Ben Shepherd writes: I was up in Sydney last week and got to meet with a stack of people to throw around ideas and thoughts about developments impacting on media right now. It was a great couple of days and I came back home feeling more informed about a few crucial areas that should shape the next 6 months
Right now the tools that allow us to measure the exclusive audience of a specific buy aren’t as good as they could be. Ditto for those that measure sales and de-duplicate the cause of said sales (especially if your campaign has multiple touchpoints – ie paid search, organic search, display, mobile … as well as TV, radio, outdoor etc). Another problem is some people/agencies don’t pay much attention to the idea of building cumulative audience and not hitting the same eyeball across 6 different buys. There will be much closer attention paid to this in 2009. The result … for agencies, they’ll need to be much more diligent with their data and much more honest with their clients in terms of educating them in this area. Products like Atlas’s Engagement Mapping and the UK product TagMan can help with this … publishers will need to be selling their UNIQUE audience … ie, the audience they effectively own … not the audience they share with 100 different websites. Which moves nicely into area 2 …
2/ Knowing your audience
Sales strategy/pre-sales (whatever you want to call it) is a really important part of a commercial department that unfortunately is woefully under serviced. Most sales strategy people are generally burnt out ex media agency people looking for an easier gig, or burnt out sales people the department isn’t sure where to move them to … and spend most of their time hammering out cookie cutter packages around topical events that really aren’t much of a big deal (Oscars, AFIs, Tennis) for the salesteam to sell with limited success. What they really should be doing is generating real insights about the audience that can’t be achieved via the tools we all use (ie Morgan, Nielsen) … but this doesn’t happen. In 2009 the smarter publishers will commission research and use technology that allows them to identify where there audience is – ie, Jim from Brighton, 35, heavy user of Finance and repeat visitor between 10-1pm. Agencies – they will partner with the publishers and technology providers to deliver this insight to their clients.
3/ Thinking outside the box
We had a meeting with one group who were talking about an initiative of there’s called the sales excellent group (or something similar – they did comment that the name was a bit hrm at the moment). Anyway – the name doesn’t matter – but the people they were inviting to this was where it really got interesting. I’m not going to go into detail but it showed that this group are doing things a little differently and as a result are generating some great new ideas. If you only operate within your divisional silo it will limit the ideas you can generate …
4/ The importance of bold statements
Vanilla optimism might have been the flavour of the past few years (everything is great, everyone is great, we’re all in this together) but a point of difference is key now and the task is to create one that will interest the market and give you an advantage. And please, no bold statements around discrediting other mediums … they’re boring and don’t work … and none around “accountability” and other cliches muttered when there’s nothing smart the person saying it can think of. I think we’ve evolved beyond that. For agencies, the same principal applies – what does your agency stand for? My soon to be boss, Kelly Clark, has a saying ‘you either finish first or last’ … which I think is brilliant (and possibly has been said by countless other people).
5/ Search and technology based ad platforms will benefit over the next 6 months
I think we should stop calling networks like Drive ‘performance’ … because I think that area is a tiny component of their larger master plan and benefits they can offer advertisers. Search will contnue to grow in 09 … not because of a desperate need for ‘accountability’ … moreso because there is so much more ground to cover in the area. Straight display media desperately needs some help from the FMCG and retail areas to match or beat 08 spend levels across the next 2 quarters.