. Empowered to bring their deep understanding of their clients’ businesses into the agency, they act as an extension of their clients’ teams, and orchestrate our Strategy, Creative Systems, Investment and specialist execution teams to deliver the most appropriate and effective solutions.

The MediaCom Strategy team is a blend of data practitioners and creative media thinkers who meld marketing science with insight-driven media ideation to derive approaches that are both innovative and strategically sound. This team lays out the jobs to be done to solve clients’ problems, which are brought to life by the Creative Systems and Investment teams.

Rikki Townsley.

Creative Systems is an industry-first offering from MediaCom that helps our clients empirically determine which content and creative performs best for them and helps our creative agency partners optimise this. The Investment team uses the scale and sophistication of our networks to find every cent of value in our implementation with external partners. We regard this value to be greater than simply ‘a cheap rate’; rather, it’s about how can we create value for the client by creating a value exchange for the consumer, and in the process our external partners. 

What tools do you have to deliver all this?

Thanks to our global whanau, we have local-data-powered versions of the MediaCom and GroupM tools suite. This includes The System, MediaCom’s bespoke media planning platform built by Microsoft and powered
by Live Panel, which is a survey that samples 5000 Kiwis each year to give us an understanding of their attitudes, purchases, and media consumption. GroupM’s mInsights is the world’s most powerful comms tech – we use it to model, find and refine Kiwi online audiences. Creative Analytics, deployed by our Creative Systems team, employs AI to empirically analyse creative variants to determine the most effective executions of clients’ campaigns.

Our trans-Tasman Business Science unit deploys full econometric, portfolio and media-mix modelling. And last but not least, GroupM’s Beyond is the most exciting evolution in New Zealand’s digital advertising landscape since the advent of online video. Combining online audience identification with offline attribution, it allows MediaCom clients to truly understand the real-world impacts of online advertising. 

For more information on how MediaCom can help connect your brand to its customers, visit

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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