by Simon Williams, Head of Global Media Partnerships, Dentsu Aegis Network

Content has been around since the spoken word, in fact there are cave drawings in Australia that go back seventy thousand years. My point being that content as a channel is not new but as an industry we are treating it with the same suspicion as dark matter. Channels shouldn’t be bought or planned in isolation but they should most certainly have their own emphasis whilst being dovetailed together with an overarching communication strategy.

The larger the organization, the bigger the challenge

Measurement and attribution are still the hottest topics in our industry – but at what cost does this come to a client partner who actually chooses to buy media using multiple platforms?

Stitching together multiple data sources not only provides room for error, but a high cost and labour to tag all traffic of many client partners where the internal stakeholders all have a role to play, not only in implementation, but the ownership of their respective channels. The larger the organization = the bigger the challenge.

Planning processes should consider your client partners’ consumer from a psychographic, behavioural, socioeconomic and mosaic profile. Whilst we are able to target an audience on paid search using creative, social media and display should be intrinsically aligned to these forms of targeting.

Unfortunately finding the skill set that is able to think like a traditional media buyer in an online world is an even bigger challenge and something we must strive to educate and train.

The ‘mundane’ matters

In search agencies, technology should do the ‘heavy lifting’, but with the rising buzz word of ‘big data’, is anything to be considered mundane?

I believe more in making the mundane 100% actionable whatever the technology we use. Leveraging conversion and analytics teams we can blend our reporting tools to create an agile process for optimising our data.

With so many ‘half baked’ products and technology in the industry fed by the application programming interfaces of an ever changing landscape, we crave the ability to take data and simply press a button to make it actionable.

Understanding – then explaining – the power of social

We no longer buy keywords, we buy audiences.

We all need to begin our media strategy with more questions rather than answers, instead of jumping in the deep end with a channel selection guided by a client or a legacy of success. We want to know who are truly targeting, not who we ‘think’ may be the audience or simply follow suit that the TV audience is the same audience that is at home consuming on multiple screens or moments in their journey.

Content sits at the heart of most strategies, we have heard it all said that ‘content is king’ – but ‘context is the crown.’

Fundamentally where technology lets us all down is the ability to see the BIG picture of our media – sometimes our instinct backed up by the data we have is all we have to go with. My suggestion would be to not get so wrapped up in a linear conversion, avoid blending the lines between all the digital channels, avoid creating ‘divisions’ between above and below the line – instead, come together and focus on the integrated communications plan that puts the consumer first.

As media converges and the lines between digital disciplines are increasingly blurred, we must constantly make efficiencies in our technology and platforms. With the time saved, we can offer our clients better strategies and solutions to their actual business problems.