Precision, control and growth top of the CMO media agenda

AANA event presents the latest update on how marketers are striving to tackle the media supply chain to drive growth and outcome-based results

Waste, control, precision and growth: Those are the four key imperatives for marketers raised at this week’s Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) event in Sydney.

The forum, entitled ‘The Media challenge: One year on’, was a follow-on from the association’s ‘Media Challenge’ last March, aimed at helping advertisers better navigate and build capability around growing complexity of the media supply chain, as well as gain better transparency and return off their media investments.

This week’s local event was supported by new AANA partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and its CMO Advisory group, and took its cues from the recent US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) media conference in Orlando, Florida. That three-day event featured speakers such as Procter & Gamble’s CMO, ANA chairman and leading advocate for digital advertising transformation, Marc Pritchard, who shared how the FMCG giant is continuing to shake-up its media approach as it strives to cut waste from the supply chain.

P&G revealed a four-point plan for such change 12 months ago with a heavy emphasis on measurability, accountability and transparency. A year later, Pritchard said P&G has significantly improved on wastage and optimisation and is now looking to drive precision marketing at mass scale.

His list of steps forwarded included culling the list of publishers P&G works with from thousands to 200 key partners, the creation of a data lab to drive more innovative media activity, a growing investment into influencer and pull marketing, and a shift in culture from brand managers to “brand entrepreneurs”.

Other large brand players on stage during the US event reflected a similar focus on these areas and on wrestling back control of their media spend and approach. Target, Nationwide and Unilever, for example, shared their journeys towards more people- and precision-based media approaches by investing in programmatic trading desks and media specialists in-house, as well as building their own first-party data platforms.

“Segmentation strategy is becoming the new media plan,” one of the speakers said.

Importantly, brand leaders consistently reflected the growing need for marketers to take back control of media.

“CMOs are taking back control,” ANA chief, Bob Liodice, commented. “The reality is the marketing community has essentially outsourced much of its progress and ceded control to the agencies, media suppliers and vendors. What we have found, at least in the US, is our industry is not growing as well as it needs to.

“So it’s time for CMOs to take our industry back. It’s about looking at the marketing strategies we employ, and rather than just outsourcing them or conducting business at an arm’s length, we have to own it and be accountable for it.

“What Marc Pritchard has done is get involved, by getting his hands dirty and going into the weeds. He’s seen what our problems and opportunities are first-hand. That made him far more effective in his ability to understand the strategies and operating tactics necessary to be able to advance his brand building cause.”

Of course, not even company is of the scale of P&G and there’s a long tail of smaller advertisers that need to be considered in all this, Liodice said. Many are just waking up what these challenges are and what needs to be done to prosecute these changes, he admitted.

“They don’t necessarily have the resources and they’re going to have be more creative and agile to make that happen,” he said. “We have to get the balance of our industry to march online in unison so we can spread the wealth of knowledge and institutional learning across everyone.”

What’s also clear is the agenda right now is extraordinarily complex, Liodice added. “Marketers have to siphon through what’s fundamentally important to their companies in order of priorities and what’s of most important to them. It’s not easy to do.

“We’ve been blinded by the shiny object and distracted by the many ways all these opportunities in new media environments presented. We have taken our eye off the ball.”

How to get there

Off the back of the presentations, PwC CMO Advisory partner and host of the forum, Sunita Gloster, and the AANA team articulated 10 consistent threads in how the industry is working to rectify the issue.

The first is the move from mass waste to mass precision, and of targeting audiences across channels, rather than by channel. The second was transparency works to follow the money and embed tools and technology to identify waste and deliver growth, Gloster said.

“If you control the money, you control the problems,” she said.

Third was to review and update agency contracts regularly, while the fourth was to lean in to media and upskill teams by developing more of a ‘brand entrepreneur’ mentality. Fifth was prioritising media and audience measurement, third-party verification and auditing.  

Also on the takeaway list was to taking better control of first-party data platforms client-side, as it’s the key to gaining a single view of your audience. Seventh, was minimising technology and media supply touchpoints the brand and customer. Reduce frequency and clutter was another catchcry, as was aligning and integrate influencer marketing with mass, precision media. Finally, simplify process and structure internally and with agency partners.

“The four words that really encapsulate the transformation forces underway in the US were waste, control, precision and growth. And transparency was the ‘kryptonite’ that allowed for us,” Gloster concluded.

For Liodice, transparency and measurement are also key to helping ensure all understand what’s happening. “We need all of us to be able to follow the money, but the way the client/agency community was going several years ago, no one was able to follow the money,” he said. “As such, the decision-making capability of clients was hampered… by not knowing where money is going and the outcome of these investments we’re making.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu  


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