Marketing Insider: Lesley Thompson

Marketing Insider: Lesley Thompson

Marketing Insider Lesley Thompson

For this edition of Marketing Insider, we interviewed Lesley Thompson, our Integrated Media Director. As the conversation jumped from Nielsen ratings to negotiation, it was a pleasure to learn more about how the media landscape has changed throughout Lesley’s career.

Bouvier Kelly: You have quite a complex job title that leaves many people asking what you do. To start, could you break down what it means to be an Integrated Media Director?

Lesley: Shortly, I develop the overall distribution strategy for our clients and buy media. A more in-depth description would be that I research the target audience, develop the best plan of action to reach them, then figure out the cost.

BKI: What does it mean to be “integrated”?

Lesley: It refers to the ways in which the media landscape has changed. I have been in the media industry since 1991, when advertising was less digital. Being able to go from tangible tactics like billboards and traditional TV commercials to digital advertising on streaming services and social media is what it means to be integrated. It basically means we have progressed.

BKI: How has the process of media buying changed because of these new advertising channels?

Lesley: For digital advertising, it is less about negotiation and more about strategic selection of tactic(s). Digital advertising is like a marketing vending machine. With the myriad platforms, creative options, and performance KPIs, the opportunities seem endless – unlike traditional media that is limited by commercial breaks or magazine pages.

BKI: How have a growing number of platforms and digital advertising impacted the way marketers’ find their audience?

Lesley: Largely through the research needed to discover where target audiences are obtaining their news and entertainment. Before digital, you could advertise on television and radio based on Nielsen ratings and Scarborough metrics and have confidence that a majority of the target audience would see it, but today you have people with the same interest or demographic with multiple options of how, where and when to get news and entertainment.

BKI: How can people with the same interests or demographic be so different? Wouldn’t they be more inclined to like similar things?

Lesley: Yes, they may like music from the 80s, but it does not mean they both listen to the local 80s radio station. They may stream audio from a multitude of services. In our digital world with streaming services and various social media platforms, there is a portion of people who use them, a portion of people who do not, and a portion of people who may use one platform but not the other. The diversity amongst the target audience has always been there, but it is now greater.

BKI: From the standpoint of an outsider looking into the media buying industry, it seems like determining the most effective use of a client’s budget could be very complex. Especially when it comes to placement selection and negotiating ad prices with media representatives.

Lesley: It can be. Ultimately, it is about creating value for our client. Cheapest is not necessarily the best option. The goal is to negotiate or buy effective schedules as cost efficiently as possible to achieve stated goals within budget. Successful campaigns depend on a thorough understanding of the media landscape and target consumers’ media habits. Most times nothing is a “must-have” for an ad schedule to be successful. It’s really an art and a science.

For more on the shifts in Media Planning and Buying, connect with Lesley or check out this blog on tangible vs traditional media or this one on the effectiveness of print media.

Prepare to Lose Third-Party Cookies

Prepare to Lose Third-Party Cookies

Woman having conference call

If you’ve been keeping up with digital marketing news, you may already know about the so-called “death of third-party cookies”. Though the biggest change won’t occur until 2022, we’re already shifting strategies to prepare. If you’re looking to get up to speed or just want some ideas on how you can prepare, we’ve put together a quick breakdown.

What are third-party cookies and why are they going away?

Third-party cookies are the backbone of programmatic targeting. Basically, they are placed on your browser by an advertiser and track your behavior, what sites you visit, etc. for the purposes of serving you relevant ads. Unlike first-party cookies, you don’t have to visit that specific advertiser’s website to be tagged.

Consumer privacy concerns and government regulations (like the GDPR) have led browsers like Firefox and Safari to ban third-party cookies already. Google announced they plan to ban them in Chrome (the most popular browser by a mile) beginning in 2022 in an effort to give advertisers time to adjust.

These bans only block targeting and traffic from third-party cookies, not first-party. So, this will mostly affect tracking and will be a huge blow to third-party ad partners.

How can we start preparing for the shift now?

The core strategy we recommend is to shift to building, maintaining or increasing focus on your own first-party database. It can be used not only for sales contacts, internal campaigns or ABM, but also for targeting on the wider internet.

Some other tactics to consider as you prepare for 2022 are:

-Content marketing and SEO can bring in a lot of leads when done right. It takes planning and resources, but when the challenge is finding your audience, the best strategy is sometimes to get them to come to you.

-Start testing other types of programmatic targeting now while you still have your existing campaigns with access to third-party cookies.

-Talk to ad partners with a network of first-party sites and begin testing to see how effective these are for your brand/audience.

-Contextual targeting is going to gain a lot of importance. Relevant content topics may seem obvious, but we would suggest also gathering information from your audience on their online behavior. The right campaign may be able to connect some seemingly disparate topics to your brand.


