Transparency and talent remain top challenges for media buyers and other marketers

When it comes to experimental marketing, some marketers argue that spending big might not perform better than smart testing on tighter budgets.

This topic and others fit talks throughout the spring of Digiday Media Buying Summit, which took place this week in New Orleans. From diversity advancements and retention challenges to changing platforms and a tough economy, marketers said platform transparency and finding the right talent are two hurdles the industry needs to still overcome.

Ongoing Data Challenges

On stage and off, media buyers and brand marketers said the changing data capabilities of digital platforms are giving mixed signals — and mixed results. To navigate weaker signals, Marvel and its agency, Direct Agents, have relied more heavily on second-party data and first-party data from parent company Disney to find new ways to reach consumers.

Speaking onstage Tuesday, Jessica Malloy, vice president of marketing at Marvel Entertainment, said Marvel’s marketing team is working with direct agents to run one experiment at a time while leaving other campaigns on various platforms. -shapes unfold as efficiently as possible. It requires becoming more comfortable waiting longer to see how things unfold. But Malloy and Corey Levine, vice president of integrated media at Direct Agents, said their biggest concern was the lack of transparency on major social media platforms.

“If we don’t understand how it works and they don’t understand how it works,” Malloy said. “And half the time we talk to people at these companies who also don’t know how it works. They shoot their menu of “try this or try that”. They also aren’t aware of the developer’s secret sauce, and from my perspective, that’s very frustrating.

As platform changes lead to lower match rates, Levine said companies are focusing less on pixel data as the bottom line and instead taking a more holistic view of customer acquisition costs when they decided if a campaign was successful. He added that the increased use of interest-based targeting with keywords on Pinterest and Twitter has also been successful.

“When working with machine learning and AI, we often see brands and agencies using yesterday’s rules for today’s success,” Levine said. “We don’t live in a manual bidding strategy anymore where you can wake up and change a bid or a cost cap or something every day.”

Some media buyers have said clients are sometimes unwilling to even share their business goals, which complicates campaign planning. There is also always a mismatch between companies’ business goals and advertising expectations, which leads to ineffective marketing. This is something analysts are also seeing. According to a new survey conducted by Gartner, 62% of respondents said that sales and marketing teams define viable leads differently. The research firm, which releases the results this week, says the differences often lead to “inefficient and ineffective customer engagement.”

Measurement issues have yet to be resolved by aligning with universal standards, according to Melissa Wisehart, vice president of Media Monks, who also spoke with Digiday onstage Tuesday. Meanwhile, digital advertising’s worst problems are also emerging in the connected TV space, she said, adding that part of solving the problems is to focus less on short-term goals. . When asked which “sacred cow” has yet to be addressed, Wisehart mentioned that CPMs have yet to be removed.

“Because measuring results, because we still find it difficult to achieve business goals, we are constantly shortening CPMs,” Wisehart said. “And that’s the only universal truth, and I think we can do better, so I’d like to see ourselves as an industry offering a new alternative, something specific to our customers.”

Ongoing economic uncertainty continued to cause some marketers to avoid risk. However, it can be helpful to pick a tentpole campaign to go deep while keeping strict parameters, according to Claire Russell, media manager at integrated agency Fitzco. Speaking onstage Wednesday about experimental processes, she added that it also helps to create a measurement framework and start annualizing what works in order to see the overall impact.

Experimentation doesn’t need to be too risky and can be something that feels “small, palatable, relatively risk-free,” Russell said. It could look like testing on new platforms, moving to CTV, trying out new minority-owned ad tech partners, or using outdoor advertising to restore post-pandemic relevance.

Talent retention and diversity efforts

Beyond data issues, talent and diversity remain areas for progress.

Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be a top priority for agencies, but many still feel like there isn’t enough progress in the industry. Media Buying Summit speaker Angela Seits, head of strategy and insights for PMG Digital Agency, highlighted some of the gaps between the organizations, from the lack of female leaders to the lack of representation from different communities.

“As we look at our organization, as we look around the world, we lack fairness in many different forms,” Seits said. “So we still don’t see enough racial equity at all levels of our companies, at our leadership level. We still don’t see enough women in leadership positions in our organizations. »

At PMG, Seits said employee resource groups have been a useful tool for building DEI support. The firm also has a cross-functional diversity steering committee dedicated to representation across the firm. But Seits added that it’s also important not to reinvent the wheel and try to work with existing nonprofits and support initiatives that are already creating DEI programs.

“Really enabling these groups has been critical to our strategy, because especially if we look at ourselves – and we consider the fact that we have more work to do, we need more diverse leadership in our own business. Its dissemination throughout the organization ensures a more equal representation of the different ideas of our groups,” Seits said.

Akash Sen, Director of Human Resources at Guided For Good, touched on another aspect of the workforce – talent retention and the challenges of the big quit in agencies. When asked which workers he sees leaving media agencies, he mentioned that many of them are Gen Z and Millennials. And as with many employee programs, retention is not not “one size fits all,” Sen added.

“The pay perks and financial incentives…are all great and important, but they don’t have a lasting impact on retention,” Sen said. “You have to find ways to create a sense of community and belonging. You have to show them their purpose in the job, what they basically do. How does this fit with their individual purpose? With the purpose of the organization?

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