Lenovo is bringing the day-to-day buying of digital, OOH and TV media in-house across Asia-Pacific after a pilot in Australia showed a 20-30% cost saving on its former agency-led strategy.
For the past nine months the computer manufacturer has been testing alternative ways to buy its digital inventory and OOH and has brought it in-house, scrapping the need to use a media agency for much of its work.
The new strategy will go live on 1 April, the start of the firm’s financial year. The move comes hot on the heels of a meeting between Lenovo and Google global execs at CES in January where both parties were encouraged by the work of the Australian division.
TubeMogul will from now on provide the platform for Lenovo to undertake its own TV buying - a new offering from the tech firm which was only piloted in Australia for the first time at the end of last year. TubeMogul has recently struck programmatic deals with Seven and SBS.
The two firms first formed a partnership in August last year when TubeMogul was hired to support Lenovo’s digital buying program.
Newly-promoted digital and social lead Danielle Uskovic has been at the coalface of the new approach and is confident that Lenovo’s local work will transform into better results for the company, both on home soil and in the AP region.
“Our global team has wanted to do this for some time, which sparked me to want to run a pilot. I got the global team to support my idea which made it easier to accomplish,” she says. “Australia is an excellent test bed. We are well respected because of our forward thinking ideas and willingness to test and learn new techniques.”
Lenovo will work with a variety of partners to deliver its vision: TubeMogul, Google for its DoubleClick manager, Adobe Audience Manager and social listening firm Sprinklr.
However, Uskovic is already looking to the future and believes the entire media program could be plugged into the Google Campaign stack. She admits this will require further investment and it is her job to “make the case” going forward for resourcing and staffing.
Lenovo’s ultimate objective mirrors that undertaken by Qantas and Red Bull where the company will eventually seek to monetise its own first-party data. Lenovic explains that, in doing so, “the funds could be channelled back into our marketing budgets”.
The benefits of the new strategy are thought to be substantial. Lenovo says it now has greater control and ownership of data; eliminates media wastage; provides cleaner data sets (no need to compare agency reports with website metrics); gives it a greater understanding of attribution modelling and centralises all media buying, let alone the aforementioned 20-30% cost saving.
Uskovic, in fact, is keen to point out that although CFOs insist on proof of ROI, it’s not “just about the cost saving, but about us being able to be more effective”.
Lenovo stresses it has not ended any existing relationships with agencies. It currently has a global deal with Mindshare. However, the digital and social marketer admits “the technology partners offer value added benefits through a direct model that we couldn't get through an agency model".
Uskovic reiterates that agencies do have a place and “can add lots of value particularly with integrated campaigns.” As such, it is believed that Lenovo will maintain its agency relationships, not least because of the “strategic insight” they can deliver.
It is believed that Saatchi & Saatchi holds the global creative account.
According to an end of year financial statement issued just over a week ago: “Lenovo maintained its position as the world’s number one PC company with a 21.4% market share, a position the company has held for 11 consecutive quarters. It ramped up marketing in Australia last year with a $10 million campaign to enter the consumer segment.
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