Manuela Vasiliu (United Media Services): “Strategic consultancy is still the differentiator between a business partner and just a service provider”

Newsroom 07/03/2023 | 12:34

A full-service, digitally minded media agency with offices in Bucharest, and with regional coordination capabilities, United Media Services is working with more than 60 clients and 100 brands covering most dynamic and challenging categories: retail, pharma, telecom, e-comm, FMCGs, financial and more. BR sat down with Manuela Vasiliu, managing director, and found out details about how 2022 went for the agency and the media industry, what are the challenges, as well as what to expect and wish from 2023 and the new trends.

 

How was 2022 from a business point of view?

It was a productive year, with good market dynamics, new business opportunities and a favorable context for business and skills development. For United Media Services it was a year of growth in terms of figures, a year of consolidating the long-term partnerships and starting new ones.

What were the most important changes & novelties in the agency in 2022?

As you know, the digital area is developing fast and foremost in the latest years and we, at United Media Services, have a focus on building on this background and diversifying our area of services.

We think that understanding and effectively using the data has become essential for our business and for our clients. Hence, we are proud that we strengthened our expertise in data and analytics which generated significant new business.

In the same line of novelties, we are now an official Google Marketing Platform partner.

GMP certification is the most advanced and rigorous Google advertising program, besides the existing one where we were certified a long time ago. Being the first full service media agency with such a certification is very rewarding for our team.

Generally, it was a very intense year in the marcomm industry with many projects and campaigns until the last days. Was it the same for United Media Services?

We can definitely say that 2022 was an intense period, with high dynamics and many projects covering all year, some actually dedicated to Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

We have clients with different communication periods, some have focus during the warm season others concentrate in Q4, others prefer continuity. So basically, we are happy to be busy the entire year.

What about the pitches you entered?

The media market is well known for its competitiveness and United Media Services has grown mostly by engaging into many pitches and winning them, and last year was no exception. We are happy to have added new business, from different activity sectors (FMCG, Pharma, E-comm, Home & Gardening) and also to confirm long-term partnerships.

What do you wish for 2023?

I strongly believe that we are a player in an ever-evolving market, which allows us to permanently transform, learn and develop. It keeps us young at heart. 😊

What we mostly wish for 2023 is development and growth opportunities, in which we can operate with our extended portfolio of services. That includes projects with our existing partners as well as new ones. We also wish and hope for a good year for all our business partners as well as for us.

What did clients want the most in 2022? Do you see any changes in their approaches?

Since 2022 was a year with an historic level of inflation, the higher costs of supplies and utilities were a real challenge for most of the clients, disregarding the sector. Therefore, we noticed an increased attention to resources and efforts to mitigate the inflation impact in order not to affect communication and further, sales and KPIs. It was even more focus on data, measurability, optimization tactics, ROI.

What do you consider the latest trends that are arriving in the marcomm industry and why? Where do you see the Romanian marcomm industry compared to the European marcomm industry?

I believe that the future stays under the sign of digital technology and the marcom industry must keep the pace to remain relevant to consumers. Shifting strategies around the latest trends related to tech progress will help companies gain a competitive edge.

More precisely, what we are looking at is improved user experience across a system of devices, agile marketing, interactive content adapted to each channel and audience, new targeting solutions for the cookieless era etc.

Romanian marketeers keep a close eye on wherever the world is moving to and adjust their business approaches, of course, considering the local limitations.

Where do you believe to be our industry’s main problems and how can they be changed?

I think we are still struggling with the lack of qualified, senior man power. It is very difficult to recruit because we are looking at a small database at the moment.

How much of an important role are still having the consultancy and the strategy in 2023?

Strategic consultancy is still the differentiator between a business partner and just a service provider. I believe these are still fundamentals in building a partnership with a client, especially a long-term one. At United Media Services, when starting a collaboration, firstly, we want to understand the client’s business so we can deliver solutions to help solving business problems through media strategies, not just producing a media mix and competitive prices.

What about data and research? 

Data has become essential in the last years and knowing how to use it properly and effectively assures a great competitive advantage in our market. At United Media Services, we work with large data sets to get valuable, actionable insights for our clients’ businesses.

Data gets more important in the context of e-commerce expansion. Hence the need to measure more and to have more insights and traceability between the invested resources and sales or other KPIs.

What are the trends in performance media in 2023, from your point of view?

Understanding consumer behavior and using data to enhance performance campaigns, using automation to tackle high fragmentation we see in digital advertising, dynamic content personalization.

Do we still see the impact of the pandemic? How do you react and adapt?

The impact of the pandemic is diminishing by the year, but we can still remark on some changes that remained in people’s behavior. Some are related to media consumption (more time spent online, for all generations), shopping (more e-commerce), more centered on wellbeing etc.

Of course, we address these insights to our clients, and we recommend actionable tactics in line with these findings in order to remain relevant to their target audiences.

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