In the ever changing media environment, with the rise of digital and programmatic, Business Review met with Dan Balotescu ,managing partner at Media Investment to find out more about the new media trends, the complexity of the market and what will happen in the near future.
He tells BR in an interview about the plans of the agency, but also about the way in which Google and Facebook are changing the budget structure of local clients for campaigns.
By Romanita Oprea
How has media planning changed during the past years?
It’s a fact that the media consumption behavior has changed significantly over the past years, evolving from print to digital, from desktop to mobile, from single screen to multiple screens and across fragmented channels. At the same time, the formats and the media solutions that are now available determined increasingly bigger changes into the media mix and in the way we are building the media plans.
This paradigm meant a shift in the way the media plan accomplishes the desired goals, demanding new expertise and tools that leverage the synergies between the various media vehicles. For example, the media plan now includes, among others, our solution for TV and mobile campaigns synchronization, tied with storytelling strategies for all digital channels, including native and social media.
What are the main trends?
The main trend is the further fragmentation of the media consumption behavior and the fast diversification of media solutions available. For example, the main trends in digital this year relate to the development of video, native, chats and mobile. The two giants – Facebook and Google are continuously innovating and offering new products, that change and refresh almost every month the solutions that can be used in digital and cross-media executions. We can mention here 360 video formats, live streaming, promoted posts on Facebook and Facebook Messenger Chatbots for brands.
These trends determine an increasing complexity in the media plans overall, in the way we do cross-media analysis and optimization and how the digital planning is managed within the mix, but through our proprietary media tools we have agile control of the metrics and real-time decision making capabilities.
How is digital changing the media strategy in 2016-2017?
The new paradigm nowadays is the evolution of media strategy from planning versus affinity to planning versus certainty. Due to the targeting capabilities of the Prometheus Programmatic Platform, we can reach with extremely high precision the consumers and the prospects our clients need, and we can measure and adapt the strategy based on results. Every single action is measured and every day we learn how to better increase the performance of our campaigns.
How is the media split investment changing in the new digital context and with the rise of programmatic?
The average share of digital in the Romanian market is around 20%, with TV maintaining its highest share in the mix: 60%. There are clients that use digital in a larger share, and more and more frequently we deploy plans with more than 50% of the budget allocated to digital.
We’ve started actively using advanced programmatic capabilities last year and our goal for 2016 is to evolve all of our regular campaigns into targeted programmatic executions.
Is programmatic the biggest trend in 2016-2017? Why?
Programmatic is not yet a real trend in Romania. It is however the only way we should run digital media campaigns. Google is 100% programmatic, Facebook is 100% programmatic, but the rest of digital media campaigns in .ro are still 95% bulk. This is the main reason why Google and Facebook have increased dramatically to up to 50% share in the clients’ budgets.
Therefore, targeting and target definition are the biggest trends. The main purpose of programmatic media is targeting. If we are able to define the right target and to use it right in the campaigns, we can give clients the guaranties of the optimum yield: inventory efficiency, communication efficiency, cost efficiency, user experience improvements etc. This is also the reason why we are using the Quantum Data Management Platform (DMP) for all our programmatic digital campaigns.
How is the agency business model changing and the flow in the agency due to the new tools that are emerging?
We have new teams in the agency and the digital specialists represent almost half of our team. The other half, focused on other media and services, have also been trained with digital skills because the integrated strategy online – offline requires multimedia capabilities for all the member of the clients’ team. The core organization structure has not changed fundamentally, as we are offering the same client centric services.
What are the hottest new tools you use?
As an independent agency we have the advantage to be flexible in using all the tools and technologies available in the more advanced markets. We’ve made huge investments over the past two-three years in a puzzle of technologies which include the development of proprietary, custom management solutions of all these tools and latest technologies, combined with the media knowledge acquired over the years. Our programmatic structure today has full market capabilities.
How hard is it to permanently keep up with the change nowadays?
To keep up with the changes is to accept the challenges that media and technologies offer you as opportunities. It is an approach that requires important investments and training of people. But more than that: enthusiasm and involvement. Nowadays there are no more “text-book” recipes and templates. You need to be agile and to embrace the new trends. And all this time, you should have in mind your mission: to work for your clients’ brands and to reach the campaigns’ objectives.
How often does your team go to international conferences/ workshops?
We are attending as many relevant conferences as possible. As a result of this effort and commitment, we are continuously in contact with the biggest international players in the programmatic industry. And we are proud to say that we have developed truly great and valuable partnerships.
What are the problems and challenges that a media agency confronts itself with on the Romanian market at the moment?
The biggest challenge is to ensure a quick and constant transfer of knowledge with our wide network of partners. While everybody is very open to learn and to adapt, the changes happen so fast that quicker reactions are often needed to ensure continued, mutual development.
What are the clients’ main needs at this moment and how are you tackling them?
Fortunately, our clients are some of the most demanding and collaborative in the market. Understanding the new capabilities available to leverage in the media strategy and execution, they ask for better and better results. Today, more than ever, this partnership between clients, agency and publishers is crucial. As an agency, we are providing continuously trainings and presentation of the new media trends and opportunities, which we all need to accomplish exceptional results.
How is Media Investment different from the rest of the media agencies on the Romanian market?
We are an independent agency and take a significant and continuous approach of investing in local people, partnerships and resources. We adapt ourselves quickly and with a local focus to all the new trends and technologies. We share the learnings with our partners in order to evolve together and to build a professional environment that can drive growth and efficiency into the local and regional market.
In my opinion, the key point in our business and in all business in general is to understand and genuinely invest into building the business together with your clients and partners. If you cannot help your clients to increase their business and if you cannot help media owners to better provide solutions for your media campaigns, you cannot grow your own business.