CMO interview: Out-of-home's renaissance

Martech is evolving quickly, bringing a fresh raft of marketing opportunities and challenges says oOh!Media CMO Michaela Chan

oOh!Media's CMO Michaela Chan discusses the trials and tribulations of the marketing renaissance
oOh!Media's CMO Michaela Chan discusses the trials and tribulations of the marketing renaissance

Technology has driven a lot of change in the out-of-home advertising space and providers like oOh!Media have been working to harness these digital innovations to create campaigns that boost engagement and customer experience with brands.

But the fast-paced environment also brings with it a new wave of challenges, which are keeping OOH providers on their toes.

oOH!Media CMO, Michaela Chan, says while many suggest the OOH industry is going through a renaissance, it is the marketing and advertising industry as a whole that is experiencing an unprecedented rate of change, fuelled by technology and innovation across digitally enhanced data platforms.

“Marketers and advertisers must now deliver more than campaigns borne out of a clever creative strategy and an integrated media plan,” she tells CMO. “They have to demonstrate an audience-driven approach to effectiveness of those plans as a return on investment across the marketing funnel – awareness, consideration, trial and of course purchase underpinned by the successful application of technology.”

Chan sees the data-driven era of today as the evolution and inversion of the traditional below-the-line, direct response approach.

“Advertisers and marketers take a ‘one-to-one’, ‘one-to-some’ or ‘one-to-many’ approach, and as a result, they need to more quantifiably track customers’ path to purchase and ultimately measure the return on investment - optimising spend to deliver improved retention, acquisition and growth business results,” she says.

“For marketers to develop a sustainable strategy that will produce better business results, technology is more than an enabler. It is the cost of entry for improved success in employee engagement, acquisition and retention of customers, industry leadership and of course, ultimately improved shareholder return.”

Leveraging technology as a modern marketer

To better leverage technology to improve ROI and ultimately produce better results, Chan suggests starting with the end in mind by being clear on the business problem being solved. This is true for both B2B and B2C marketing.

“Marketers need to have absolute clarity on the measurable business objectives across the marketing funnel,” she added. “Then with this clarity, I believe marketers can apply the art of science in defining the marketing strategy or roadmap. More, they can apply computer science, namely software development, and take a similar approach when developing, managing and measuring a technology driven marketing strategy.”

Chan says defining the opportunity through an audience-based approach requires understanding the customer’s experience of the brand, product and what is their specific problem you are trying to solve.

“This includes defining their experiences across adjacent products and brands [including competitors] and the role media and messaging plays throughout the path to trial/purchase,” she continues. “You also need to bring together a cross-functional work team with a clear understanding of the functional areas of people, process, tasks and technology including senior sponsors, a steering committee and a decision making governance.”

Chan also stresses the need to take an agile approach when it comes to ideas creation, strategy development and managing and measuring the marketing program of work.

“It’s important to bring together a cross-functional group of subject matter experts from across the business and agencies who are inclusive, flexible and adaptable,” she says. “You need to test and learn - prepare to fail fast or iterate quickly. At the same time, you need to continuously measure success and understand root causes across people, process, tasks and technology to iterate and solve.”

Focus on people and infrastructure

At oOh!Media, Chan says her first priority is to build a solid marketing foundation, focusing on people and infrastructure.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for OOH and for oOh!media’s enduring success, this foundation is critical in a dynamically changing industry,” she says. “With a solid foundation in place, my next priority is to continue building upon our sophisticated audience insights and analytics, which I believe is the connective tissue converging online and offline OOH channels.

“This enables us to work even more closely with agencies and marketers to develop more engaging content, including integrating social and mobile channels with our diverse products and solutions.”

Having over 20 years’ experience in building brand equity and customer engagement at Autodesk, Fuji Xerox, Chevron-Caltex and Telstra, Chan has overseen multiple successful campaigns across a diverse range of industries. Prior to joining oOH!, she was general manager of marketing for Telstra, responsible for defining the strategic direction and tactical execution of advocacy marketing programs across consumer, SMB and enterprise segments through a customer-first approach.

One of Chan’s career highlights was building a new business segment for software company, Autodesk, that generated over a 35 per cent sales business plan, expanding Autodesk’s industry penetration during a down-turning economy by targeting c-level construction executives.

“We defined Autodesk’s brand communications division by locating and aggregating talent, building the framework and staff infrastructure from seven to a high performing team of over 35,” she explains. “We also built a creative and production services team to support and implement Autodesk’s global marketing organisation and its marketing and corporate asset requirements, including 1500-2500 deliverables per quarter.”

Having been in her role at oOh!Media for only seven months, Chan is already seeing a lot of industry changes on the horizon.

“In five years’ time, OOH will be the media technology innovator delivering personalised customer journeys across converged offline and online channels and by this time, these channels will be platform agnostic, both in the home and out of the home,” she claims. "Enabled through dynamic content and rich data, the industry will transform the consumer experience.

"As a marketer, it is an incredibly exciting time for oOh!Media along with its partners, clients and agencies.”

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