If creative, media and technology were bedfellows

Jason Dooris

Jason Dooris is the CEO and founder of growing Atomic 212, Australia's fastest growing media and marketing agency on the BRW 2014 list. Over the past 20 years, Jason has held a variety of senior local and global industry positions including CEO MediaCom UK, deputy CEO MediaCom Europe, GM Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, GM Ogilvy & Mather Australia, GM Dentsu Aegis Australia and consulting practice director, Deloitte Asia. His vertical experience covers most categories with a particular focus on retail, automotive and FMCG.

It’s become crystal clear that if you’re going to be successful in the ever-shifting marketing landscape, you need to be able to change direction, and fast. Fluidity and agility are key, and that’s why having technology, media and creative playing on the same team is going to be crucial for the successful marketer or agency.

Once upon a time, it was enough to simply go out and get your client space, then let a creative team worry about how to fill it, or vice-versa. But in the current climate, content needs to be fast and reactive, but also highly relevant to its environment and audience.

We live in an on-demand world. The rise of mobile and streaming services means people expect to see, hear or experience what they want, when they want. Throw in the new challenge of adblockers and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve cut through.

Attracting an audience is virtually impossible if you maintain the old-world attitude of simply believing your creative can merely be placed without having a highly targeted, bespoke and channel-relevant approach that gains insights from data and makes use of technology.

It’s, as I’ve long advocated, all about the deaths of silos. It’s just so rare these days that the answer to any client’s needs will be fulfilled by a single part of the advertising pie. A successful campaign requires data-driven insights and could feature mobile, social, search – not like the old days, when it was just a case of print, radio and TV.

Not only will a data team be required from the outset to work with creative, it’s vital to have a voice from performance, planning buying present and heard if you’re going to create a well-rounded campaign.

Because there’s no use buying the best-seen space for the perfect demographic if the creative serves up a lousy campaign, and on the flipside, it doesn’t matter how brilliantly you present a brand’s message if no one sees it.

Obviously, you need someone taking point throughout the process, ideally a channel-agnostic all-rounder who can see the whole board and get the various – often wildly different – teams and their ideas to sing in harmony. But that person shouldn’t have to be the client, which is virtually the role they are left with when they are left to manage creative, media, data and the dozens of services that are in the market.

The 2016 State of Inbound Report, compiled by Hubspot, provided insights into the most common marketing problems faced by practitioners. Spoiler alert: They were hugely varied.

While ‘generating traffic and leads’ was way out in front, nominated as a top problem by 65 per cent of respondents, other significant issues included ‘proving the ROI of marketing activities’, ‘managing our website’, and ‘identifying the right technologies for your needs’, which all rated 25 per cent or higher. In other words, the skillsets marketers need to solve their widely varying problems are incredibly disparate.

It’s simply too hard to have the level of speed and agility that’s required in the current climate if you have to wrangle a bunch of different teams, particularly since each will likely have different and often competing ideas for how best to execute a campaign, with different goals and different KPIs.

Having all the services under the one roof, singing from the same hymn sheet, provides the best value proposition for the client, with the fewest bumps in the road for them as well.

Return of the full-service agency

In a lot of ways, it’s been somewhat funny to watch the rise of the full-service agency, with it very much feeling like the industry has come full circle.

Where we’ve seen a gradual fracture of the industry – first with agencies being split into buying and creative, and then further and further as the likes of PR, search and social came into the mix – there is now a belief that perhaps we had it right to begin with, keeping as much of the operation as possible in the one agency. Of course, the full-service model of today’s world looks nothing like the full-service advertising agencies of days gone by.

Obviously I’m biased in this regard, in that it’s the method we employ at Atomic 212, but I’m very much putting my money where my mouth is. I genuinely believe it’s the best method for getting results. It’s also why we’re really ramping up our full-service credentials, bringing in digital native, Jonas Lembke, as our company’s first-ever executive creative director. Creative needs to work in tandem with data, technology and the media team.

Our industry is in constant revolution (I suspect the thrill of the uncertain is a big part of why so many of us love our jobs), so it would be silly to say this is the only method that works.

But right now, having technology, media and creative working side by side doesn’t just make sense, it’s vital for making campaigns that speak to the savvy, always-on consumers who are now our audience.

Tags: agency management, marketing strategy

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