Revolution in Advertising Sales: Future-Proofing for the New Era in Media

By The Myers Report Archives
Cover image for  article: Revolution in Advertising Sales: Future-Proofing for the New Era in Media

With the average tenure of media agency employees now less than eight years, a lack of deep experience in the industry underscores the evolving nature of the media profession, where data and automation have overshadowed the importance of personal relationships and in-depth industry knowledge. The decision-making oversight of media buying has transitioned from corporate marketing roles to purchasing and procurement professionals who typically report directly to CFOs or even to CEOs. This shift reflects a broader change in the advertising landscape where financial considerations and efficiency drive media transactions.

Programmatic and automated planning and buying, emblematic of this shift, now represent an estimated 60% of all media transactions and as much as 75% of transactions in retail and social media. By 2025, The Myers Report projects that 80% of all buyer/seller financially based media transactions will be conducted without human interface utilizing generative AI and blockchain technologies. This trend raises concerns about the diminishing role we're already witnessing today of traditional, relationship-based advertising strategies.

The industry is at a crossroads, needing to find a path toward balancing the efficiency of data-driven, programmatic approaches with the depth and creativity of traditional relationship-based strategies. To remain competitive and relevant, media sales organizations must adapt to this changing landscape, focusing not only on technological proficiency but also on nurturing meaningful client relationships and staying attuned to the evolving market needs. This is the critical challenge that is shaping the future of media sales organizations. In this report, we offer seven recommendations for media sales organizations to be prepared for their fast-changing marketplace.

If you're attending MFM's CFO Summit on March 19, don't miss Jack Myers' presentation on Navigating the Shift from Expense Management to Revenue Optimization and Growth.

The Myers Report, a cornerstone in the advertising and media industry for over 40 years, has chronicled the evolution of media sales organizations in a landscape continuously reshaped by technological advancements, shifting market dynamics, and the trajectory of technological advances in advertising-supported media. The Myers Report's findings suggest that while automated transactions will lead to spending increases in certain categories, primarily from small and mid-sized businesses, they will contribute to a continuing shift of ad spend to performance-based commerce media and will accelerate a general decline in the marketplace's vibrancy.

Historically, the golden age of advertising was characterized by the dominance of television and the rise of creative storytelling. However, with the advent of cable TV, the media landscape began to fragment, leading to a more targeted approach to advertising. This trend further evolved with the digital revolution, where the internet and data-driven advertising took center stage, reshaping the role and approach of media sales organizations. With the ubiquity of smartphones and the explosion of social media, advertising further diversified and media sales organizations had to adapt to selling ads on these new platforms, where user engagement and data analytics became key.

In 1984, when The Myers Report launched our research evaluating advertiser and agency perceptions, the 24 television sales organizations measured at that time received an average overall positive rating by 75% of respondents. The TV ad marketplace in 1984 was defined by only 300 brand and agency decision-makers and influencers whose average years of work in the business was 15-years. In 2023 that marketplace is represented by more than 10,000 professionals, with only 20% in the business more than 15 years and 65% fewer than eight years. In the 2023 The Myers Report survey, 3,400 agency respondents rating 132 media sales organizations. The average positive rating of those organizations plummeted to just 40%, reflecting a growing disconnect between media sales organizations and their agency clients. The disconnect between media and brand marketers is obvious to every media sales organization except perhaps Meta, Google, Amazon, Disney, NBCU, large retail media, and those companies with major sports franchises.


1. Renewed Focus on Relationship-Based Buying & Selling: The decline in positive perceptions towards media sales organizations as noted in The Myers Report can be partially attributed to the shift from a relationship-based approach to a more impersonal, data-driven strategy. While efficiency is enhanced, the personal touch, crucial in long-term client relationships, is compromised and due for a revival.

2. Programmatic Advertising's Dominance Balances with Innovation: With programmatic and automated buying constituting a significant portion of media transactions, the focus is on technology and algorithms. However, this shift raises concerns about the neglect of creative and innovative advertising solutions that resonate more deeply with audiences. As generative AI tools become commonplace, the opportunity to develop enhanced connections and innovative partnerships will become more relevant.

3. Consolidation and Contraction of Currency Investments: The over-investment in multiple research and currency providers to support programmatic buying will recede, freeing budgets for investments in creative and innovative advertising solutions needed to stay competitive and capture a share of the more profitable 25% of media spending that is relationship dependent.

4. Empowerment through Professional Development: Investments in professional development and education are vital and are destined by inevitability to increase. This focus will better equip sales and media planning professionals with the necessary skills to navigate the changing landscape that requires both data proficiency and relationship-building.

5. Future of AI and Emerging Technologies: With the continuous advancement in generative AI and other emerging technologies, media buying and selling organizations need to stay ahead of the curve. These technologies require the expansion of personalized advertising and more creative creativity, a redundancy that is obvious to all. It's not a trend; it's an escalating reality, revolutionizing the advertising industry.

6. Sustainable and Ethical Advertising: There is a growing trend towards sustainable and ethical advertising practices. Media sales organizations will need to adapt their strategies to align with these values, catering to a more socially conscious audience and client base. The more than 50% of digital advertising that is estimated to be ineffective due to fraudulent advertising practices; transactional costs will become an increasing target of AI tools to reduce fraud and ineffective investments.

7. Navigating Economic Uncertainties: Economic factors such as recessions or shifts in consumer spending patterns can significantly impact advertising budgets. Media buying and selling organizations will increase their investment in predictive tools and analytics to assure they can operate with agility and be adaptable. The result will be a greater focus on relationship-building and proving ROI value.

The Myers Report 2023 provides not just a snapshot of the current state of media sales organizations but also serves as a guidepost for future strategies. It underscores the need for a balanced approach that incorporates both technological advancements and the human element of advertising. The organizations that will thrive are those that can blend data-driven efficiency with creative, relationship-focused strategies, adapting nimbly to the ever-evolving landscape of advertising-supported media.

SOURCE: The Myers Report 2023 Survey of 4,200 Advertising Agency and Brand Media Decision-Makers and Influencers; 4,200 respondents. Fieldwork August/September 2023. For details

Copyright ©2024 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.