Commentary

It's a Marathon and a Sprint, Building Creative Agency Data Capabilities

Evolution became clear in a fractured media environment, said Josh Ehart, EVP, Chief Data Officer, EnergyBBDO. Clients need to be more nimble because consumers expect more from brand experiences. "How do we move from mass world, classic marketing through a funnel that no longer exists," he asked. "What data can we use from the most addressable sources and how does that inform us." 

Agencies have been playing a sort of telephone game between how hey thinks about the consumer and how a media agency may translate that according to their world. "My task in taking on this role at the end of last year is about how does that change our process, building data from an informed audience, with more collaboration with agency partners, and then from an activation standpoint looking at how does activation and that personalized brand experience change what we create as an agency."

There has been a shift to get EnergyBBDO's teams thinking about the role of audiences and what they means. "It's really about what are the most valuable audiences we can find and understanding folks who have lapsed out, churned. Then, who is most likely to churn. It's pushing us in new directions."

Data, he said help them be more efficient. "It's less about the specifics of the data and how to stitch wiring together. It's moving media buys from reach-based into targeting. A ot of CPG clients haven't been part of this conversation."

What they've learned: the data isn't perfect; creative thinking is required to unlock growth; focus on immediate benefits but be constantly learning; hands-on keyboards are required; and it's evolving every day.

Ehart then joined a panel discussion, "Programmatic Branding: Thinking Beyond Performance," with moderator Rob Jayson, EVP, insights & analytics, USIM, and Brooke Abney, director, Video Center of Excellence, Omnicom Media Group.

Programmatic is going to be a huge value, Ehart said. "We work with big CPG brands. How do we take idea of brand and transform it into something more relevant based on what I know about you. It's going to be more impactful. Effective reach makes sense from a media perspective. From a creative perspective, I don't know what to do with that idea. We're trying to get to a simple understanding of how touchpoints contribute to the whole." 

Abney: Programmatic is becoming a branding vehicle to ask what are our inventory guidelines that we want to automate. Instead of depending on publishers, we're taking the power back. It's about having a holistic view of our consumer. Also, how do we approach the brief. Programmatic is a how we are transacting. How do we use those pipes to enable inventory in a digital world. 

Jayson asked how to think about segments in context, the environment in which the message is served, of delivery if we want to move to branding.

Abney: You have to break apart the brief. How is programmatic perceived in all parts of the marketing strategy. Looking at contexuality, that's higher in the funnel. Innovation versus measurability. Programmatic is a bit handcuffed. Can't prove effectiveness. 

Ehart: We're figuring out what is the real value. We have home-cleaning brands. Classic targeting approach is to be in environment. We have speciality cleaners, glass or wood. How many people are searching for glass cleaning. People don't think of that as a specific type of cleaning. What is your way in to that particular audience. 

Jayson to Ehart: Do you have a role to play regarding programmatic?

Ehart: This idea of collaboration is understanding how video is going to be parsed out and where. It has impact on creative output. No one-size-fits-all approach. It's a race to the shortest possible video inventory. We want to figure out what is that mix. 

Abney: It's all about ingredients versus meals. Used to be a relay race. Now, that process has to change. It has to be everyone at the briefing table. It's more piecemeal. Six-second creative, or maybe we're going native. It can't just be something someone fills out a tag sheet. It has to be more flexible, agile, iterative.

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