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Why are ad buying behaviors not following viewers?

Why are ad buying behaviors not following viewers? Lori Luechtefeld
Are marketers truly putting their dollars where they belong? It's no secret that consumer viewing behavior has changed dramatically in recent years and that advertisers (and the agencies that serve them) have struggled to keep pace. But change is happening.

In a panel presentation at the iMedia Content Summit in Huntington Beach, Calif., a panel of agency leaders discussed the latest shifts -- and gaps -- in consumer viewing behavior and ad buying behavior. Moderator Dina Marovich, SVP of media and interactive marketing for Paramount Home Media Distribution, put the first vital question to the panelists: How have you addressed the convergence of TV and online?

Jackie Kulesza, SVP and group director for video at Starcom USA, noted that her agency has restructured its teams to form one video group so that all teams are now responsible across all platforms. "You wouldn't think that structure matters, but it does," she said. And that's due to the need for teams to be accountable to clients for the ultimate impact of their ad spends.

Mike Margolin, SVP and director of audience strategy at RPA, noted that his agency has shifted from a channel-centric approach to an audience-centric one. Although he's found that shift has liberated his team from a strategy standpoint, it's not without its challenges.

Indeed, many agencies have dramatically altered their teams and approaches to recognize the shifts in TV, cable, and online viewing. But that doesn't mean the rest of the industry -- both clients and vendors -- have kept pace. "We would love to see the changes at the agency level replicated on the vendor side as well," Kulesza said. She called on vendors with multiple video solutions to integrate across those products. For vendors with single-point solutions, she urged them to stop focusing on the negative sell and instead look to pair their offerings for broader impact and understanding.

In terms of client budgets, agencies are dealing with a mixed bag as well. Some are looking at video as a single budget these days, while others are still pulling dollars from multiple places to address the shifting opportunity. Jeff Pray, VP and media director at Starcom Worldwide, noted that, while he'll take budget from wherever it can be found, more clients are recognizing the need to think more holistically about video spends.

Overall, it's up to agencies to hold their clients' hands in this regard, Margolin said. "It's the role of the agency to drive those conversations and shake clients out of their muscle memory," he said.

Lori Luechtefeld is principal of strategic content firm Wookit Media and an associate at WIT Strategy. In both roles, she works with a network of media and marketing professionals to devise and fulfill on content strategies that connect...

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