‘Media Business’ Digital Directions Day: What do advertisers want from publishers?

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New York—What should media companies do to develop successful online advertising programs for their clients?

The answer, delivered Tuesday by a panel of marketing and agency executives at Media Business’ Digital Directions Day, was consistent: Collaborate with your clients, provide a healthy mix of creative options and offer campaigns instead of merely space.

“I’m all for paying for value-add, but the point is we need to think as creatively about the media mix as we do about the content,” said John Osborn, president-CEO of BBDO New York. Here, the creative input comes from the publisher as much as the agency, he said.

Jen Walsh, global director-digital media at General Electric Co., agreed, adding, “When media companies come to us with vanilla proposals, I know I can get the price down by 40%. And we might actually go in that direction, but we prefer greater dialogue.”

Publisher-client communication is key in pinpointing problems as well as possible solutions, the panelists agreed. A failed advertising effort may have several causes, including poorly considered media buys, ineffective audiences or the client’s product, message or creative.

“We need that two-way conversation in order to tweak things to get better results,” said Eduardo Conrado, VP-global business and technology marketing and communications at Motorola Inc.

The panelists were unanimous in highlighting the growing importance of search, video content and social media sites—and in particular how these can be leveraged to reach target audiences.

“White papers and case studies are important, but we’re now also using video case studies,” Conrado said. “We’re creating the case studies and flipping them to video.” He said the engagement factor is much higher, with viewers willing to watch several videos in a row and often downloading many hours of content. Videos are often shared with colleagues, making for potent viral marketing opportunities.

Unexpected search results also can turn up opportunities for both publishers and advertisers. Walsh, for example, noted that an analysis of search habits revealed a strong interest in GE’s green practices.

“We have a ways to go here, but now we’re training marketers at GE to have a better understanding of search, especially when it comes to lead generation., Walsh said.

The session was moderated by Ellis Booker, editor of BtoB and BtoB’s Media Business. —Christopher Hosford

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