Media planners push innovation and creativity

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The world of media planning has changed dramatically in the past 10 years as a result of new technologies and highly fragmented audiences.

Online advertising, digital TV, mobile devices, podcasting and other emerging technologies have created opportunities as well as challenges for media strategists, particularly in the b-to-b space.

"In the b-to-b space, you really have to differentiate your customers from [their] competition," said Vickie Szombathy, VP-media director at StarLink Worldwide, and this year's selection for veteran media strategist.

Szombathy has forged creative media strategies for her clients to help them stand out from the competition, such as crafting a partnership between the Discovery Channel and client Caterpillar to build a Caterpillar-branded custom motorcycle on "American Chopper."

Like Szombathy, this year's best and brightest media strategists were selected for the innovations they have brought to media planning across online and offline media platforms. From the initial client pitch through research and media execution, these strategists understand the importance of media in meeting the overall marketing objectives of clients.

"Media is much more a point of discussion in a credentials presentation," said Chris Philip, senior VP-media director at Doremus, New York.

Philip has used innovative media strategies, such as buying billboard space in Connecticut train stations that serve New York business commuters to announce the earnings release of client United Technologies, tied to other campaign elements.

"It's important to use integrated media, encompassing not only trade pubs and trade Web sites but search engines and other digital media," said Kevin Arsham, associate media director, business-to-business specialist at media agency OMD Worldwide, New York, a unit of the Omnicom Group of Cos.

Arsham said the use of white papers is becoming an important tool for media planners as well.

For client General Electric Co., Arsham developed an integrated media strategy using a magazine polybag campaign to drive business customers to a GE Web site where they could download a white paper to learn about industry applications.

This year's media strategists were selected based on nominations from agencies, clients and the BtoB staff. They were chosen for their experience in the media industry, innovative work for clients and proven success with campaigns.

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