So what do they do in their day and how do they see 2012 shaping up?
For Nick Sheth there are two areas of work, managing online efforts globally (The Gap, Banana Republic Old Navy and others...) and business development. In 2012 he is thinking of how to take better advantage of the vast amounts of data, and how to measure so they can be more effective. The Gap companies have over 7 terabytes of user data that is comprised in the hundreds of millions of users. The shear scope of the possibilities for that data are almost endless so the really true insights come form the intelligent question to ask first, before the data is accessed to see if there are correlations. That is how he sees his company being able to provide insight into what products, services and marketing that his customers really want.
In Beverly Jackson's case, she only half jokes that the majority of her day is spent in meetings. She is in charge of the media programs and creating the digital footprint beyond the Grammy show. One of her insights is that many people think that it is just one show, but beyond the yearly show we all recognize the Grammy's puts on over 200 events a year. She spends a lot of time vetting agencies. For 2012, she is thinking a lot about Social television and engagement beyond the four corners of the television screen; engagement beyond the show. And what are the Social analytics of the television show?
Linda Cronin works in connection planning and investment, but more succinctly she works on the brands with bubbles. For 2012 she is continuing the journey of getting better at the planning owned, earned, paid and shared media, rather than looking at them as disparate parts; co-creating the PR plan and everything else. For her it is Expressions more than Impressions, however her caution to us all is that they cannot be separated. That engagement does not happen without the awareness you generate. She is looking beyond her paid media, at their owned media in everything from their vending machines, to their trucks, to their Facebook page. She is analyzing her shared media with their customers. And she is focusing on "Shared" media. Shared media? Many of us know, Paid, Owned and Earned media. But what is Shared? Well, for brands like Coca-Cola, they partner with a lot of companies. They do not always own that media. When they have partnerships with marketing assets like the Olympics or with WallMart with a hoiday program in cinemas they use inventory not owned by them.
Beverly reminded us the The Grammy's is almost entirely built on Shared media. For the first time they are sharing media with CBS. So how do they connect to the information on the Grammy's in a personal way? To her point someone is either invested in the music artist or not. But how do they get them to comment on that? That's Social Television, and that is what her mission is. Her concerns and what she works on is to figure out how do they measure that? What does that look like? It's a struggle to bring that together.
For all of our panelists 2012 is about measurement. A lot of them have brands within their brands that serve different functions. Now they are thinking much more broadly about the effectiveness of their media and how can they work together better within their organization.
So how do these companies attrubute when they measure? Attribution is at the core of measurement. At Gap they are trying to triangulate a solution. They traditionally used a media-mix model. As their spend moved online, media-mix modelers have not really been able to integrate online. So they are using the direct attribution technologies, and data-match technologiers, and media-mix to try and get at a solution.
What about going direct to technology providers? A lot of times agencies get bent out of shape when clients do an end-around when they go direct to technology.
Linda wants to make sure that the roles of agencies are distinct, but that they should not be going around their agency partners. She advises that if you are an agency, be a confident one. If there is a trusting partnership and collaboration, there should be a briefing of what happened. Nick says they are not talking to other folks to keep the agency out of the loop but the implementation is often easier to do. However, agencies should remember that the client does not usually have the resources to productionalize those solution, so if you are an agency keep abreast of what the client is doing so that you can eventually get the production aspects of those larger integrations at your agency.
And if you are trying to propose technological solutions Beverly says to be mindful of the technology that the company has in place. You have to often work within the existing system. Yes, she understands that whatever system you are proposing may be more efficient and a better proposed technology for that particular project but these companies have systems already in place that they have to access for other purposes all year long. They are not going to jeopardize their year-long businesses for a custom solution that is not tied into the rest. They have a business to run that is broader than a single project. Understand that.
In the end they all agree that the keys to 2012 will be deriving insights from the measurement they are doing to make the correct decisions. If you are an agency, you should show the need for data, and outline for their business how the data will give insights as to what will be impactful to their business. Good advice from three people who deal with a lot of agencies.