CMDC conference offers countless ideas but accountability still a question mark
A stellar lineup of speakers, thought-provoking panel discussions and entertaining banter highlighted 'Called to Account! Managing Risk and Accountability,' the annual Canadian Media Directors' Council conference held Tuesday in Toronto.
One of the opinions that threaded itself throughout the day was that - whether client, agency, or seller - the focus of media buying can no longer be on CPMs.
A stellar lineup of speakers, thought-provoking panel discussions and entertaining banter highlighted ‘Called to Account! Managing Risk and Accountability,’ the annual Canadian Media Directors’ Council conference held Tuesday in Toronto.
One of the opinions that threaded itself throughout the day was that – whether client, agency, or seller – the focus of media buying can no longer be on CPMs.
Amongst the many points made in his presentation, U.S.-based media futurist Jack Myers pointed to emotional connections as the new and primary media currency. He said the shift is now to one-to-one interpersonal communication and any marketer not recognizing the power of the Internet was making a big mistake. He also predicts more marketer/agency equity investment in media properties.
Myers also warned the audience not to think that branded entertainment was the be-all and end-all. He said sponsorship was the fastest growing marketing vehicle and expects that by 2015, spot buys would only account for 44% rather than 88% of media plans, with sponsorship composing 30%, alliances 18%, and partnerships 8% (which would bring it back from its current 2% to the status enjoyed in 1960 when P&G brought us the soap opera.)
In the discussion, ‘The Future of Sponsorship and Branded Entertainment,’ panelist Michael Beckerman, CMO of BMO Financial Group, touched on some similar points. He felt there was a danger in ‘over-revving’ on branded entertainment and that while the industry had done a good job of measuring the rational side of the business, such as audience size, it is unable to measure the emotional aspect. Quantifying this is important, he said, because there has to be a natural affinity between what a brand is all about and the end user.
Beckerman also felt that the focus on measurement had strangled creativity .
‘The Auditors and the Audited’ highlighted the somewhat contentious topic of media auditing. The panel consisted of Bruce Grondin, president of Mediaedge:cia, and Hugh Dow, president of M2 Universal, with the heads of two U.K.-based auditing firms, John Billett, chairman of Billetts and Media Performance Monitor America, and Stephen White, founder and chairman of EMM International. (See interview with White, MIC, March 22/05.)
Dow said his experience with media auditing had shown it to be a ‘superficial and meaningless activity.’ He said it was generally a three-week disruption and that the auditors didn’t know about the business and needed a short course before getting started. While agencies were being pushed for proprietary research and deeper consumer understanding by their clients, Dow said the auditors simply focus on broad demographic CPMs.
Grondin said media auditing is inevitable in Canada, particularly for multinational clients, although he doesn’t expect it to be widespread. He said if auditors could help clients understand that media is more than a commodity and not just the most for the least, he would welcome them.
Grondin felt that international media auditing firms wouldn’t stay in Canada long once they discovered how complicated media buying is here, the size of the budgets and how little money they would make in the market.
Billett agreed the business is complex in Canada, and said media auditing should be handled by Canadians who know the marketplace, which is how his company operates in other countries.