Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

I read a study towards the end of last year from the Center for Media Research (Nov.15) that stated 80% of marketers plan to spend between 10-30% of their marketing dollars against new and/or emerging media formats in the next two years. I also read, in the same study, that 40% of marketers say they don't spend here yet because of "insufficient knowledge" about the category. What was also interesting to me was that 33% of marketers surveyed stated that they don't have enough time to learn about these formats.

As Arsenio Hall would say, "Things that make you go hmmmm..."

It pretty much goes without saying that if marketers are going to start spending against new and/or emerging media in the next two years, they will likely need to find some time to learn about these formats and gain sufficient knowledge in order for their dollars to become effective. This poses a problem, but also an opportunity.

How can you save time from one aspect of your business to allocate it to a new part of your day? You need to find efficiencies that didn't exist before!



The pendulum has shifted substantially over the last 10 years, and media has become a more important slice of the pie than it ever was before. It used to be that creative had 50 minutes in a one-hour meeting and media got the last 10 minutes, but that has shifted, and it's typically a 50/50 split, with media leading the discussion. As media has become more important, it has also become increasingly more complex, and what we are seeing is the opportunity for buying services and ad exchanges to come to the forefront. Buying services and exchanges are relatively commonplace in traditional media, but they've been something of a "dirty word" in online; however, I think that situation has finally changed.

The technology is present for agencies to get very close to their "white whale": the Digital Dashboard. It's not realistic to imagine that all media dollars can be run through a dashboard that is controlled by the media planner, but I do feel that 25-35% certainly can, and you can supplement these even more with the use of a buying service if you find the right one. If 25-35% of your time can become more efficient, that leaves more time to acquire the knowledge about the new and emerging media formats that are gaining in importance.

The automation of buying is inevitable as it becomes more and more of a commodity. Google is pretty much driving this all on its own, but companies like AdBrite and a host of others offer technology where advertisers can control their spending by themselves. Most agencies have already built their own agency-side dashboards that integrate ad serving and third-party systems into an engine for reporting and optimization, so what difference does it make if that engine goes one step further and can tap into inventory management controls on the side of the publisher, of course with publisher permission being set?

These types of systems are what buying services would use as well, becoming an outsourced aggregate of buying that taps into networks, niche sites and behavioral targeting platforms securing the best deals for all their clients. These are widely used for radio and TV and newspaper already, but the online industry was resistant because of the growth and the standardization that was still to come.

Last week the calendar turned over to 2008 --and I think it's safe to say that much of our base business, with the exception of video, has become relatively standardized.

Buying services and ad exchanges can supply a very necessary service, as they can save time for an agency that needs to focus on strategy rather than execution, which will be necessary as it attempts to find the time to learn about these new and emerging media platforms.

I smell an investment opportunity if ever there was one!

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