Garry McGuire, CEO of RMG Networks wrote an excellent article entitled ‘Why 2011 will be digital out-of-home’s tipping point‘ on iMedia Connection recently. In that article he addressed how DOOH media owners should position, sell and market their products to media planning and buying agencies.
It’s something that I strongly recommend all network owners read and to build on that excellent start to 2011, I have a couple of comments from an agency perspective which relate to some of the specific points that Garry raises.
- Audiences or Screens?
The viewer profile point in the article is a particularly good one and it’s important to differentiate between the planning audience and the buying audience. You need to be able to sell on both of these levels.
The planning audience is often very rich in detail, goes far beyond traditional demographics and can take into account peoples’ opinions, attitudes, lifestyles, purchasing habits etc.
A fictitious example might be: Men, aged 35+ with high household incomes, who think that family is important, believe they are in touch without the latest technology and are in the market for a new car.
A segment as specific as this cannot be analyzed in a media audience measurement system to determine the GRPs or CPM that a particular plan will deliver against this audience.
So the buying audience when looking at such figures might simply be Men, aged 35+ with high household incomes.
Like most media/communications planning agencies, specialist OOH agencies need to ensure that they too make the consumer the start point when planning activity. Defining and understanding the consumer and their behavior (and of course the brand, its market, etc.) needs to be combined with data and understanding relating to media and locations. OOH agencies should certainly not start their buying decisions with location.
Since 2008, Posterscope has been using our proprietary consumer insight study and tool, OCS, to understand OOH audiences with incredible detail such as consumer mindset, what they are thinking about, media format noticability, attitudes to DOOH, action taken after seeing ads and much more, all of which is cross tabbed by environment.
This is not to say that location is not important and, in part thanks to mobile, it has become one of hottest topics in the media industry. We should not forget that OOH is the original and most commercially successful location based media.
- OOH Media Budgets
A good OOH agency should also be able to access budgets allocated to other media by demonstrating the role for OOH in an increasingly convergent world and leveraging the benefits and flexibility of DOOH. This can get portions of budgets allocated to other media shifted to DOOH. Media owners should be looking for collaboration opportunities with the OOH agencies whose clients see them as planning partners, not billboard buyers. We are not precious about our advertiser/agency relationships and welcome joint initiatives.
- Audience Measurement
It’s no good calculating DOOH rating points using gross audiences and expecting agencies to take these as usable GRPs. Such figures are usually impossible to take seriously and must be netted down. DPAA guidelines can often help with this and we are happy to provide advice too.
- Planning Systems
Garry is absolutely right in saying that planning DOOH screen campaigns is labor intensive and over-complicated and that embracing agency planning systems increases efficiency all round. Posterscope is the only agency to operate a proprietary DOOH planning tool, Prism Screen, which is now live in 17 countries. During its’ first full year of launch in the UK in 2009, our DOOH billings grew at around twice the rate of the total market (even though we account for over 40% of the market).
Admittedly some of the other planning systems on the market, particularly in Europe, are quite poor and unlikely to gain much traction, but I would recommend that media owners remain open minded around the principle of such platforms. Some degree of automation is inevitable. While some operators have experienced teething problems with their experimentation, all agencies will eventually need one system or another so you might as well support a number of the high quality players.
- Showcasing Products
One key area in which DOOH media owners almost always under-deliver is supplying advertisers and agencies with high quality, realistic looking marketing materials. Repeated spend on photography and video might seem unnecessary but we spend a lot of time merchandising campaigns back to clients and agencies. Each is an opportunity to impress and increase the chances of repeat business. Material also gets used when promoting our products to other clients. If you don’t have a page of glamour shots on our free Screengalleryusa.com website then you are missing a trick – some of Posterscope’s competitors have since launched their own versions so get on these as well, EdPlease though do NOT make photos look staged – so no audiences pointing at your screen with awe!
Two good examples are Adspace here who, as a network, also seem to do a great job of getting lots of exposure on DailyDOOH as well and pics like the one shown to the right here of a Clear Channel Roadside LED Billboard
- More Help
Of course there are many more critical areas that should be addressed, effectiveness research being one – I actually disagree with Garry here as I don’t think there is anywhere near enough custom research in the US.
This topic of marketing DOOH screens to agencies is explored in more detail in our presentation from Screen Expo 2010 (which you can find here) in London
In the U.S., media owners wishing to be included on Prism Screen should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for login and data entry details.