At the core of our business is a network of talented marketing professionals.
The skills, experiences and knowledge of this team enable us to provide a smart and integrated solution to many marketing challenges. It is what helps us to stand apart in a crowded market place – we won’t prescribe one solution to your needs just because that’s all we sell. You can find out more about our approach here.
Our ongoing success will be based on our ability to integrate new talent into our team, both full time staff and as part of our network. A recent addition is Griff Leader, a seasoned advertising industry professional with a deep understanding of the media landscape.
Griff strengthens our ability to provide media strategy, planning and buying services, which will no doubt be of value to our clients wanting to pursue brand campaigns.
I was delighted when Griff agreed to join the Klaxon associate network and asked him to introduce himself by way of a short interview. So here goes…
What’s your name and area of expertise?
My name’s Griff Leader and I’m an International media communications specialist.
Where did you learn your trade?
I have worked in agencies mostly, including MEC, Mindshare Worldwide and OMD International, but also in sales at Eurosport and IMG. In my experience I’ve managed client businesses for high-profile brands including Rolex, Hilton Worldwide, Ericsson, ABN AMRO and BP/Castrol amongst others.
How has your area of expertise changed in the last 12 months and how will it change in the next 12 months?
2014 has seen marketers start to think about how technology is changing consumer behaviour and their attitudes toward commercial messaging. With a growing ability for consumers to choose between brands, products and whether to engage with messaging, marketing tactics are having to change in order to remain influential and ahead of the competition.
For me, there are 3 key areas that have grown to almost dominate client/marketing conversations and will continue to do so over the next 12 months too:
Increasingly, any marketing/owned collateral can be termed content and used in communications. As such, the race has been on to amplify messages in the same way as display advertising has gained rapid scale and fame for brands and products. Almost every brand now needs a content strategy and where this has been applied success has often been varied. This is because the evidence of a value exchange i.e. what does the consumer get out of having spent the time to engage with your message, has been mixed in many instances.
Some notable examples, for better or, often times, worse are:
• DOVE Patches – following on from Unilever’s Real Beauty films, these films came in for a lot of criticism and even parody, with the Guardian describing the messages as “washed-down corporate brand of feminism”.
• PADDY POWER – noted for it’s disruption marketing techniques, the betting firm went a little too far when they offered odds against Oscar Pistorius walking free from his trial for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. The ASA even went as far as to say the campaign brought advertising into disrepute.
• BBC God Only Knows – whilst technically not an advert, this clever music video spans all music tastes and creates broad appeal using a song that no-one can dislike and has already gained almost 10m views on YouTube alone.
• VOLVO Trucks – this series of epic films, the last one famously sees Van Damme do the splits atop the wing mirrors of two reversing trucks. For a B2B campaign, these films have gained significant fame, largely for their spectacular stunts that demonstrate features in an unexpected way. This has made them hugely shareable and popular, reaching viewers far outside what would otherwise be called ‘the target’.
Content driven campaigns are here to stay and agencies will need to harness and embrace all types and sources of content, including the consumer’s own in order to benefit their brands.
One of the keys to making content work is finding the occasion to engage with relevant content at the right time and increasingly importantly, in the right format through the use of e.g. responsive design.
‘Big data’ has always existed i.e. since publishing began. There has always been more information than any human can consume or manipulate to create advantage.
This year though, technology has helped brands get closer to this data with platforms being developed that help not only historic data to be mined, but that will seriously affect future plans through modelling and ultimately prediction. Unilever’s hair care experiment with Google has yielded 90% accuracy in future 3-month trends, which has a significant impact on all aspects of the business.
Econometrics, digital pathway analyses and dashboards are all converging to provide simpler and faster data interpretation. This all has the effect of moving the work done in media and communications further upstream in a business, driving right to the heart of core advertiser business planning. The success of big data will be in no small part, down to an analyst’s ability to extract and apply meaning and insight.
I saw the greatest change in media agencies during 2014 than any other previous year. The rate of the shift to programmatic buying has had a significant effect on many aspects of resource from talent to tools, to scope and scale.
Talent – knowledge and skills of digital advertising tools, planning and execution is becoming increasingly normal and where agencies are not able to dedicate time to training staff, there is a greater reliance on learning ‘in the line of duty’. Future recruitment needs may look very different in a few years with data analysts, visualisers and programmers required for an agency to provide full digital services.
Tools – an increasing number of tools to support campaign planning, execution and reporting are helping reduce the labour intensive nature of digital campaign deployment and measurement. Fully meaningful and effective use of DMPs is not quite there but this will soon have a big effect on audience optimisation.
Scope and Scale – International agencies have started to consolidate resource into central teams that will surely have an effect on agency network strength in future. With seemingly only language being a barrier to central international campaigns, there is no reason why global or regional work will start to operate from single locations. With the scaling up and diversification of programmatic coupled with agency buying power to gain the best price, the focus of agency value has been exposed this year. This has resulted in big agencies trying to behave more like start-ups, oftentimes simply acquiring smaller, specialist and creative enterprises to be able to consolidate services.
What are the biggest challenges in the next 12 months?
Driven by technology and consumer power, I think it’s useful to categorise the challenges for 2015 in two ways: what we know and don’t know.
