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Friday, March 13, 2009

Media and Creative: Live together or die together.

Stakes are higher now than ever for success - actually, high stakes for our survival are more like it. The level of dysfunction between agencies (and the various parties within), clients and publishers continues to elevate as campaigns gain complexity and economic pressure increases. To focus a bit: collaboration between media and creative teams, whether from the same or different agencies, has got to improve.

Gunther Sonnerfeld, in his March 13, iMedia Connection piece, Why Media and Creative Need to Cross the Aisle, addresses the topic to a degree, but veers into the high-ground of " . . . when innovation is the key to success." As PM's we are painfully aware: great thinking isn't worth the PPT it's printed on if you can't execute.

It never ceases to amaze me how seasoned, high-performing industry veterans, who know, work with and respect each other, will claim that the other's agency/team is nightmare to partner with. All day, everyday very smart people across the industry, including very senior talent, are mired in the collateral damage of poor partnerships.

Along the campaign development continuum, from Initiation to Deployment & Diagnosis, there are key activities and deliverables that require media/creative alignment in order to get projects out on-time, on-budget, on-spec - let alone reaching Sonnerfeld's ideal of innovation or, even high-quality. Below are some key milestones, grouped by project phase. Let's play a little game: See how many you recognize as dys-integration pain-points from your past experience (and likely, your future ones):

  • Client Request:
    Always hear about this in time?

  • Brief (Media, Creative, Project ):

  • Strategic Recommendation:
    Always considers both medium and message?

  • User Experience or Design & Channel Roles:
    Full customer journey considered?

  • Measures of Success:
    Ever see CTR driving a branding campaign or humor/animation that impedes reaching desired response objectives?

  • Media Consideration Set:
    Creative folks have an opinion on where/when ads should run?

  • Conceptual Designs & Prototypes:
    Media folks have any thoughts on whether units will work or what the competition has already done?

  • Specifications:
    Red Meat! Don't even know where to begin on this one!

  • Main Ad Units:
    Wish you'd seen/shown to your partners before client buried you?

  • Unique Units, Odd Sizes & Resizes:
    Too many / too few? LCD issues? Show client all units or assume because client approved the main ones, the others are approved?

  • Traffic:
    Ever resent a site,media or creative partner for caving and saying they can turn around in 1 day?

  • QA:
    Listed after Traffic intentionally. Ever wish you checked yourself, before trafficking?

  • See comments re: Measures of Success in Definition Phase section above:
    How good are you at arguing both pro and con DL study results? Have enough time / budget / data to optimize creative?

There are a myriad of best-practices to be applied to address issues across this broad a spectrum. They all include better, more timely communication between media and creative teams / agencies. As far as serving the client, we only succeed together. In terms of CYA, if your partner blows up, the shrapnel could be headed your way.

1 comment:

  1. Impressive. Lots of pain points that I recognize. Thanks. Will use this with my team.