These changes will cause a huge shake-up for many companies, but there’s no need to panic. Ad partners are already working on alternative solutions (and so is Google). If you approach the problem strategically, it may end up yielding a campaign that gets even better results. This change can be an opportunity to make changes you may never have tried before.

Marketing Insider: Donnie Turlington

Marketing Insider: Donnie Turlington

Marketing Insider Donnie Turlington

For our latest Marketing Insider, we interviewed our very own Donnie Turlington, Director of Strategic Communications, to get the scoop on his role with Bouvier Kelly and what Strategic Communications really means for a brand.

  

Bouvier Kelly: In your own words, how would you describe your role as Director of Strategic Communications?

Donnie: Being Director of Strategic Communications at Bouvier Kelly is about helping businesses tell their story. Public relations is about positioning brands as a storyteller. As a brand, you want to make sure the story you are telling resonates with your audience and lays the foundation for your reputation. Strategic communications looks at storytelling through multiple communications channels and planning out how a brand is going to connect with its audience.

BKI: What does an agency provide for brands that they may not be able to provide for themselves when it comes to communications? 

Donnie: We can provide guidance, validation, and the execution of ideas. One person or small team may think a certain way, but a marketing agency is an outside source that has done research on best practices for more effective communications. When we collaborate with a brand, we can take their ideas and tell them if we think it will work, how it could be better, or provide a totally new outlook. I‘ve led strategic communications for local and national nonprofits, local government, higher education and for businesses before and I use all of that experience to inform my thinking and guide our feedback and response to assist clients. An agency takes some of the stress off the brand.

BKI: When do you think a brand should consider seeking help with communications? Does it depend on size or the presence of conflict? 

Donnie: People often think of seeking public relations help for a crisis, but really it should be sought out whenever there is a story to be told. Every business, regardless of size, has a reason for doing what they do. When it’s time to get that message out there, it’s best to work with a professional so that it’s well-crafted and reaches the target audience. That message builds your reputation and can also help with what we call “issue management”, which is dealing with a problem before it becomes a crisis.

BKI: How do you decide which strategy is good for each business? 

Donnie: Strategy is most closely aligned with audience. At Bouvier Kelly, we look at communications through channels. Different channels can include various media outlets, social media platforms, face-to-face, email, etc. For each of these channels, the strategy changes based upon the goal as well.

BKI: Wow, so it seems like there’s plenty of variety in your role as well.

Donnie: Yes, the role is constantly evolving. A few decades ago, it was all about websites, news releases, and media relations. We still look at all those things, plus social media, email campaigns, podcasts, etc. There are now more tools for communication in the toolbox which is good because audiences are far more segmented than they’ve ever been.

BKI: What’s the best part about being in this position?

Donnie: Reflecting on the 20+ years that I have been doing this, I have to say that helping people has been my overall favorite part. When you help a brand connect to an audience, it’s really just creating human connections. Looking at brands behind the logo and seeing them as real people trying to make real connections, is what it’s all about for me.

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

Woman having conference call

We can’t manage other people’s internet connections or background distractions, but as we gain more experience and gather knowledge from the teams that have already been doing this for years, we can boost engagement and find the technology and formats that work best. Bouvier Kelly has been exploring these issues – even before COVID – and we wanted to share a few tips and ideas that have worked for us.

 

A Virtual Event Doesn’t Have to Be Digital Only

Though many conferences are seeing record registration numbers, many registrants aren’t showing up or sticking around. One idea to boost engagement and attendance is to generate pre-event connections and excitement.

  • Go old school and send out a pre-conference goodie bag/prep kit. Try including helpful tools like a headset or webcam.
  • Add some of the fun factor back in with prize cards with QR codes or selfie accessories for your networking chats. What you include should be aimed at your attendees, what they like and most importantly why they like coming to your event.

 

Improve Virtual Presentations

For formal presentations or webinars, to help boost your confidence and not lose your audience as you work to communicate your subject matter, the number one tip is the same as it was in “real” life: practice!

  • Ask your team to do some run throughs so you can get familiar with the technology and feel more comfortable talking into the camera.
  • Your test audience can also make sure your microphone and connection work well and that your visuals support your ideas.
  • For sessions and presentations at virtual events, we recommend pre-recording. That way editing can take care of any blips or interruptions, and you can add in some interest by cutting between the slides and speaker. By adding a live Q&A session, you can get the best of both worlds.

 

Get Comfortable with Video Calls

Video calls aren’t going away any time soon, whether we like it or not, so let’s figure out how to improve them. Remember the human connection and relationship building that we lose by going virtual can be built back through the use of a camera, and use that as motivation to power through the awkwardness and keep getting better.

