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Omnicom Media Group (OMG) received the strongest current offering score in Forrester Research’s recently released analysis of global media services. The holding company, which includes media agencies, OMD, PHD and Hearts & Science, led in six different evaluated areas: retail media, commerce, audience intelligence capabilities, optimization, innovation road map and operations automation.

The report, “The Forrester Wave: Global Media Management Services,” evaluated seven global media groups. Among them, Omnicom Media Group and Publicis Media were the only two named as a “Leader,” and newly formed Stagwell Media Group entered the evaluation as a “Contender.”

The report comes at a time when its mission critical for CMOs to make a media agency choice that is smart, defendable and long-lasting. Every dollar spent must be justifiable, optimized and impactful.

FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) is ever-present in the C-Suite. The pressure to deliver increased revenue to internal and external constituents means that you are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ways to succeed. Yet, keeping up with the ever-changing dynamics of the marketplace — along with the exponential integration of data into the workflow and proliferation of proprietary tools — can be a daunting, if not a Sisyphean, endeavor.

Since 2018 Forrester Research has been providing an intense evaluation of the offerings of media services as part of its Category 2 Forrester Wave. This year, however, instead of focusing on individual media agencies, Forrester chose to move up a level, to the entities that represent the roll-up of the individual agency brands across each holding company.

“The large enterprise media organizations were creating a great deal of services, products and accelerators at a group level,” says Jay Pattisal, Principal Analyst at Forrester and primary author of the report. “These were becoming central resources for individual agencies. While we were waving individual agencies, we weren’t picking up on these services, so we decided to look at it on a group network [basis].”

Pattisal stresses that this report is not a report card. Instead, it’s meant to provide critical intelligence to CMOs and others involved with choosing agencies. “To be listed in the wave is a signal to the marketplace that these are the leading companies that should be considered,” he explains. “Which of these companies is best suited for your individual needs? Which strategy and set of capabilities are what you are looking for? The report is meant to be a guide to answer the question, Which agency best suits you?”

The report looks across 19 attributes. Among them are planning and buying, performance media, innovation roadmap, media billings, current offering, strategy and market presence. Each attribute is scored at a 0-5 scale, and the categories are then weighted.

Pattisal points to Omnicom’s Omni operating platform as one of the key contributing factors to OMG’s high ranking, along with a recent focus on commerce and retail partnerships to enhance their datasets. “Omni is a sophisticated piece of software that is used to deliver its identity and insights capabilities and creative inspiration tools across its entire network from OMD to Jump 450,” he says.

According to OMG’s Global CEO, Florian Adamski, the survey process itself was hardcore and rigorous, similar to what a leading agency would go through in preparing itself for a major global new business pitch. “‘The Forrester Wave: Global Media Management Services’ is probably the most qualified source of industry capabilities and end-to-end solutions in the marketplace,” Adamski says. “While there are other sources out there, very few have the awareness and reputation of Forrester. They are so well known within the C-Suite, that you know if they give you the nod, it is meaningful and bodes well for your business.”

Recently Omnicom Media Group has made a massive push in partnering with several top retailers, from both a media and data perspective, establishing many first-mover relationships. “We are the first holding company to work directly with Walmart for exclusive data sets, which enables us to implement true cross-screen planning,” Adamski notes. “We work with Instacart in a respectful and completely privacy-compliant way to use their data in a clean-room environment. We have created an industry-first breakthrough innovative program with Kroger to tap into their shelf and supply chain analytics, allowing us to dial up or dial down campaigns based on inventory levels.

“Amazon has credited us with being one of their deepest partners with over 1,500 Omnicom Media Group employees having gained Amazon Certification. We have also integrated the Amazon Marketing cloud into our Omni platform,” Adamski adds. These retail media and data integrations are becoming far more important as general usage of third-party data is twilighted. Retail media is becoming so vital that Forrester included it as one of the 19 attributes in their evaluation criteria.

With both economic volatility and data and privacy legislation at a global, national and local level increasing in velocity, how is OMG looking to retain its dominant position in the report? Adamski emphasizes the importance of the Omni platform: “As we look at some of the greatest challenges ahead of our industry — cookie-less and consumer-data privacy — it now starts paying off that we have built our technology and data foundation with a privacy-first mindset. Forrester summed it up best in this latest wave when they stated [that] OMG’s strength lies in our ability to innovate Omni. Its flexibility gives us an advantage in an ever-changing consumer and regulatory environment.”

According to Forrester, the study takes what can very easily become a subjective and complex evaluation process and establishes clear and relevant criteria that can be scored by an unbiased third party. For agencies, while the process is arduous, most find it an extremely valuable thought exercise that forces a much-needed introspection to help establish and drive their future evolution.