Being in sales – traditionally a high-touch role – means that conversations are everything. That’s one reason why, after 14 months of quarantines, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, Brian Batenburg is feeling the absence of in-person conversations more than others might. “I have missed direct human engagement – the in-person connection, the positioning and the kind of feeling you just can’t get on a call,” says The Globe and Mail’s head of digital advertising sales.
Despite the loss of in-person contact, Batenburg believes programmatic’s ability to be tracked and optimized in real time actually provides more opportunities for collaboration – and therefore more frequent contact – with colleagues and clients. He’s excited by how quickly programmatic has matured.
“We’re making critical leaps in best practices,” he explains. “At the level of premium programmatic, the technology has driven efficiencies that have freed up time for our customers and clients to be better marketers and bring back the human touch that was missing from the bidding process.”
The Globe’s clients can then have more substantive conversations with the publisher about the challenges their brands face – and those have been extensive in the last 14 months, considering how COVID-19 has forced businesses to pivot from an advertising perspective. “The fact that some verticals have been virtually inactive – travel and hospitality, for example – and others, like e-commerce and financial services, have really taken off has pushed us to pivot in response,” Batenburg notes.
He says those better conversations allow for clearer KPIs. And when that KPI is identified, teams can track performance in real time so that the conversation becomes one about moving through different iterations of the campaign or focusing on specific optimizations or, if necessary, pivoting completely.
“What we see quite often is that somebody has assets for a campaign that are very specific and binding, but for whatever reason do not meet the campaign objectives,” he continues. “We’re able to readjust and mature that campaign over time. These are by far the best conversations we have with our advertisers and the campaigns that succeed the most. These opportunities don’t exist in a bidding environment.”
This is where Batenburg and his team can bring their consultative chops to the table and demonstrate the capabilities of a premium media partner such as The Globe. It’s easy for a buyer to take a blunt, simplistic approach by saying this or that platform has worked in the past so move all its campaigns over there. But The Globe’s value proposition lies in its diverse ecosystem of platforms and capabilities that enables its more nuanced, bespoke approach.
As a premium publisher, rich in content, The Globe is focused on maximizing contextual targeting and first-party data as a key strategy in adapting to – and maintaining their unique benefits for clients – in the new, cookie-less normal. The opportunity is to utilize the exclusive attributes that contextual targeting in premium environments provide for brands to align with content in the moment, and when consumers are ready to act.
“It’s a much deeper conversation that’s directly connected to how our programmatic approach is giving a lift to your brand, whether from an awareness or an engagement standpoint,” Batenburg says. A big part of that conversation is the value of The Globe’s multiple properties, including its recently launched podcast The Decibel. Another is Globe Alliance, its collective network of sites including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fast Company, The Guardian, Elle and ESPN, giving campaigns far more reach and scale.
Ultimately, The Globe wants to grow its clients’ businesses, and is doing so by focusing on the technology and expertise necessary to grow its own business from a marketing standpoint. “If we remain focused on the technology and the data, our clients can focus on the human side of the marketing equation,” says Batenburg. “That’s a really critical balance and that’s the role we know programmatic needs to play.”
The Globe and Mail is Canada’s foremost national newspaper, and through its advertising division Globe Media Group, provides unparalleled access to influential audiences within trusted, premium ad environments, including 20 million Canadians through the Globe Alliance digital network. Globe Media Group offers custom marketing solutions across newspaper, magazines, online, mobile, video and app, as well as custom content and special events. Contact Brian Batenburg, head of digital advertising sales at Globe Media Group BBatenburg@globeandmail.com