The art and science of media buying is changing. At a time when network ratings are sinking and niche cable programs continue to attract small, yet loyal, audiences, media professionals are now demanding new levels of audience details. In a highly fragmented media marketplace, broad demographics simply do not enable planners and buyers to make informed decisions.
Media-centric vs. human-centric
The popularity of new media channels has rendered many traditional channels obsolete. Today, consumers expect to interact with content anywhere, anytime. They also expect to share and discuss content experiences with others via social networks, making human-centric analysis the rule and media-centric analysis the exception.
However, a recent survey conducted by Sportgenic at an iMedia Brand Summit found that marketers continually struggle to integrate their ad campaigns:
- 41 percent agreed that coordinating marketing efforts across internal departments (brand, promotions, sports marketing, etc.) was often difficult at their companies.
- 39 percent of marketers found it tough to negotiate efficient cross-platform deals with publishers and media companies.
- 38 percent found it a struggle to field campaigns across multiple media channels.
The role of data
Although heavily reliant on quantitative analysis and large complex data sets, much of media planning and buying has been influenced by factors such as precedent and intuition. It's been historically impossible to evaluate the thousands upon thousands of media vehicles.
This has put media planning and buying in a difficult position. Advertisers are increasingly demanding the kind of visibility and accountability found in direct response and online marketing. Yet, there are no comparably easy solutions for media planning and buying decision-makers. Too many of the needed data sets reside behind organizational firewalls and are inaccessible for analysis. Others are too expensive. Metrics across channels are also not easily matched for clear campaign planning or for post-campaign measurement.
Critical to this changing environment is the consumer expectation that they can pull the information and entertainment they need, when they need it, and wherever they want it. Local relevance is also fast becoming important.
Proliferating touchpoints, new ROI measures
How did the industry begin to get its arms around this speeding bullet? Initially, third-party data processors fused hub data sets with other channel datasets (and/ or proprietary surveys from agencies). This offered the option of using hub data to define the target and product user, while pulling in currency ratings from integrated data sets.
Now, thanks to new technology, it's possible to use a wide variety of data to create comprehensive profiles of your target consumers and use that information to determine the most appropriate media channels and make better media buying decisions. It is about making a distinction between what people buy and their demographic affiliations.
This entails taking a name and address, matching it to product or service user information from a company, and appending it to media usage data from media owners. Once matched and appended, with personal information removed, the resulting database allows the brand owner, agency, or media owner to follow the consumer during a given campaign. Next, it provides a broad view of the media ecosystem that is not limited to a specific channel. Third, it uses audience data direct from media owners to answer the question, "Did the needle move?"
A recent Day in the Life survey by Middletown Media Studies highlighted some of the key reasons why actual data can provide more granular insight into ROI. It indicated that next-day telephone interviews understate TV use by 62 percent and magazine use by 43 percent when compared with observation. Diaries also understate media consumption patterns, 13 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
More data, used effectively
Thanks to the availability and access to data, new details -- including product usage -- for key audiences can be known. It's making a distinction between what people buy versus what their demographic affiliations are. Data, correctly integrated and utilized from multiple sources, will help you discover "aha" moments that will enable you to achieve the best results.
A logical way to implement 360-degree media planning is with an integrated data warehouse that provides a holistic view of how the target audience interacts with the brand within a certain medium. This further empowers the planning team to tailor the brand message to relevant media. These warehouses may include or enable:
- Census-like data that has traditionally not been a part of the mass media advertising space
- Campaign analytics to gain visibility into the process of media planning and buying
- Post-campaign performance metrics new details, including product usage, for key
The media industry has been relying on siloed data for several decades. Today, the consumer must be firmly at the center of the planning process. The ability to plan and sell media across channels, with scale, is critical to reach these audiences in the most effective way possible.
Craig Gugel is chief research officer at LogicLab.
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