What a Girl Wants

By now you've heard a bunch of us talk about the Forecast 2004 event in NYC last week. My experience was a bit different. All day the panels consisted of a bunch of people on stage coming to some sort of a resolve. I moderated the last panel. It was different for a couple of reasons.

My panelists were the folks that didn't have to debate. They possessed a been there done that mantra. Each represented their own agency... and, they were all women. It was quite comical to watch Roni Jenkins of JWT, Amy Auerbach of Circle Euro RSCG, and Jill Griffin of OMD. Not only did these ladies have successes to talk about, they had camaraderie.

Prior to getting up on stage we al rolled our eyes at the fact that some people were still discussing: Is online a branding or direct response medium? How should we measure success? They vowed not to talk about it. Instead I asked them to quickly reference it and move on.

These women represented some big brands including Baileys, Intel, Volvo, GE, Absolut, and The New York Lottery to name a few. The common thread ended up being large offline brands needing an online presence. Part of their everyday lives is to tackle questions like: How can we simulate an offline experience online? How can we design a campaign that links to a site that will woo a prospect over to come in and test-drive a car? How do we launch a mini version of our liquor and target a young working audience prior to going home? How can we consistently launch new creative/copy on and offline after our client had used the same tagline for over two decades?



Here are some topline tips and tricks from the group:

Time. Each panelist seemed to have very similar working environments. Their agencies remain lean in regard to staffing. Hours are long and arduous. They cover more clients than ever.

Publishers/sales reps. Everyone seemed to have their favorites. Each makes themselves accessible to sales reps. Although they admit they are sometimes hard to get a hold of, they cited some wants: Be proactive. Always forward up and coming site changes, creative units, content, etc. to them as a sneak peak. Use them as a sounding board. Feel free to forward facts, figures, articles of note. Agencies are so fast paced. Anything you can do to help them service their clients would be great.

Creative. No matter whom the client is or what type of a demand, there is always a struggle for creative. It takes a long time to produce interactive units. The gals were frustrated about the many sizes that still exist today. Some sites that had odd unit sizes reproduced the creative for the agencies.

Tracking and Optimization. In almost every instance, bigger units always seemed to work better. However, each incorporates a mix of units and tests, test, tests. They said in unison, "Depending on the client and the objective," you never know. Sometimes text links can yield results, other times its large impact units. Each agency looks for ways to help automate the back end. All use third-party ad serving parlayed on top of some sort of internal metrics. Everyone uses click through rates (CTRs) as one metric in the whole puzzle. They all try to equate a reach and frequency and want metrics to resemble or be synonymous to offline media.

Campaigns. Campaign planning is as much an art as a science. Typical consideration is geared toward demographics, pyschographics, usage behavior, geography, time of day, and the like. Because of this, they have used filters, frequency caps, carefully mapped out flighting schedules.

All in all it was great to see stability, success, passion, and a sense of humor these women possessed. And for this moderator, girls do rock.

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