3 Ways Data Helps Creative Agencies Achieve Better Results

data driven media buying illustrationThe ability to get a client’s message to resonate with the appropriate target market is a key goal and measure of success for creative agencies. Whether that message is delivered through traditional or digital media channels, the aim is still the same: produce creative messaging that will drive awareness, recognition and action.

As a creative agency, your team’s expertise lies in making that message as powerful and persuasive as possible. But there’s more to carrying out a successful campaign than crafting a compelling message.

After all, where’s the value in that wonderful message if it gets heard by the wrong people? Or, worse yet, it doesn’t get heard at all? Or what if the timing is off and the target audience hears the message too early or too late in the decision-making process?

In all those cases, your top-notch creative is essentially wasted; leaving little room for a successful campaign.

Learn More about How Creative Agencies Can Make Money in Evolving Media Environments

The Indisputable Power of Reliable Data

The collection and analysis of data is an integral part of reaching the right audience, at the right time, in the right location to increase the impact of your creative efforts.

This isn’t a revelation. Every marketer knows it’s important to base campaign strategy on hard data like demographics, shopping habits and predictive analytics. The trouble is, if you’re like most creative agencies, access to this level of data requires a significant investment on top of the large expense of employing an experienced media team — we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year.

Of course, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to collect generic demographic data via the internet. Even a limited amount of psychographic data can be culled from online searches around specific target markets. However, these low-cost, widely accessible databases are often:

  • outdated and limited in scope.
  • not regularly backed by reliable resources.
  • limited in their analytical tools.

Having access to the right research tools along with media analytics and performance reporting eliminates these issues and ensures a results-driven approach to your campaigns.

Here’s where a strong media agency partnership comes in. By leveraging science and making data-driven decisions, a media agency can provide the following benefits to creative shops and their clients:

1. Targeting the Right Audience via Effective Channels

According to eMarketer, U.S. programmatic digital display ad spending will reach $22.10 billion. It’s true that programmatic digital advertising is gaining popularity fast, but it comes with a challenge familiar to experts in traditional media buying: making sure you are identifying the right channels from the beginning. Whether choosing the right television or radio spot, or deciding between digital media outlets, getting in front of the right people is still an essential part of campaign success.

Using a solution such as Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) might sound like a dream because of the cost required to access its vast database of demographics, psychographics and consumer behavior. However, strategic media buying does not have to be a wishlist item for your creative shop. By partnering with a proven media buying agency equipped with MRI and other platforms, you can gain access to powerful resources for penetrating insight into the actions and motivations of adult American consumers, including:

  • what people watch, read, listen to
  • what cars they drive
  • how they use the internet
  • their attitudes towards advertising
  • thousands of other data points

This type of data enables us to make scientific decisions to find and reach the appropriate target audience for your messaging; focusing the client’s budget on channels with the best chance of success.

2. Choosing the Best Channels for Placement

Let’s assume your client needs to get their message out to a widespread target market across the country. You’ve crafted a series of fantastic ads designed to carry the brand’s message across television, radio, digital, and print to make sure your client gets maximum exposure. But there’s no way their budget could handle the shotgun approach with such a range of media vehicles.

Having access to the right data points allows your media buying partner decide the best placement for your client’s media to make sure campaigns hit hard and garner the most value.

This is especially important when dealing with nonprofit budgets. For example, we recently worked on a Lung Cancer Awareness campaign with an integrated approach involving print ads in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, digital ads and social targeting. By utilizing a strategic approach to media buying, we were able to guide them on the best investment to reach the largest audience and make the greatest impact. In order to reach both of their target markets (donors and lung cancer patients), we took a 3-tiered approach that included:

  • Broad: cultivated demographic data with gender/age/income, profile of those giving charitable donations
  • Receptive: identified people who follow lung cancer and other cancer organization social profiles
  • Diagnosed: leveraged an anonymized health database of lung cancer diagnosed individuals. Regarding this group we were very conservative with the number of ads that were shown to each person due to the sensitivity of the subject matter as well as to avoid the “creep-out” factor.

Using a data-driven approach to media buying, we chose to deliver the campaign in digital banners and pre-roll video in order to efficiently spread their message nationally and directly send traffic to their website. Here are some of the results from this campaign:

  • Facebook Page Likes – increased from 9,500 in November to 38,000 (as of Jan. 30, 2017)
  • Facebook Engagement on Posts – more than 28,000 likes, shares and clicks
  • More than 30,000 visits to the org website in the month of November
  • YouTube – 2,000 views on LCAM.Org Youtube channel
  • 60 Lung Cancer Survivors shared their story on LCAM.org
  • 20+ Partners Participated in 2016 Campaign
  • More than 25,000 Pins, T-shirts and bracelets distributed

3. Verifying Campaign Completion and Effectiveness with a Post-Buy Analysis

With the amount of money your client spends on creating and placing ads, it’s essential to know that they’re reaching their target market and receiving everything promised in your media buy. After all, media expenditures often represent one of the largest expense line items in a marketing budget. If they’re not getting what they’ve paid for, they’re going to be rightfully upset.

Believe it or not, media stations don’t always deliver what you ordered.

You can ensure your clients that the media partners you’ve chosen to work with are holding up their end of the deal by confirming vital statistics along the way like:

  • Did their schedule deliver the ordered gross rating points (GRPs) or impressions?
  • Did their spots run in the correct dayparts?
  • Did their spots run in the correct programs?
  • Did the correct mix of :15’s, :30’s or :60’s run as ordered?
  • Did they get charged the promised cost per point (CPP)?

Any shortfalls in the above can translate into large sums of money, aka lost opportunity costs.  When we hold the stations accountable to your client’s media orders, their media budget works harder for them — meaning more awareness, sales, and profits.

One of the best ways to gather this information is through an independent media audit. An independent audit not only prevents your client from spending time on this research, but it also provides unbiased scientific data to guide future decisions. Independent audits deliver valuable information such as:

  • Validation of initial research and assumptions used to create the media plan.
  • Evaluation of each placement to determine if actual results bear out the assumptions made in the planning stages.
  • Concrete data you and your client can use to inform strategic decisions down the road.
  • Recommendations on any adjustments to the plan that become necessary as strategy meets execution or placement.

Feedback from an independent audit allows your client’s campaigns to improve over time, which benefits all parties involved.

Creating a Win-Win Situation

It might sound daunting to try and implement all of the tools needed to gather sufficient data to improve your results. However, it is possible.

Creative agencies that specialize in developing killer marketing messages for their clients should continue to focus on this service. The world needs you. By partnering with a team of strategic media planning and buying experts, you can continue doing what you do best and heighten results at the same time. Additionally, working with a media planning partner can add a valuable new revenue stream to your suite of services, directly enhancing your bottom line.

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Partnering with a media buying agency like Blue Onion Media creates an optimal situation for your creative agency to provide the most effective media buying and planning strategy for each unique client and campaign. Our team works as an adjunct to your agency’s talented creative team, with no stepping on toes or conflicts of interest, because we are not in the creative space.

Blue Onion is strictly focused on gathering and analyzing the full scope of data available and using it to ensure your clients’ marketing and advertising dollars are maximizing value on every campaign.

You get to maintain and deepen a great, ongoing client relationship where you focus on what you do best and boost revenue without having to spend a fortune or too much time on handling the data side of the equation on your own.

That’s the definition of a win-win for you and your clients.

For more detailed information, download “How Creative Agencies Can Make Money in Evolving Media Environments”!