The £1.5bn spent on media each year by the grocery sector is about to become more accountable, more measured and more effective as the media industry finally begins to the answer the question: which part of my advertising media budget is being wasted?

A new industry - media optimisation - is emerging to tackle this problem. It’s driven by analysts and technology as much as media planners and buyers. Even the name, ‘media planning and buying’, suggests the process ends with the buying, when this is just part of the process.

In the afterglow of London 2012, one thing we can learn is that success comes from optimising every element of a process. Team GB cyclists did so well because they had analysed every factor of their success and made it better. Media optimisation takes the same approach to a media budget.

The startling fact is that the ratio of money spent on driving traffic to a website versus converting those visitors is, on average, 90:1. And without a single view, at least online, there can be confusion when it comes to understanding what is really working, what is influencing the consumer, and what is causing conversion to purchase.

Media optimisation helps unravel these mysteries by starting with technology to deliver better, more joined-up data. In this environment, the right questions of each element in the process can be asked. Could this be better? How much is this media worth? And even - based on real analysis and data - is this a waste of money?

The marketing team of the future will be built around media optimisation and they will focus on trading media profitably via online exchanges. The campaign will be based on a detailed understanding of the customer, their stage in the purchase cycle, their intent and hence their value to the business.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Clients say ‘we can’t track that’ or ‘we can’t change that’. But media optimisation is the only way to truly begin to answer these questions. It’s a journey, an interactive process, with benefits to be gained from small, incremental improvements.