  • Similar to presentations, do test calls with your internal team and make sure you understand the software and have the right equipment.
  • If you can’t move your workspace to one with a less cluttered background or better lighting, consider purchasing equipment like a backdrop or some lights.
  • Interruptions are going to happen, so try to be patient with whoever you’re talking to as well as yourself. The more you focus on it, the more it affects the rest of the meeting.

 

Build a Digital Tool Kit

Brochures or one-sheets that are perfect in person and in print don’t always translate well to a screenshare.

  • Consider at least resizing for a screen and going landscape mode.
  • Going a step further, we recommend an engaging web page with all the information your sales team needs available at one click (or many clicks that have anchor links to the appropriate sections). You already have the content in your tool kit, you just need to convert it to a digital kit that’s designed for the job. And if you do it right, you’ll have a tool your customers or distributors can even navigate on their own.

 

The most important thing to realize is that virtual and digital aren’t going away soon. They were here before, and they’re here to stay. The best way forward is to embrace the change. If we cling to the way business has always been done and try to wait it out, we’ll be left behind. Adapt for the future while learning from the past.

Check out more tips on virtual presentations here.

Marketing Insider: Pete Parsells

Marketing Insider: Pete Parsells

Marketing Insider Title

Last week our team had the pleasure of kicking off our new series of Insider Interviews with Pete Parsells, our President and CEO. Through these interviews, we will cover issues surrounding the marketing world right now and how businesses can tackle them. Pete offered insights on finding your audience, supporting a cause as a business and evolving marketing tactics. 

 

 

Bouvier Kelly: The coronavirus pandemic has placed a dent in the wallet of many business owners and corporations. To combat this financial turmoil, some businesses have decided to cut back on marketing activities to save money. Why do you believe that marketing is still worth the investment during these challenging times? 

Pete: Because you can’t leave your audience behind. While now might not be the time to push products or services, depending on your industry, now is the time to get out the message that you are still the right company. Get the word out that you are helping your community during the pandemic or show how you support your audience, but you cannot just stop all marketing, because your company may be forgotten, and it’s hard to come back from that. 

BKI: How do you think that consumer behaviors have changed during these times, and how does that impact marketing? 

Pete: Consumer behaviors have changed. More people care about social issues than ever before. Consumers want to see how businesses are supporting various causes and, once again, what they are doing to help the community. Saying you support a cause, then not proving how you support it can hurt business because consumers are doing their research. 

BKI: Very true. Many people have more time on their hands. Whether it be that they are working from home or facing unemployment, they now have more time to fact-check and do research. How do you think businesses should go about marketing moving forward? What strategies do you think they should implement now, and how should they keep it going? 

Pete: It all depends on your business and your markets. What you do and say all depends on your audience, and even in good times marketing must be continuously evolving. You cannot always go out with the same message. 

BKI: I agree. For example, I think everyone is getting tired of the same “unprecedented times” lecture that’s in every ad. 

Pete: Exactly, and it doesn’t show your audience that you care. You have to say what you are doing for the cause. 

BKI: Why do you think some companies don’t back up their claims of support for a cause? 

Pete: Bluntly, some companies don’t really care. They just want to seem politically correct. Other companies are just trying to please everybody, but any position taken could offend someone. It all comes back to “who is your target audience?”. 

BKI: What do you say to businesses that are feeling the pressure to address social issues? 

Pete: I’d advise them to build a program first, then let their consumers know what they are working on. As long as they have started some kind of involvement, they can say they care and are involved. 

BKI: So, it sounds like you think businesses should stand for something and be involved in their communities to some degree. 

Pete: Yes, to some degree. Maybe not so much for business to business relations, but especially for business to consumer relations. Modern day consumers want to be associated with brands that matter and make a difference.  

BKI: People have an increased interest in ethical consumption. 

Pete: They do. Back in the day consumers were only concerned with getting the product they wanted or service they needed for the best price. That was my generation, but things change with every generation and that’s why marketing must continuously evolve. We have to stay on top of changes. 

BKI: How do you suggest companies stay on top of change? 

Pete: Several ways, but a big one for me is reading. 

BKI: Reading what? 

Pete: Everything. Newsletters, research, social media, even books although they are often outdated. It goes past just a 9-5 job. You’ve got to do some homework. 

 

Infographic: Build Your B2B Advertising Strategy

Infographic: Build Your B2B Advertising Strategy

We wish we could share our Media Department’s planning spreadsheets—they really are a thing of beauty. By meticulously laying out every piece of a campaign’s puzzle, our team is able to visualize both the granular and top-level details. They put this level of detail in every campaign beacuse they know how important it is to leave no stone unturned, all while keeping the campaign’s goals, message, budget and audience front-and-center.

We walked through this process in a recent blog post, but we felt it would also make sense to illustrate these ideas visually. You can check out these main ideas below and use the button at the bottom of the post to download a hi-res PDF. 

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