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Why advertisers are embarking on a process of ‘media transformation’

Today’s CMOs are not solely marketers; they are also, critically, transformers.

Many are highly engaged in responding to the impact the digital economy is making on their business, and the way it’s affecting go-to-market strategies. Matt Green explains for The Drum.

/ Introduction

Today’s CMOs are not solely marketers; they are also, critically, transformers. Many are highly engaged in responding to the impact the digital economy is making on their business, and the way it’s affecting go-to-market strategies.

This has been a key topic within our Chief Digital Officer Forum and CMOFORUM for at least the last two years. And no wonder, because the process of digital transformation is vital to the future health of both brands and businesses.

Much is written about digital transformation and many nuances in definition exist. From the work we have done with clients, and the conversations we’ve had with agencies and consultants, we find that the critical moving parts are based around: people, leadership and culture; process, operations and integration; platforms, technology and data; marketing communications and insight.

These processes can cover everything from the adoption of the behaviour and culture of digital natives and the delivery of outstanding digital customer experience, to investment in advanced technology, data and marketing processes.

Naturally, such debates start in the C-suite but they also touch every part of every organisation. Recent WFA research indicates just how the process is impacting on client-side media departments.

The imperative to adopt data-driven marketing and ‘precision at scale’ principles is a clear one. Success requires the merger of art and science, the ability to get creativity and maths working hand-in-hand to deliver improved consumer experiences across multiple channels in a way that is relevant, personal and engaging.

This is easy to say but much harder to execute. It’s impossible without skilled resource, sophisticated technology and considerable automation – the people, process and technology.

WFA members are making progress but, of course, there are stumbling blocks. Our research found that:

  • 63% of survey respondents disagree that they have the internal expertise required to exploit data;
  • 74% disagree that advertisers have a well-informed understanding of the technology landscape, informing in-house digital media operations.

In summary, they have issues with resource and with market knowledge. This is entirely understandable given the complexity of the digital media market and the breadth of skills now required.

To bridge these gaps, we’re seeing some advertisers going through their own change management process of ‘media transformation’.

The starting place is typically an assessment across all markets and offices (global, regional and local), to establish a baseline of where the organisation is now, and where it needs to be. This is followed by road-mapping and the development of high-level architecture, system integration, and data flow designs.

For some, this process has involved rationalising tech providers down to simplify approach and supply-base.

It may also involve significant changes to agency and partner arrangements. Growing numbers of media clients are adapting their programmatic execution models towards independent trading desks and also looking at in-house or managed service ‘hybrid’ models. Around nine in 10 of WFA survey respondents are making changes to their programmatic models to improve transparency and control.

However, the ‘media transformation’ process can also mean the expansion of tech partner rosters and relationships, particularly where there is a need for specialist expertise, such as video or mobile ad servers, Data Management Platforms (DMP) and data vendors, analytics layers, attribution models and decisioning engines.

Some global media clients are establishing fast-track learning programmes, composed of workshops and remote training, to address capability shortfalls.

The opportunity to improve global media operations, via an organised process of media transformation, can’t be understated, and we’re witnessing the results in our Media Forum sessions conducted around the world. Clients can’t do it all by themselves, however. Two thirds of respondents question the impartiality of media agencies, and this has been heightened following the recent ANA/K2 investigation, but notwithstanding this 38% of respondents say they expect to lean heavily on service from their media agencies in the next five years.

Additionally, almost 90% of respondents have concerns regarding the level of fraud in digital media and programmatic. The vehicle upon which much of the media transformation ambition is predicated upon appears heavily compromised, and according to WFA’s forecasts, fraud could represent in excess of $50 billion by 2025.

There’s much global clients can do to ‘transform’ for data driven prescision marketing, but as in the past, this can only be delivered with the tripartite of client, agency and media owner intact and working smoothly. Getting this in place in the short-term is critically important for everyone.

Five steps to media transformation

Step 1 | Assessment & future vision

  • Establish a ‘line in the sand’ by assessing local markets based on enablers identified as being important to the data-driven vision (e.g. leadership; data; insight & targeting; channel, media & content etc.)

Step 2 | Roadmap development

  • Facilitate internal workshops developed by a core, cross-functional team to devise a 12/24 month roadmap, with a view to moving your organisation from its current position, towards its data-driven marketing ambition.

Step 3 | Architecture, data flow design & data governance

  • Create high level architecture, system integration, and data-flow design. Build a strategic framework for data taking into account five key factors.
  • Definition – the role of data in your organisation’s precision-marketing activities (e.g. how has data been applied previously? What’s the ambition for data?);
  • Specification – the data types required (e.g. 1st party, 2nd party or 3rd party);
  • Preparation – the existing data inventory (e.g. ensuring existing data is compliant with future intentions and ambitions);
  • Plan – where the data will come from and how to manage and store it (e.g. compiling data invetories, identifying gaps and how to plug them with 3rd party sources); and
  • Use – how the data will be used and by whom (e.g. compiling data governance principles and rules)

Step 4 | Technology enablers

  • Identify the technology required to achieve the data-driven vision and meet with platform vendors.
  • Consider whether ‘single stack’ or ‘best of breed’ approach works best for your organisation.
  • Conduct a cost comparison to your current model.
  • Devise an implementation plan.

Step 5 | Fast-track learning programme

  • Define enterprise capabilities for months 1, 6, 12 and 18.
  • Devise workshops and capabilities programmes to bring local markets up to speed.

For more information, please contact Matt at m.green@wfanet.org

/ Newsletter

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