Sep 11 2012 Basis Team Blog Strategy Finding the Freedom to Plan ‘Dream Campaigns’ I recently read a great article on Digiday called The Ad Network Transparency Conspiracy that resonated with me – I felt it aligned perfectly with some industry challenges Centro has aimed to address. If you ask any media planner or buyer to think back to when they studied media planning and were asked to create a “dream campaign,” they’d probably tell you that they hadn’t yet gained understanding of the challenges execution poses in reality. And I seriously doubt that anyone would have relied on networks to account for much of their plan. Why? Because they were thinking without boundaries or limitations. They were thinking solely about relevant content, top tier sites, and custom executions. In other words: They were thinking only about the best interests of the brand they were planning for. But in the real world, there are challenges to building “dream” campaigns. For instance, content sites lead in the arenas of purchase intent, brand favorability, quality perception, message association, aided brand awareness and a slew of other metrics – and by wide margins. But agencies quickly learn that actually executing that dream plan is too often out of their scope of reality because of just how complex the logistics get. This challenge makes the network solution very attractive, allowing a planner to show some of the top tier sites on a network, tout that they’ve gotten the brand on some of the most desirable publishers on the web, and breathe of sigh of relief that they can actually execute it within their already overstretched bandwidth. Equally important: The buyer can boast they got all this for their client for a very attractive eCPM. Yet – as the author of the Digiday article pointed out – if the vast majority of your impressions are landing on lower-quality long tail sites and only a small portion is being purchased on premium sites, this “iceberg” method of delivery is massively misleading to the agency or brand. When taken into consideration, the CPM can actually be much less efficient dollar for dollar. But what good is it to point out the broken methods in our industry without offering up a solution? Well, Centro has one: Go ahead, think up dream campaigns. Every time you’re asked to create a media plan, create something you would’ve been proud of as a student studying advertising. Create something without any regard for “How will we actually do this?” Don’t cut corners on the strategy. Don’t fall into the trap of going for efficiency on the front end because it’s the easiest to sell up the ladder. Create efficiencies where the real inefficiencies lie: In the logistics of the implementation and execution of a complex and well-thought-out media plan. Do it by partnering with a platform designed specifically to address those roadblocks so you can dedicate your talents to creating media plans without boundaries.