Media Planning & Buying Opinions

Meet Your Next-Generation Media Planner: The Audience Architect — Paid, Owned & Earned, Part Four

Posted by Dave Marsey on November 8th, 2011 at 10:49 am

The promise of Paid, Owned & Earned is that we reduce the paid media budget through the earned reach generated by programming owned. Not only do we deliver the same reach if we had used 100% paid, the earned reach is arguably more valuable. The result is being able to do more with the same overall marketing budget. More mobile, more retention-based marketing, more promotion, more social good, etc.

To live up to the promise, we need to cut through the “hot air” as I declared when I started this series and remake our media planning profession.

We’ve talked about planning and the importance of interest-based insights and how they lead to creative ideas with engagement at the core. The Real Women of Philadelphia is a great case study.

We looked at the science of content influence and sharability in order to assign a value and project earned reach. This drives the  content strategy.

And most recently I showed the importance of thinking like a network executive when programming owned.

To complete the Four Part series, I end on how to organize talent based on the principles of insights, content strategy, programming, and distribution (includes paid media).

Organizing for Paid, Owned & Earned

The real-time nature of earned media requires speed, agility, and flawless execution. When new media channels develop and grow, the first reaction is to create a specialty group or practice. We need to resist the urge and instead, remake the existing media team. Here’s why:

Client relationship: The media team works directly with the clients that hold media budgets. These clients have the power to drive change in allocation across Paid & Owned and will appreciate the allocation science.
Staffing efficiency: Using resources from separate groups or practices are inefficient and can create duplication of effort. The media client is less likely to fund a group or practice that doesn’t contribute to working media.
Speed-to-market: We all know the pains of working in silos and the risk it creates of a disjointed final product. One group ensures speed and that programs are implemented as imagined.

Remaking the media team starts with an evolution of the Media Planner to Audience Architect:

• Use Insights to design Content Strategies around audiences
• Create Programming strategies to distribute content within owned and paid channels
• Maximize audience engagement – and therefore Earned Media - through Community Management.

Imagine a world where the Audience Architect carries blueprints instead of the Media Planner’s flowchart.

But clearly one person can’t do all of these functions, so there are three types of Architects:

Insight Architect: Insights & Content Strategies
Programming Architect: Programming & Distribution
Community Architect: Community Manager

The idea is that we don’t need more resources to do Paid, Owned & Earned; it’s about making this change easy for a client to “buy.” Increasing fee certainly isn’t easy on the client.

Just like Owned & Earned lets clients do more with the same, the evolution from Media Planner to Audience Architect should let the individual do more.

Empowering Audience Architects To Do More

New partners with smarter products enable part of the solution, with automation being a big help as well:

Smarter Tools: Move away from cookie cutter, panel-based insight tools that make planners work hard to find an average, broad answer. Harness new insight sources like Hunch and ShareThis to quickly identify audience tastes and what they’re actually sharing.
Smarter Buying: When is comes to amplifying Owned Media engagement, embrace a fewer, deeper approach. As an industry there are way too many sites on our plans. Focus on audience buying through exchanges like Audience on Demand and smart distribution partners like Sharethrough, Demand Media, and Federated Media.
Increased Automation: How is it that billing still takes as long – if not longer – then when I was a media planner 15 years ago? Why does the campaign setup and traffic process require so much time? We need to dedicate a full-time team to automate these and many other tasks that keep our talent from thinking.

Evolving to Audience Architects is an exciting proposition for our current planners, media partners, and clients alike. We need to commit to not only the actual craft work (insights, content strategy, etc.) but to solving the pain points above as well.

The Time is Now

Not a day goes by that another stat is shared that reinforces the need to evolve media. One that I recently heard was that Facebook is now the size of the web in 2004. Incredible.

I’ve enjoyed writing this series, appreciate the comments, and tweets, so thank you for indulging me.

As you may have guessed, I’m practicing what I preach so stay tuned to what develops at Digitas. Tweet me @DaveMarsey.

Happy Holidays!

2 Responses to “Meet Your Next-Generation Media Planner: The Audience Architect — Paid, Owned & Earned, Part Four”

  1. Chad says:

    Do you personally feel that today's up-and-coming media planners (and hot digital ad agencies such as Digitas) already largely have a grasp on the fact that "the social component" must be incorporated into existing campaigns?

    Would it be fair to say that the essential message that must be embraced by current media planners is one that can be boiled down to the axiom that has been embraced since traditional media has largely gone by the wayside of "in order for advertising to be effective, it has to involve the consumer rather than be solely projected at them."

  2. Though I find the Philly woman absolutely hilarious (Sue Ellen Ewing + 30 years) - fantastic summary on the evolution of agency org restructures. Succinct. Beautifully written.

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