A detailed look at the changing landscape of media planning

With the media landscape changing rapidly, I turned to Joanna O’Connell, CMO of MediaMath, a leading independent programmatic firm for marketers, to better understand the impact of this change on marketers. Here are O’Connell’s thoughts. To read on O’Connell’s predictions for the future of media planning, click here.

Kimberly Whitler: How is the media planning landscape changing for marketers?

Joanna O’Connell: It is changing due to two simultaneous forces: first, consumer behaviors and attitudes are changing; and second, the ubiquitous availability of data and the advent of sophisticated technologies are changing what is possible in media planning and, most importantly, media buying, optimization and measurement. Because of how and where people now consume content and want to engage with and be involved with marketing, brands need to think about media management holistically, not just on channels, including paid (like display and video advertising) and owned (like their websites). , applications and messaging programs) — and devices, but also sources of supply, data sources and measurement approaches that consider both online and offline activity.

Whitler: Can you describe what you mean by sources of supply? What are they, how do they evolve?

O’Connell: The traditional way to develop a media plan is for a media buyer from an advertising agency (usually) to call, for example, Forbes.com – the source of supply in this example – and negotiate prices and placement by telephone. They would talk back and forth, over the phone and/or email, until a specific contract was finalized, in which case an insertion order would be emailed to the media provider. Then, finally, an ad tag would be generated and emailed, and so on. As you can see, bringing a media plan to life was extremely manual.

However, the world has moved on. Over the past few years, you’ve seen the rise of programmatic, where technology has allowed media buyers to plug into a platform and have direct, instant access to buyable inventory. In the early days of programmatic, ad inventory existed in a giant pool inside ad exchanges, which were essentially marketplaces. This was a huge process innovation. But that hasn’t yet solved the need for buyers and sellers to interact individually and contract pools of more specific inventory or audiences. Today, that has changed: the best of programmatic is still in place – process efficiency and real-time decision making and optimization, but you are seeing a return to direct relationships and negotiations. That said, the negotiations are about non-traditional things, such as referral rights, data rights, and so on. For example, as a buyer, I might want to negotiate with Forbes.com (the provider) for access rights to use their user data to inform my media program with Forbes.com and potentially even in outside the boundaries of Forbes.com. It requires direct interaction. Going forward, I think we’ll see more and more “traditional” type buying, where buyers and sellers negotiate on placement, audience, packaging, warranties and more – powered by programming.

Whitler: Can you describe the changes on the data side?

O’Connell: It has been a pendulum swing over the past ten years. Going back in time to the mid-2000s, you saw the rise of third-party data providers. These third-party data aggregators typically don’t own the data, but instead have integrated multiple data sources into audience segments that businesses can buy, enabling both insights and audience targeting. Agencies and their marketing clients had huge the value of using these third-party aggregators to target media audiences, as it took them out of the traditional confines of “content as audience proxy”, the paradigm used since the advent of advertising. Then, about five years ago, savvy marketers began to recognize that they already had valuable audience data, their own. 1st party data can come from a variety of places, including CRM databases, email campaigns, online and offline transactional data, etc. and can power both information and targeting, and the pendulum has swung sharply towards first-party data as the best and only answer.

Today, marketers realize that the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle – that is, first-party data is a great foundation that can be supplemented with second-party data ( back to my Forbes.com example above) and third parties to have a richer understanding of their best customers and create similar models based on those customers, all with the goal of targeting them with marketing to drive better results commercial.

Whitler: What are the changes that occur on the measurement side?

O’Connell: Measurement is the biggest ongoing challenge marketers face. The traditional measurement framework relies on modeling the marketing mix, using a top-down approach, i.e. regression analysis, to understand how different marketing channels and tactics influence purchase, typically in-store purchase. . These analyzes are big business; they would typically run about every six months or a year, with an output that would help a marketer understand the optimal channel mix.

