IAB – Total Communications Planning

Today, I spent some time at the IAB ‘Agency Summit’ which looked at interactive advertising. I took notes of a few of the sessions, the first being a look at Total Communications Planning. The panel comprised of:

Bob DeSena, Managing Partner – Director of Active Engagement, Mediaedge:cia
Louis Jones, EVP, Managing Director, Media Contacts
Maria Mandel, Partner, Executive Director – Digital Innovation, OgilvyInteractive
Moderator: Mike Donahue, EVP, AAAA

The notes I took are verbatim or sumarised when the talking came too fast.

Mike: Can I ask the panelists to define TCP?

Maria: It’s a paradigm shift in marketing, moving from a content-centric push channel to a consumer-centric pull channel, where you plan around the user’s day, plan around the touchpoints.

Louis: the definition is still being written and there’s still a way to go. It’s changing all the while. Data and measurement help round out the picture.

Bob: Data is one of the key skills missing in TCP in many agencies. TCP is 21st century marketing and starts with the consumer. It needs a creative core, we run the risk of being too specialised and do not take a holistic view. A new model that needs a new way of thinking.

Mike: Do you think clients have the urgency to change?

Louis: Yes; they are interested in a single voice that resonates through the channels, but in practice this is difficult due to client/agency structures. Marketeers are beginning to change but still a way to go.

Mike: How are digital practictioners coming at TCP?

Maria: Everything is moving digital now; currently 50%, moving towards 80% in a few years. All channels move towards it; it comes down to the fundamentals of marketing.

Mike: How good is the measurement of TCP?

Bob: there’s some, but it’s disparate, oftne proprietary. In the end it all leads to sales but there are no standards – they are being worked on. But this is not a new metric to replace the old but is about understanding that this is a whole new world. We need to move away from transferring the old points of reference (TV/print) to the new one (the first TV was just radio with a camera pointed at it). We need to target better, to move closer to the consumer. the principles of marketing are the same but we need to increase the depth.

Mike: Do companies recognise the importance of opening their data up?

Louis: We keep pushing it, some do. The sales feeds is a key to understanding behaviour.

Mike: Are non-retail clients data driven?

Maria: Yes. Digital allows you to measure more than before. All clients now need/want data and agencies are evolving to match their needs.

Mike: Do you rely on the agency or the client for analytics?

Bob: We have our own specialists and rely on outsourcing much to other third party specialists. The skillsets are not at the clients to manage the databases, to build targeting algorithms and still a long way to go with database mining.

Mike:Are clients organised for TCP?

Maria: We are still trying to figure it out on both sides. There is blurring between the advertising and content model; it is difficult when the creative and the media buyers are separate.

Mike: How do you suggest clients organise?

Louis: you deal with what you have on a case by case basis. Client organisation does impact what you deliver; you have to set objectives/goals and describe the journey and work around the organisation issues.

Mike: should it be an aggregated or disaggregated model?

Maria: A disaggregated model can work if someone from the client pulls it all together but this is often difficult to do so an aggregated model may be easier to get the pull.

Louis: Aggregated is hard to pull off. You need specialists, it’s difficult to do everything. There’s always new things. Pulling it all together is a skill.

Bob: someone has to co-ordinated. Aggregated and disaggregated are just along a spectrum, you have to have a co-ordinator. You have to connect across the channels with the what and the how and organisation can help or hinder but it still has to happen.

My take:

From this (and others) I never got clarity about what type of online marketing they were talking about – is it advertising on others’ sites, using RM data to target users or building their own properties. Despite the talk about pull media, this panel still focused on the client/agency controlled model even if the touchpoints have fractured and the user is slighly more in control about when they see advertising.

The panellist recognised the difficulties involved in both agencies and clients in moving towards a integrated model but no-one had real answers to combine mass with targeting. The lack of measurement and standards is one I face all the time, espcially when combining it with more traditional methods so we do have to challenge some comparisons that are made. No major insights came out of this for me.

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