Generally speaking, paid media is more expensive and not producing the audiences and outcomes that it used to, according to the head of IPG Mediabrands. So one of the ways that media agencies must become more dynamic organizations is by helping clients connect paid media with the bigger ecosystem of channels and consumer touch points.

In an interview with Beet.TV, Mat Baxter, the network’s Global Chief Strategy & Creative Officer, says that one of the most efficient things from which clients can realize value is their own “asset base.” He likens it to the difference between owning and renting an apartment: you can rent it only as long as you pay the rent.

“Clients are starting to realize that if they can build their own assets with their own audiences and leverage those on an ongoing basis, the efficacy and the cost of managing those assets over time is less,” Baxter says. “We’re starting to look at how do we connect paid media, which continues to be really important, into a bigger ecosystem of channels that are more sustaining than just paid media on their own.”

Citing the traditional “set-and-forget” media duties—plan a campaign, buy a campaign, wait until it’s done to judge success—Baxter says being a more dynamic media agency means, “Actually starting to understand how media is performing in real time. Not just across paid media but across every touch point a client might have.”

He believes the distinction between what’s deemed creativity versus media is a moot point.

“The channel and the message are fused in such a seamless way that it’s really difficult to make that separation anymore.”

A first-time judge at the upcoming Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Baxter says that the proliferation of consumer data is enriching the creative process. But it takes a different mindset to embrace all of that information.

“A lot of people used to think that data and rigor were like enemies of creativity, that creativity was limited sometimes by structure and process,” Baxter says. “Actually, it’s quite empowering. You can improve the creative product.”

This interview is part of our series “The Road to Cannes”, presented by FreeWheel. Please visit this page for additional segments.