Media Summit: CMOs need to balance ROI with brand building

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 19 May 2016

Marketers are under immense boardroom pressure to juggle the short-term ROI gains of advertising campaigns with long-term brand building initiatives that are often pushed down the pecking order, the opening panel of this year's AdNews Media Summit have warned.

Mindshare CEO Katie Rigg-Smith said the key is to manage fast-moving data that delivers instant returns with slow moving data that allows marketers build a brand.

"We're moving to a world where it is all about ROI driven decisions, which is absolutely right and I'm a big fan that we can be a direct response and targeted, but we need people who can analyse the fast moving data that tells us how someone has acted, as well as the slow moving data - what's happening to your brand health measures," she said.

"I've spoken to a lot of clients recently and their brand health has started to erode because for 18 months we've been focused on ROI-driven conversations today and we've forgotten we still need big things to keep the brand in popular consciousness."

Adam Ballesty, the marketing and innovation director at Diageo, said the future marketer has the head of an engineer and the heart of a creative - a balance.

"The pressure of the boardroom is hilarious because, yes, every dollar counts and that's important, but then they go, 'where are we on digital?', like it's just this word like 'productivity'," he said.

"We're trying to solve both and the quicker you are in the digital space the quicker you can protect your turf and the dollars.

"But it's about the bravery and being able to stand above that and talk about the slow measures. We absolutely need to grow our brands and they take time."

NewsLifeMedia CEO Nicole Sheffield says she believes conversations about the magic and the science are starting to come back, creating the emotional connection, whereas two years 'brand' was never discussed.

Social media conundrum

Earlier in discussion, Fairfax Media commercial and marketing services director Tom Armstrong said publishers are grappling with how to monetise content that is being distributed on social media platforms like Facebook's instant articles.

The new media ecosystem means that publishers are now disseminating content onto platforms they do not control, and this potentially cannibalises subscription revenue from their own assets.

However, he says it is vital to reach new audiences in a fragmented market where consumers use several sources to get their information.

Improving CX

Starcom MediaVest Group executive director of digital Jason Tonelli says the most important thing brands are trying to work out is the customer journey and improving customer experience.

"Nobody owns a consumer, you only have them for them at a moment of time. Those friction points are how do we storytell across people," he said.

Worryingly, a recent study that Rigg-Smith referenced shows out of around 3,000 people no single person had the same consumer journey.

Future of agencies

On the future of the media, she predicts: "You'll have a two-speed agency where programmatic takes care of itself and you'll have IT and data specialists handling that, and media agencies will become a consulting partner. 

"For whatever reason we get into these stupid remuneration models where we are not valuing the actual input we give clients. We are navigating a world of thousands of channels, we have a point of view on how that will return for a consumer and we work with our clients as business partners and that's the objective. We don't value that enough. 

"In the future I'd like to see an agency model where we are more like consultants."

On that point, Ballesty says agencies did themselves a massive disservice years ago by pitching for business for free.

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