May 14 2019 Aubrey Lehrmann Blog Strategy 4 Pieces of Industry Advice from the Centro Industry Advisory Group Thought leaders, assemble! We recently hosted a roundtable discussion with the Centro Industry Advisory Group (CIAG). The CIAG is aimed at gathering valuable input from thought leaders to help shape the future of advertising technology and services. Read on for four key takeaways: 1. Expect unexpected staffing issues Recruiting and retaining talent is an issue for agencies in all markets. In large markets, intense competition for talent leads to higher turnover, and in smaller markets, qualified candidates can be hard to come by. On top of that, staffing needs are unpredictable. Team needs change day-to-day due to sick days or unexpected departures. Events such as an acquisition, a change in management, or a big account win or loss can have long-term impacts on staffing plans. Whatever the reason, be proactive. Use platforms and implement processes that help you prepare for a staffing gap before there’s an issue. Make it easy for team members to pick up where others left off by preserving institutional knowledge during a departure. Use tools that retain campaign histories, log all relevant communications, and store critical documents where they can be accessed by the rest of the team. Finally, when hiring, lean into your network to find great people. Be open-minded and resist the urge to make a checklist. Instead, focus on a candidate’s adaptability, culture fit, and capacity to learn. 2. When it comes to CPMs, you get what you pay for In the media world, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap CPMs may mean more impressions—but not all impressions are created equal. For the middle 70% of the CPM range, quality and rate are reasonably scalable. On the other hand, low-end and high-end CPMs can be out-of-whack; for example, $50 CPMs rarely produce 10x the benefit of a $5 CPM. Conversely, winning inventory at $0.25 per thousand can be wasteful and damaging for brands if their ads are running on the wrong sites. Be sure to monitor your campaigns to balance the quality and price equation. Viewability is a good place to start, but also look for reasonable frequency, comb through domain reporting for excessive impressions on unknown sites, and turn off exchanges with reputations for excessive non-human traffic. Additionally, depending on your set KPIs, set up testing opportunities to compare different CPM ranges. 3. Strategic thinking makes a comeback With so much focus on ad tech, data, and execution in the last few years, deep strategic planning has taken a back seat—but don’t lose sight of the fact that a solid strategy is critical to a campaign’s success! Rather than channel-based planning, flexible categorical planning may help media professionals and brand managers freshen their approach. Planning categorically means that groupings are tailored to each specific initiative based on business goals and marketing positioning. For example, digital planners traditionally use buckets like search, social, and programmatic. Instead, consider groupings that align with your business goals and build tactics to serve those goals. This could include simple buckets like “engage, close, retain” or more customized frameworks such as “buzz-building, event support, post-event reengagement.” This kind of creative thinking can create a more unified experience for consumers, help brands break through the noise, ultimately, produce more effective campaigns. 4. Narratives are more valuable than numbers We are currently in an era of ‘data bloat’ where whatever can be measured is measured. It’s easy to get lost with all the numbers flying around, but two elements need to remain at the forefront: KPIs and effective narratives. First, before any performance data is gathered, establish a KPI that aligns with your strategy. Once data starts coming in, maintain focus on the KPI and make optimizations to improve that singular metric. Recommend actions to take based on the campaign data, anecdotes from non-competitive parallel brands, and industry trends. Actionable insights are more valuable than reporting. Second, find the most effective way to tell the story. Every audience is different, and you may need to change your approach to communicate effectively. That may be via data visualization, digging through the data together in a working session, or creating a sample user journey to illustrate your theme. Every report should have a narrative and a next step. At Centro, we can help you implement these insights to keep your business at the top of its game. Whether you’re ready to plan and buy on your own or if you need additional guidance—we have a solution. Learn more about Basis and Centro services today!