Thoughts about media in Canada

Mistakes & Misunderstandings

Good morning,

I read an article from WAO Marketing this week-end that I particularly enjoyed http://www.waomarketing.com/the-waofactor/analysts-behaving-badly/

This article touches, in my opinion, two subjects that are crucial for any individual working in the agency industry (and probably many others)

1. Mistaking an opinion for a fact

You see a rise in qualified site visits on a specific day. That’s a fact.

You see an increase in clicks from a banner placement that day. That’s a fact.

Stating that it’s a good banner placement that generated an increase of qualified visits. That’s an opinion, and it’s probably wrong.

So you take 5 minutes, as you should, to verify if the qualified visits indeed came from the banner placement. They do, so you formulate a recommendation

Invest more with in placement X

Why? It wasn’t performing extraordinarily yesterday, nothing indicates it’s going to rock tomorrow.

The fact is: there was a disruption in the force, but you don’t know why. You need to investigate to understand the reason why.

This happened to us earlier this year. Big increase in campaign metrics, all attributable to one placement. Turns out it was because there was an invitee at the Oprah Winfrey Show that spoke about the product category, most likely creating a buzz and an increased amount of searches for the category. People landed on a site we bought banners on, then they clicked the banner and generated qualified visits.

See how increasing the investment in placement X is futile? It won’t do any good tomorrow. It was a timely event. But… if your recommendation was:

Investigate the impact of news headlines, PR & spokespersons on digital placements and site visits

Then you may be on something. Then you may prove your worth. Then you may get more money and better integrated campaigns. Then you may achieve excellent results and be recognized in the industry as a very solid strategic planner.

2. Misunderstanding the need

I see a common denominator to many successful people in this industry: the ability to see beyond the brief, beyond the question. I’ll make a very simple and ridiculous example. Real life is way more subtle than that, but you should get my point.

My hypothetical client sells red flowers. She’s having trouble to properly reach people who love the color red, while minimizing spill/waste against unqualified peopleNot knowing how to address this, she conducts a study to map out her potential target customer and states that this “person” is an Adult 45-54 with high household income, has no pets, has two cars, lives in a suburban area.

The media team then crunches this data and says: “We’re going to buy Prime TV shows, billboards on bridges connecting to the city and talk radio.” Fine.

The digital team says: “The target over indexes against…”

Whoa. You’re off track!

The challenge is to reach people who love red and minimize spill. Digital media has an answer to that question. Use behavioral targeting. Use search retargeting. Use contextual targeting.

Target the word red in any of its forms.

The client’s study was her imperfect way to answer her question. Don’t address her imperfect solution, address her problem.

Sounds easy right? I dare you to revisit a few of the briefs you’ve received throughout your career. Take the time to re-read them carefully and identify the real problem, the question behind the question. Now see if your plan was the best way to address the real issue. The plan wasn’t approved, wasn’t it?

… Oops…

Conclusion

Have you noticed that both subjects have a common denominator?

Performance of your campaign changed: Why? Address the cause, not the consequence

Client conducted a study to map out her target: Why? Address the cause, not the consequence

This applies to pretty much anything

Your boss asks you what you are working on. Does your boss really want to know that you work on client X? Or what he really wants is to know if you have time to help on a pitch? Why does he wants to know? Address the cause, not the consequence.

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