• The inevitable increase of bandwidth and consumption of data
• Current digital generation is simply getting older and still learning
• Even greater access to industrial volumes of information and data
• Increasing power, functionality and proliferation of mobile, tablet and wearable devices
Known unknowns could be:
• The scale and direction of social media – how brands try and maximise loyal communities and newly monetised platforms like Instagram might drive a greater shift to the ‘ad-free’ platforms being executed successfully by the likes of Spotify and as being trialled by Google
• The development speed and social adoption of technological innovation. The most prominent of these being wearable tech and whether this will become more mainstream to provide real consumer benefit in the near future
• Our ability to analyse, process and apply digital data
• Continuing effect of fragmentation and how portable media will affect this
• The level of customisation / personalisation expected of consumers that legitimises brand’s ‘value exchange’. Using technology to personalise, almost predict, what consumers want/need might provide brands (in real-time) with the head start against the competition
• Privacy – how will the consumer demand to be protected and what regulation will be required to enforce this? Stats would show consumers are becoming more open to sharing data but their expectation for a reciprocal benefit will continue to drive access to their data.
What will be the big technology advances for the next 12 months, how will they affect the media landscape?
There are a lot of new technologies on the horizon, but for me the three biggest advances will be in apps, video and connected television.
1. Mobile Apps
86% of time spent on mobile is in apps, and just 14% on the mobile web according to Flurry (Source: Carat). Apps are becoming easier to use, less feature rich and are increasingly integrated with each other to share data. As marketers we are going to need to look more closely at our apps and app strategy: what are they for, which consumer groups, what benefits, how can they integrate with other technologies etc.
Facebook’s app is a good example of how the app landscape is changing. Its main app has most of the functionality of the desktop site, however it’s splitting some areas including messages, groups & local search, into single purpose apps.
Twitter and Facebook are also both making it easier for app makers to work with their platforms – both have built resources to help app makers produce apps that will have common elements that can integrate well. Twitter has ‘Fabric’ and facebook has ‘Parse’ which standardise more of the way that apps work across platforms and make it easier for apps to talk to each other.
If you don’t have an app, the very least you need is to make sure the mobile web experience for your brand is built on a responsive site.
2. Online Video
Online video has been steadily growing as a platform for advertisers – in the UK video ad spend grew by 59% in the first half of 2014, with mobile video being the fastest growing format (Source: Carat). Don’t be mistaken for thinking it’s all about YouTube too. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media sites, along with many newspapers, are all showing in stream advertising, or pre-rolls too. Next up are video ads in digital display and apps too.
Video content needs to be a little different to traditional TV ads. Online viewers spend less time watching creative so brands will need to make videos as impactful from the start. You are likely to need to create a lot more video content to keep viewers engaged across multiple platforms too. Online video is only going to get bigger this year.
3. Connected TV
If no are not in advertising, you may not have heard the term connected TV. It’s essentially where consumers use their television to watch content that is streamed online, so devices such as Apple TV, Google’s Chromecast or Sky’s catch-up service. Research from Carat found there are now more than half a billion connected TV devices in use around the world and this growth is changing the way we watch television. Remember the days of buying the Radio Times to decide what to watch for the next week, those days are over as you can simply switch on tools like the BBC iPlayer, or Netflix and watch what you want, when you want.
Viewing habits are very different with younger viewers now too as gen z and younger are just as happy watching short clips on YouTube as they are long form television at pre-determined schedules. These changing consumption patterns and new technology are fundamentally changing how advertisers can reach their target audiences.
How are these changes affecting B2B marketers?
Some consumer marketing developments remain similar for B2B marketers, especially in the area of targeting and mobile. Whether at work or play, they are still people who respond to communications and change behaviours in the same way, regardless of what they’re consuming.
Naturally, with B2B audiences being smaller, getting to know audiences enters the realm of micro-targeting/segmentation and being able to adapt messages accordingly when using e.g. dynamic or real-time buying platforms, is increasingly possible and important. It will really pay for B2B marketers to get to know their audiences better so they know what to say when, and how. This not only relates to display or content messaging in paid or social channels but importantly, to the more skilled area of CRM where the growing danger of being drowned by competitive narrow-casting is ever apparent.
Where differences do occur other developments may impact advertising success too. In the area of earned and paid placements, B2B messages will require more funding to gain greater distribution, reach and ultimately engagement. Changes to the Facebook algorithm in late 2013 have already produced a 44 percent decline in non-sponsored brand content in users’ newsfeeds. LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest now offer sponsored content placements and ads that promise specific reach.
Historically, B2B marketers have been better at CRM, developing strong tools and processes. When these get combined with audience tools that may currently favour B2C planning, therein lies great potential to optimise communications to benefit conversion rates.
A slightly older chart (courtesy of marketingcharts.com) shows how this is already on the increase:
Lastly, as brands are becoming more like publishers, it will be increasingly important to manage the quality of content being deployed. Smaller marketing teams are already stretched so spreading resource thinly may be a detriment to the messaging where content could be created externally and thereafter crafted to represent the brand before publishing.
Welcome to the Klaxon network Griff.