Amanda Richman, executive VP and managing director of digital at MediaVest, knows digital: Not only does she lead the company's 180-person digital team, but digital has also doubled under her leadership. Scheduled to speak at ad:tech New York in November, she recently offered iMedia Connection a preview of what lies ahead -- both for the conference and for digital overall.
iMedia Connection: Every time we add a new screen, does the ad campaign immediately become more complex? What are the logistics necessary to stay current on all these platforms?
Amanda Richman: Developing campaigns for multiple platforms requires new approaches and a new discipline around understanding consumer behavior and need states. While that adds more dimensions to planning and activation, it also brings clarity to the purpose of each execution and what experience it must deliver. By focusing the client, media, and creative agency around defining the purpose of each campaign element, the message, and format best communicated, we might actually create great experiences -- not just advertisements.
iMedia: You've changed the way MediaVest approaches social media marketing. What lies ahead?
Richman: All media is social, but all social is not media. As we move to a paid/owned/earned model, social marketing becomes more than social media. It requires that we build our listening skills and practice, invest in platforms and tools that enable that, and rethink processes to put data and community feedback at the front-end of development -- not as a post-buy analysis.
We've shifted the conversation from "what's our social strategy" to "what conversation should we be a part of," and "how can communities participate in this campaign?" Social marketing has expanded beyond a siloed effort to, in essence, socialize all media and marketing. Social media is a layer to all media and marketing -- not a placement or a campaign.
iMedia: When approaching a campaign, how do you determine the mix (e.g., will the ads be strictly on television and social media, or on iPads as well)?
Richman: Understanding the consumer and the role the brand plays is the start of the planning process -- not the platform. Once we know her needs and relationship to the brand, we can begin to consider what services and content the brand can deliver to her, and then focus on what platforms do that best, in what sequence. Past performance validates those choices -- and new opportunities push us to reconsider and invest in new approaches.
iMedia: Where do you come down when it comes to ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs? Can you use these to manage multi-screen campaigns?
Richman: As the digital business scales, ad networks, exchanges, and DSPs are part of the equation. They help us find and deliver audiences efficiently -- and can be tools used in building the base of a multi-screen campaign. However, they aren't the only tool in the box; their role is usually complemented by contextual advertising -- and experiences built around content or applications -- that might leverage the audience data for relevance.
This past year, the dialogue has largely focused on the world of ad exchanges, DSPs, and the power of data to fuel a vast array of targeting capabilities -- and many of the rich conversations have been with our data partners, not creative partners. The industry has focused so much on the science of targeting -- on cookies, not consumers. We need to go beyond understanding not just their measurable actions as a series of cookie trails, but on the activity and their mindset at that time.
As video exchanges grow, and as that model eventually migrates to television and mobile advertising, the ability to segment and sequence content based on audience behaviors could be a tremendous opportunity. But we can't lose sight of the message that's being delivered through these new platforms -- or we've lost sight of half the equation.
There is a little messaging art to the science, which requires more dialogue, as well as data.