Smarter Media. Easily said. Slips from the tongue like a pat of well-oiled butter. But what does it mean in practice? For all that it’s easy to say, it’s also quite hard to wrestle into some sort of meaning. Of course it would be, it’s well-oiled butter. Smarter Media describes our attitude to what we do and how we do it, and it goes some way to describing why we’re passionate about it too; the personal pride we all take in being more than just a booking shop. Ultimately it comes down to helping our clients to understand their audience and ensuring that we provide the most cost-effective ways to reach them. Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is to tell you some of the things that we know…
- Despite what your current agency might tell you, a modest budget is not an obstacle to a truly integrated media campaign
With every passing day it makes less sense for media agencies to segment their teams by discipline. That is, it makes less sense from the client’s perspective. The operational and commercial needs of the agency may well dictate otherwise. Our position is that an understanding of how different media interact is essential to the provision of strong media campaigns. We’ve shown countless times that over a multi-touchpoint buying cycle, the integration of different media channels is the best way to extract the value from the campaign investment. Think about all the different types of media you consume over the course of a day: your customers are no different, and if they’re available in that many places, it’s our job to put your message in as many of those places as possible. This is why all our account handlers are generalists. We have specialist resource to call upon, but the person on the end of the phone or turning up each month at your meetings is an expert across the full media gamut. If you’re being told that your budget is enough for a press campaign or some social activity but not both, you’re talking to the wrong people.
- Data and insight are two very different things. It is the remit of the media agency to supply both
We’ve got all sorts of fantastic tools that will cheerily disgorge numbers until the seas rise up and enfold the mountains in their salty fury. But none of that will be of much use to you without the benefit of some context and some insight. The phenomenologists would have you believe that this is because the text and its interpretation contribute equally to the generation of understanding. We prefer to say that the stuff we know is every bit as valuable to our clients as the stuff we know how to do: the skillset and the experience working together; data and insight; knowledge and wisdom; the TGI run and the person telling you why it matters.
- Sometimes the medium is the message
This gets more true the more you think about it. The understanding gleaned from a message can only ever be an emergent property of the way it is relayed. The way you say things says quite a lot about what you’re saying. Ultimately, everything is content. In practical terms this means that a strong dialogue with partner agencies is central to pretty much everything we do. We have long and enduring relationships with dozens of creative and PR firms that are testament to our belief that it’s essential that the full comms planning team work together to achieve their shared goals.
- Every booking is an opportunity to learn about your audience and their habits
When you make a media booking you’re investing in an opportunity to learn about how your audience interacts with that channel and that message. Modern technology gives us a far better understanding than ever before of precisely which media work hardest for a given brief. This is why we don’t treat reporting as an afterthought, we put it front and centre of every campaign and adjust investment in real time to ensure that we do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Before we make the first booking we need to agree with all partners about exactly what success looks like: how are we going to measure response? What is a good outcome for this activity? This means that if we can see at the end of week two that Facebook is yielding a lower cost per sale than GDN, or that your customers tend to buy on their PC more readily than on their phone, we can adjust your spend to match, and so improve the efficacy of your campaign as it unfolds.
- 50 rabbits do not make a tiger
Such a beautiful statement that I’m reluctant to say anymore on the subject. But to put it another way, we know that not all responses are created equally. Costs per click are of little import if cost per goal figures are also available. Similarly, you won’t find us pulling your results back to a cost per sale and ignoring basket size, or pretending that somebody downloading a brochure without giving you so much as an email address is as valuable as someone picking up the phone to speak to a member of your sales team. It’s our job to have access to the widest array of metrics possible and then talk to you frankly and openly about the ones that matter
- Thinking can be fast and slow
There is a significant difference between the decisions that arise instantaneously from bias, habit and heuristics, and decisions that are the result of weeks of research, reflection and discussion. Different media speak to these decisions in different ways and this is an essential factor in deciding the media mix. This is also why we like to give support and insight on CRM communications with clients’ prospects. The media conversation doesn’t begin and end with reach and frequency: we also need to consider the mindset of the consumer when they see your message- yes airport outdoor will reach an upmarket audience, but are they in an appropriate frame of mind to consider life-changing purchases? Sometimes household purchases need household targeting, and with the right tech we can do just that, putting your message across every device within a home.
- There’s always a deal to be done
The price isn’t always the price, and our media buyers don’t just sit at a desk issuing purchase orders all day. Every booking is haggled to within an inch of its life, with further discounts secured for the client and every last ounce of free additional activity secured. Editorial alongside a press ad, first in break for your radio campaign, a couple of free mentions from the magazine’s Twitter account: all of these things are up for discussion. The value added to your media schedule should be limited only by the imagination and persistence of your agency.
Space and Time Media – smarter media solutions for a connected world.