Now, in the digital world, everything is both instantaneous and highly traceable, and therefore measurable. With multi-touch attribution, a bottom-up approach to understanding how individual digital marketing touchpoints lead to a user conversion (such as an online purchase), you can get near real-time insight into the performance of your marketing and your tactics. in interaction. What display ads did the consumer see? What search links did the consumer click on, etc., and how did those individual ad experiences contribute to that user’s behavior? And even better, we now live in a world where a marketer can directly transfer output from a multi-touch attribution system into a programmatic platform like ours to make smarter buying and optimization decisions. and in real time. What is still underdeveloped is the ability to fully connect all marketing interactions with the consumer to what happens in the store. There is significant progress in bridging the gap between online and offline journey mapping, but it is not yet closed.

Whitler: What does this mean for CMOs?

O’Connell: This means that marketers must soak up data, media, information and attribution, and they must rely on their partners, both on the agency and technology side, for the to help.

Whitler: Can you provide some specifics on how the media planning landscape specifically has changed?

O’Connell: It has changed on a lot of fronts. For example, I was a media planner and buyer at Razorfish (a large digital agency) in 2007. My job was to develop a media plan to achieve a CPA (cost per action) goal. I did this by spending time on the phone negotiating packages with individual publishers. As I described earlier, we were sending Excel spreadsheets back and forth and finalizing a contract manually. And then when the campaign launched, we had to upload the performance data, say, every week to see how things were going and we could make manual decisions on how to optimize the purchase. At that point, we pick up the phone to renegotiate the contract so we can change the plan. And all of that would influence how we planned the next campaign.

Now I can log into a platform and set a business goal, for example, return on ad spend (ROAS), define the target audiences I want to reach, and then launch a plan, all on one platform. form. The business objective I set in the platform will inform decisions and optimizations in real time. With today’s machine learning technology, the platform will get smarter over time, increasing performance.

Whitler: What does this mean for CMOs?

O’Connell: I was just on a panel and we were talking about how CMOs generally don’t understand the complexity of these changes. But CMOs understand that technology and data are now the levers that will dramatically improve performance and so they are leaning in more often to get more involved in decision-making. Where previously agencies had much more latitude in making decisions about data and technology partnerships, marketers are actually taking a more hands-on approach to decision-making. CMOs recognize that an excellent customer experience that transcends channels, formats, and devices will be powered by data and technology, and that effective business performance at scale will be the resulting benefits for their organization.

All in all, this means that marketers need to imbibe data, technology, and advanced measurement techniques to not only stay ahead of their competition, but also to drive real business results and extra for their businesses. These changes have the power to move marketing from the “cost center”, its traditional home, to the “revenue engine”, where it belongs.

Join the discussion: @KimWhitler @MediaMath @joannaoconnell

Want to learn more about CMO Insight? Check out the following: Deepak Advani (IBM); Duncan Aldred (Buick/GMC); Matthew Boyle (CMO, AAFCPA); Bill Campbell (CMO, Chatham University); Steve Cook (former CMO, Samsung); Rishi Dave (CMO, Dun & Bradstreet); John Dillon (CMO, Denny’s); Kristin Hambelton (CMO, Evariant); Jeff Jones (CMO, Target); Michele Kessler (CEO, thinkThin), Josh London (CMO, IDG); Antonio Lucio (CMO, HP); Josh London (CMO, IDG); Tim Mahoney (Global CMO, Global Chevrolet and Global Marketing Operations Leader, GM); Jim McGinnis (Intuit); Jim Melvin (former CEO and current CMO in Technology); C. David Minifie (CMO/EVP Corporate Strategy, Centene Corp); Joanna O’Connell (CMO, MediaMath); Anne Pritz (CMO, Sbarro); Martine Reardon (CMO, Macy’s); David Roman (CMO, Lenovo); Robin Saitz (CMO, Brainshark); Ajit Sivadasan (Lenovo); Ron Stoupa (CMO, Sports Authority); Ken Thewes (CMO, Regal Entertainment Group); Scott Vaughan (CMO, Integrate); Brent Walker (Marketing Director/Co-Founder, C2B Solutions); and Barry Westrum (Executive Vice President, International Dairy Queen).

Cathy W. Howerton