When Starcom MediaVest elevated content-and-integration veteran Brian Terkelsen to CEO of MediaVest USA in June, it was the latest sign of the growing role for content in marketing and media buying.
Mr. Terkelsen previously helped execute high-profile deals such as Wheat Thins' appearance on "The Colbert Report," the Cover Girl integration on "America's Next Top Model" and Microsoft's "TV to Bing About" campaign with The CW.
We asked Mr. Terkelsen how junior planners and buyers should approach those sorts of integrations -- and how they can help make uncertain clients more comfortable. Our conversation has been lightly edited.
Advertising Age: How do you help a nervous client over the hump?
Brian Terkelsen: The best way to help the nervous client is to demystify that this one test or toe in the water around innovation will not ruin their business. You are doing this to learn, and you aren't using the same metics around ROI to test future communication strategies. I want to back away from the nervousness by saying, "We don't know where this is going to lead us and that 's why we are doing it."
Ad Age : So how do you measure brand integration?
Mr. Terkelsen: If you're truly messing around with innovation you're doing it because you aren't sure of the outcome. The guy who ate the first lobster had no idea it was better with butter. When we first started to measure, we do the majority with pre- and post-studies for favorability, fit, action and recall scores, and I am a big proponent of that even today when there are reach scores and social metrics. The reality is if we have moved the favorability measure, that 's why we do this kind of work. We don't just do it for awareness.
Ad Age : What practical advice would you give rising media planners and buyers about these type of deals and how to pull them off?
Mr. Terkelsen: My hope is a junior planner or buyer will think of themselves more as marketers than media professionals. We sell things. Period, full stop. When you make an out-of -home buy on 57th Street it's because you are selling something. The same for branded integration. And for the senior folks, if you can't do deal construction, go back to school. It's about partnerships, products, experience, plans.
Ad Age : So deal construction itself is that vital?
Mr. Terkelsen: I was an investment banker for six to seven years and thought I regretted it, but those were good business deal-learning years.
Ad Age : One of your first new hires since starting as CEO this summer was a new data and analytics lead. What's your vision for data?
Mr. Terkelsen: All you have to do is say "data and analytics" and people check out and say, "I don't need to know this." I'll make it really simple: it's the analysis of data. Stop the nomenclature and what you do is you either analyze data after a campaign has run or use it for data-driven marketing, for predictive modeling.
Data-driven marketing and targeting is the patch of grass in the desert that deserves the water.