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One of the biggest challenges facing media strategists today is not how to integrate the paid, owned and earned opportunities for comprehensive communications plans. The bigger challenge is how to bill and pay for the varying types of media executions that we are placing today. Consumers are no longer able to easily identify which of the mass of media intrusions was the golden ticket that made them respond. (Those exit poll type surveys just don’t cut it anymore) Media is more ambient than ever before as consumers ping and bounce and skitter all over the place between traditional, connected and multi-device served campaigns.
Most campaigns need a strategic mix of a growing field of engagement options. And… all media is not created equally and neither is the means by which they are negotiated, placed, optimized and reported on. Much like the agency 15% is going bye-bye, so is the one size fits all media commission structure. Traditional channels still follow just about the same protocol; avail, negotiate, place, monitor, invoice. There are the few programmatic attempts but for the most part, it’s business as usual at this time.
Paid social, or what we call Digital Engagement media, requires a consistent management approach to actually garner the true benefits. Why? Because in social we are responding in real time to the consumer. Because the level of engagement is considerably farther down the funnel than awareness as generated by traditional media. It isn’t the same task, or labor and it should not be held to the outdated compensation model. Spurrier Group defines digital engagement media as paid social, social content (native), SEM, display and social listening.
What we are finding after working with numerous vendors, publisher partners and placing and managing millions in paid social directly is that a significant amount of value in successful digital engagement campaigns is in how it is managed and optimized. It takes hands-on. And this includes the agency, not just the publisher, or DSP (demand-side platform). They are great at what they do but the strategy and how the digital engagement relates to the overarching campaign goals requires the agency to be equally involved in optimization and management of the consumer response.
It is as we so lovingly tell our clients, “a time of staff” execution. Clients begin to understand this if we are providing oversight and strategy only and they are executing the social efforts from within. Then it makes sense. They see the level to effort that it takes just to properly manage digital engagement but they also see the value.
Spurrier Group is now beginning to submit proposals to clients with the media channels clearly outlined so there is no misunderstanding about vendor commissions or fees for social media executions. Where we see this leading is to a more time and labor based model for paid media. While that is already fairly standard in government contracts that are fully labor compensated versus percentage of spend, we are having to educate in the area some as to why the digital engagement team labor is at the level it is.
We absolutely love the labyrinth of options to connect brands and consumers and while a good mix of communication tools are needed to fully execute a successful campaign, some channels are simply less labor intensive and compensation models should be evolving to effectively reflect this evolution.
CEO, Spurrier Group