Commentary

Media Marketplace: A Bear of an Idea

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Stop me if you've heard this one: A client and a creative director walk into a bar - actually, they get on the phone (without an account person lurking on mute) and talk through what's in and out, including multiscreen campaigns, conventional e-mail marketing and annual planning.

This month, Mark Jechura of Chase Card Services adds his bullish opinions to the marketplace. A buy is an opportunity you should jump on or expand in. It's where we'd put our money. A hold has value, but needs careful consideration to be a success. A sell has fallen out of favor, flopped or has a long way to go. Anything beyond that requires calling in the FED.

Buy: Multiscreen campaigns

We need to be where our customers are. But we need to be there in the right way.

Mark Jechura: Multiscreen campaigns start with a stationary screen at home - a TV or computer - then extend to the screens people experience while on the go. These can be personal screens, like cell phones or laptops, or screens they see at work or at school. The key is to have the right kind of creative for the environment. While it's easy to take your 30-second spot and put it in these spaces, advertisers have to go further.

Jay Suhr: We're big believers in providing utility on the smaller screens. It's important that you provide value by extending the brand conversation instead of just pushing more advertising. It's functional creative.

MJ: It's about relevance, not intrusion. I see huge potential in gps and mapping tools. Make it easier for customers to do things. But for this to take off in a large-scale way, the right metrics will need to be in place.

Hold: Conventional e-mail marketing

Standing out in a cluttered in-box means making sure the customer knows that there is value behind the subject line.

MJ: I am still seeing a lot of weak, unsolicited e-mail campaigns out there - especially partnerships without strong linkages to the brand.

JS: As a customer, I'm seeing the same. My morning routine is to blindly delete e-mails - both things I've opted-in for and things that just show up. But as a CD, I am also seeing amazing response rates we are generating for our clients in e-mail marketing. It remains a powerful and cost-effective way to build and retain customers. Interestingly, we are seeing these programs get stronger over time.

MJ: There has to be a strong relationship between the customer, the brand and
the e-mail.

JS: A lot of conventional e-mail campaigns just fling offer after offer at people with a "more is more" philosophy. We're finding that making a program really work requires constant optimization and balance between offers, news and content. It also means respecting the recipient, again, so it's part of a dialogue and not just e-junk mail.

Sell: The old way of annual planning

Take advantage of big upfront opportunities like always, but hold a little budget back to be more responsive to customer needs and market changes. Throw away the 15-month planners.

JS: One thing we're talking to clients about is being more fluid in how they approach annual budgets and plans. Rather than locking down budgets too early, hold dollars to respond to changing needs and market conditions.

MJ: The customer is much more sophisticated. We have to think more holistically and not be limited to channel silos that just focus on awareness. For Chase credit cards, we're interested in how we get consumers to apply, activate and use their cards. We also want to build brand loyalty.

JS: Everything has to be more intuitive. Budgets and plans need to shift throughout the year. Creative needs more executions and more nuances to keep the conversation fresh and relevant.

Mark Jechura is marketing director for Chase Card Services, the credit card division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Jay Suhr is senior vice president and director of creative services and account planning at T3. (jay.suhr@t-3.com)

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