Craig Key, SVP of media at space150, a full-service, independent agency based in Minneapolis, is pumped about activating ideas for marketers across a combination of owned, earned, and paid media channels. The agency focuses on “actions, presence, and influence.” That means it does a mix of performance marketing for direct-response-oriented brands, brand awareness-building, and influencer marketing campaigns.
Among the agency’s clients are 3M, American Express, Buffalo Wild Wings, General Mills, Schwans’ Red Baron Pizz, and Edwards Desserts. Speaking with Key at MediaPost’s Programmatic Insider Summit in Lake Tahoe, it’s clear that he has been thinking about how his brands can best connect with their target customers.
He has an interesting take on ad blocking. For example, he says that if he and his team were to focus all their time on fighting ad blocking, they would be missing the opportunity to learn Snapchat, where his clients may create new, and strong connections with target customers. I’m always looking for “where my brands can create new strong connections," Key says, adding: "I have to focus on a multifaceted approach.”
In terms of staffing up for programmatic service delivery, there are some challenges: “A media planner job is very different now. You need to have jobs for programmatic experts and data scientists. You need a creative brain and it’s hard to hire for the creative brain who can also do deep statistical analytics, and get their hands dirty in a programmatic dashboard.”
Key says that as fast as the industry changes from the buying standpoint, it’s imperative to understand how media jobs will change and evolve to react to those changes. As the media landscape continues to change at warp speed, there are internal challenges. For example, Key adds: “Does social live inside the media team or the creative team, or both?”
A decade ago, a digital person “was good at understanding trends. But now, that digital person has to go backwards to get trained on the fundamentals of media planning,” Key says. And as much as data and analytics have taken over the art of media planning and buying, Key warns that agencies shouldn’t let “math rule your mindset.” In the end, crafting a holistic media plan, no matter the method, will take consumers into account and the experiences that please them, offer utility, and entertain.