We spoke to new Marketing Association Content Partner Together, one of a new breed of New Zealand media agencies, about what makes them different and where media planning and buying is heading.

Together has experienced incredible growth since launching, but some marketers might not know much about you. Who is Together?

We’re a new generation of media agency, built for where media is heading not where it’s been. We were established in late 2018 by some of the leading media and digital thinkers in NZ, frustrated with how opaque, transactional and lacking in ambition we felt media planning and buying had become. So, we built the agency for what marketers told us they wanted: a strategic partner that could simplify the complex landscape they faced and bring quality thinking, creativity, data and technology back together to drive growth. We’re now over 20 strategists, analysts, technologists and media specialists based in City Works Depot working with clients as diverse as Ministry of Health, AIA and Jaguar Land Rover.

What is your purpose in simple terms?

To create growth by getting our clients’ brands noticed.

That may sound simple, but in today’s fragmented media and attention landscape it’s more and more complicated. It needs more strategic thinking, better use of data and technology and media planners that appreciate how ideas and media work together.

You’ve been winning lots of awards both locally and regionally, what makes Together different?

We built the agency for where media is today and will be tomorrow, so we’ve majored on strategy, data and analytics, and technology advisory. The next era of media will be one in which most paid media buying will be rule-based and automated alongside owned media like eDMs, so we’ve focused on where value will be created in this era: it isn’t media buying scale, it’s strategic thinking, custom data and analytics, marketing technology, and creative media partnership. Basically, the stuff that determines how that automation is put to work and adds business value.

Together are different due to being a certified Salesforce and Datorama consulting partner as well as Google, Facebook and Adobe partner. That means we’re really well placed to guide clients through how to transition to this next era.

We’ve also committed to challenging some of the legacy practices in the world of media. We’re big on transparency, on strategic partnership with our clients and in putting our client’s business, not a trading commitment or a global deal, first.

Is it fair to say that you’re a digital agency then?

No, and yes. We plan and buy across all media including TV. But if we fast forward a few years, most media, including TV, will be bought at least in part programmatically. This means the core skillsets of media planning and buying will be those in programmatic media teams currently. So, we’re mainstreaming that programmable planning approach early and have built the technology, data and analytics capability it needs.

Importantly we’ve done this without drinking the digital Kool Aid. We’re not a “digital agency” or a “performance agency” – the people that buy our clients’ brands don’t see the world like that, so why would we? We’re just as comfortable planning an innovative use of newspapers as we are building custom programmatic algorithms.

Where to next for media in 2022?

The themes have been well documented, it’s really about navigating the change better than your competitors. Every marketer and business need to understand how to use data, in particular their 1st party, to take greater control of their audience design for targeting and measurement with the sunsetting of cookies. That has to be combined with the ability to translate this insight into media buying through custom algorithms and bespoke data and inventory partnerships. This Paid media will also need to be planned alongside owned media so that total brand experiences are being orchestrated in ways that make sense for people. All this is a given, even if it’s not easy!

But with the further fragmentation of attention and the reduction in cultural visibility that programmatic inevitably brings, marketers also need to challenge their media agencies to think more creatively and ambitiously to generate impact. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in media strategy because it’s harder to find people in large volumes and to get their attention. So, 2022 should be the year that marketers challenge their media agencies to lead in data-driven audience design and activation, but also to think bigger and bolder, to create not just to buy, and ask how they’re creating real world impact and cultural momentum and not just targeted efficiency. We can’t wait!

Learn more about Together

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