Right now most advertisers are behind the curve of digital adoption in society, and in many cases the gap is very wide. The difference vs some years back is that the advertisers know it, and they know it’s not setting them up for success. Despite this, they struggle to make the changes necessary to create a marketing plan that reflects people’s behavior. Why is that? Why does it seem to be glue in the hallways?
One observation I’ve made is that often when I talk to an advertiser they complain about that their media agency is not proactive enough, not proactively giving them a digital-first media plan that is extraordinary. What is strange though is that when I speak to the media agency, they often feel the same way about the advertiser, i.e. that the advertiser is not ready for a digital-first plan and turns down any suggestions in that direction.
While the complaints may be valid, having both parties complaining achieves nothing and both stakeholders should start setting clear expectations. This expectation setting needs to start from the advertiser. Step one should be to just state what % of the media spend should be invested into digital media. The brief to the media agency is to come back with the best media plan possible to achieve the objectives while spending X% on digital media. The reason why this is the right thing to do for traditional advertisers is because with the move of investments and a clear commitment, a lot of learnings, behaviors and other benefits will follow that no stakeholder is aware of today. When it comes to the benefits of digital, most advertisers and agencies are still unaware of what they don’t know. With a move of investments the change makes them aware of what they don’t know so they can start building the right capabilities and plans that are in sync with people’s true behaviors. What an exciting world to enter!
Ivelisse Roche, Mondelez’s associate director for global media and consumer engagement, is one of many people who have started to talk about this publicly, something that naturally sets expectations and creates a sense-of-urgency. In the case of Mondelez they will within two years double the digital investments to 50%. Keep in mind that Mondelez doesn’t even sell products online. So for your company, if Mondelez within short targets to spend 50% on digital, what number is right for you today? If you for example play in telecommunications, should it be 50% in 2016? 60%? If you play in the travel industry, should it be 70%? Independent of industry, if your number is less than 40% for 2016 you are a follower in digital, not a leader. If you want to be a leader it has to be a number above 50%.
If you as an advertiser don’t include this number in your media agency brief for 2016 you have no right to complain about the plans they bring you. Don’t think about this for too long, make up your mind about what kind of leader you want to be.