For the past 15 years, TVWeek has made media planners one of its main constituents. For almost a decade, on a weekly basis, we had various experts write a column directed solely to planners. Furthermore, we have our annual Media Planner Conference, where we discuss important issues that are creating a buzz in the media planning community.
And now we kick off our latest feature, our Media Planner of the Month, brought to you by TVWeek in conjunction with the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA). [Please Note: Though this feature is co-sponsored by DPAA, all editorial decisions, including who the honoree will be, are made independently by the editorial team at TVWeek.]
Our first honoree as our October Media Planner of the Month is Mike Martinez, Director of Planning at Carat USA. He works out of Carat’s San Francisco office.
Mike is a veteran of Zenith Optimedia and Razorfish, among others, before landing at Carat. So why Carat? Says Mike, “I had a friend who told me how smart the team was there about integrated media and that they had a consumer-centric approach, especially about video. That you can’t really look at channel planning anymore, you have to look at audience planning. And it’s a philosophy I agree with and took to immediately.”
Mike was interviewed by TVWeek editor Chuck Ross. An edited transcript will follow.
We started off the conversation talking about a major client for whom Mike does a lot of work. Because of the client’s shyness about these matters, we will refer to the client as a big family vacation destination.
Mike Martinez: Clearly video is a key with this client. There’s a lot to the emotion that goes with the brand. While TV generally rules the media spend [in terms of amount of money spent], consumers are watching video in lots of places and on lots of devices. So you need to approach planning from this fully integrated multimedia view, which we here at Carat call our TV Stack approach to planning and buying.
So how are consumers using their various devices? That often starts with digital, and video on multiple devices. Desktop, laptop and mobile. We can really maximize reach by adding TV to that initial buy, rather than starting the other way around, with TV first. I know a lot of clients and agencies do it with TV first and then look at digital as sort of a second thought. We definitely approach it the other way around.
We think our approach reflects people’s behaviors the way media has converged, especially when it comes to video. Starting with streaming. With our planning tools we can see where we will approach a plateau with digital, as far as the reach you are going to get, and then we add TV to that. We feel that’s a more efficient way to go.
Certainly with our big family vacation destination client we have we look at every screen we can. The idea is to eliminate waste. So we want to make sure the TV dollars are working as hard as possible for the client, without generating that huge waste you get if you are just buying gross ratings points for the 25 to 54 demo. Instead we would buy parents with children in the household who are between certain ages, and where the household has a certain level of income.
We also try to tie ROI (return on investment) to our TV buys. We can look at our addressable buys, the actual households, and within a safe harbor we can match that data with our CRM (customer relationship management) data so we know who is buying vacation packages. It makes TV a little bit more accountable for the dollars spent on TV.
TVWeek: Can you take us through a typical integrated buy you’d do for this client?
Martinez: We feel that as far as video is concerned, we are device agnostic, which also means we don’t let TV planning rule the media mix and the channel planning. That’s why we say we are consumer centric.
One of the things we do with our big family vacation destination client is look for co-viewing opportunities where parents are watching video with their kids. For example, parents with preschool-age children are likely to watch their tablet device with their kid. Not just to authenticate the device with a cable or other operator, but they are actually watching the programs with their kid. We also know they are taking their kid to the cinema. They are taking them to movies out of home. So if we can be in front of them when they watch video in these ways, reaching both the child and parent together, it can add a little more of an impact to our buys.
Having said that, we can also increase our frequency buy. Let’s say a parent is watching Sprout with their kid on a tablet. We can use targeting to also deliver ads to the parents on their other devices, maybe when they are not with their child. We can also use geographic targeting to target folks who are at malls where we have out-of-home advertising. Once we know that they are in the mall with their kid we can deliver maybe a video to them.
It’s all about being as smart as possible about those little moments when the parent and their child are together, and making sure our client is part of that experience. Actually, not just part of that experience, but adding value to it. It could be content that might tell them here’s what a vacation with your preschool child could look like. And that could be in the form of an interactive video or other content. It’s using data to target audiences instead of demographics.
TVWeek: And what about when the parent takes his kid or kids to the movies?
Martinez: In cinema there are the standard spots you can run, and we can also run dedicated 90-second content that’s directed at the specific movies that we know the parents of preschool-age children are taking them to see. So we can deliver content that can overcome barriers. So you have a 4-year-old, and you might not think they are ready to go to a major family destination. But there are ways our client has made it an easier experience. And to deliver a video showing how great the experience can be when the parent is spending time with their child can make a big impact on the parents’ decision to go or not go.
TVWeek: Can you also take into account any differences between various ethnic groups when you do your targeting?
Martinez: Yes. And that goes back to adding value to what a consumer is already doing. For example, we know that Hispanic families generally travel with a larger group. Lots of multi-generational travel. The grandparents are coming. The aunts and uncles are coming. So being able to provide some content that shows you can have these larger moments of togetherness with your entire family.
TVWeek: How hard is it to figure out how much money to allocate to each part of your integrated plans?
Martinez: It’s getting more and more difficult to do. Compared to the days of maximizing out your reach in TV and then allocating your buy to the different channels, we have a lot more of a media mix. And the discussion of digital is more sophisticated than it was. When I started it was just online and offline. For example, mobile. Is that a digital placement? Is that a mobile placement? Or is that out-of-home, because maybe someone watching video is on a mobile device on an airplane. People are giving us a lot more signals, which not only allow us to target them, but to target them with relevancy.
So while things are getting more complicated, we are also getting more sophisticated in our targeting.
TVWeek: Overall on a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about how good the measurements are that you are getting, in terms of their accuracy, in doing what you need to do?
Martinez: The short answer is that I’d probably go a little higher than 5 to 7. It’s not a 10 because while we have lots of ways to measure data, tying it all together and making sense of it is a lot more difficult.