Shifting Media Business From Outputs To Outcomes Will Break A Lot Of Eggs

  • by , Featured Contributor, December 18, 2014
I’ve written before about why I believe the media industry’s future with most brand advertisers will be all about delivering specific business outcomes (leads, sales, etc.), in a predictable, provable and scalable way, not just about delivering a promised basket of media outputs (impressions, GRPs, etc.). The more folks in the business I talk to about this issue, the more certain I am that it will happen.

Basically, it is now possible to match massive sets of first- and third-party purchase data to massive sets of cross-channel media exposure data (web, mobile, email, coupons, direct mail, and now TV through set-top-box-viewing data) and determine with extraordinary precision the actual sales impact of each and every impression, and do it in relative real time. As this capability becomes more developed, more available and more relied upon, we will certainly see a much greater level of accountability applied to all advertising, particularly the historically less-measured mass media like TV and radio. Bot media owners and media agencies will be forced to pay more and more attention to the outcomes that they can attribute to their media, not just deliver and reports on the outputs.



What will a media world focused on business outcomes look like? Quite different than it does today, I believe. Here are some things that would certainly change in a media world driven by business outcomes:

Intensive client involvement. If you are going to talk about sales and real-time accountability, you will need much more client involvement in media decision-making, much more often, and not just from the media lead. Consumer research, finance and sales will all be at the table, and will likely be driving many of the decisions, even tactical ones. Just look at how search advertising functions today in most large marketers.

New currencies and systems. As media companies buy, sell, deliver and guarantee more on outcomes than outputs, we will need many more and different currencies than the standard impression, reach, frequency and GRP metrics that we have today. They won’t be mutually exclusive. The new currencies will supplement and complement the current ones. New inventory systems will replace yesterday’s ad schedulers. For example, you can imagine a future where a TV network would run a campaign for a fast food company that not only guarantees GRPs, but sales lifts as well, relying on a new data-driven, yield management platform that will predict sales lift per impression and will optimize the campaign to hit the promised targets.

Robust data and analytical and attribution capabilities. Data capture, cleansing, matching, analysis and attribution with massive data sets are all highly technical skills not typically found in media industry people today. That will change. In the media world today, buying and licensing data is typically limited to industry standard syndicated data sets. That will change. The winners will be determined by who can create proprietary advantages not only in data, but in the ability to connect the dots between media and resulting consumer behaviors.

There will certainly be many more changes in an outcomes-focused media world. Agencies’ roles will evolve. Many new people with new skills will come into the business. Many others will leave it. For sure, it will be tumultuous. What do you think?

5 comments about "Shifting Media Business From Outputs To Outcomes Will Break A Lot Of Eggs".
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  1. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, December 19, 2014 at 9:48 a.m.

    Hi Dave. Do you suppose one day that the industry will use data to identify the line between irritation and tolerance among viewers/readers/users? This is a consumer-empowered world we're in, and forcing our way into human minds in order to achieve our goals, whether they are outputs or outcomes, is the problematic challenge of all media in the 21st Century. Great piece. Thanks.

  2. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, December 19, 2014 at 10:59 a.m.

    Great idea Terry. Certainly, advertisers and media companies are going to have to become more aware of irritating consumers & able delight them instead. Sounds like a product someone should make!

  3. Dorian Benkoil from Teeming Media, December 19, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.

    Social media has one key: How many people 'favorite' or share something they find irritating? And if they do, they indicate with qualitative language the negative reasons.

  4. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, December 19, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.

    You're absolutely right, Dorian, and it is this reality that we MUST accept, analyze, work with, innovate with, and reach agreement with consumers to, as Dave writes, "delight" them. I remember many years ago, when Microsoft was at the point in creating the online video universe, they studied the situation and reported that the optimum length for a video pre-roll - if "delighting" consumers was the goal - was 7-10 seconds. This was published in a MediaPost article, and I wrote about it for my blog. The next day, the article had been changed to state that the optimum was 15-30 seconds. I was finally able to reach the individual in charge of the research to learn that, in fact, it was 7-10 seconds. Higher-ups changed it, because "the industry" was into 15-30 seconds. This is an example of our anti-consumer we really are. Ries and Trout say we can play warfare with the the human mind, but nobody asked for permission to do that. It's payback time, and the smart money of tomorrow will invest in Dave's "delighting" today, if they want the lion's share of revenue tomorrow. So be it!

  5. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, December 20, 2014 at 9:09 a.m.

    Great point Dorian. I agree that social "like" and "favorite" actions could be part of a platform for finding "delight" - next, we'll need the ability to "dislike" and "unfavorite" ads.

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