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.