I chatted with Joanne Crump, VP / Media Services Director, and Andi Kupersmith SVP / Director Canadian Media to get the scoop on the Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC) conference they participated in April. 

What is the CMDC conference and why does Active attend?

Joanne:  The CMDC is a non-profit body comprised of media professionals representing advertising and media management companies. The Conference is an annual event bringing media agency professional, advertisers and media vendors together to discuss issues affecting the media landscape.

Andi:  Many Canadian and International brands place their trust in Active to execute flawless media campaigns.  It’s important that we keep our finger on the pulse of new and emerging insights and trends.

Your favourite Keynote?

Joanne:  Every year there is usually one inspirational speaker and this year it was Sal Khan, founder of the Kahn Academy. Sal got the idea of creating a “free world-class education for anyone anywhere” after tutoring his cousin in Math through video.  His vision was if you allow students to learn at their own pace you can turn those labeled underachievers into top producing students. He leveraged social media (YouTube) as his platform and $3 million dollars later in support from the likes of Bill Gates, Google and others, stats from 15 schools in the US using his videos showed that underperforming students can excel and even surpass other classmates.  His dream continues to be realized as videos on various subjects are now used globally. It was great to see social media at work not for some commercial marketing of brands but for plain common good.

Andi:  I really enjoyed the success story for the Joe Fresh Brand from Loblaws.   Craig Hutchinson did an excellent job on discussing the execution and marketing strategies of the introduction of this brand.  He strongly believes in traditional media supported by social media.  They use social to understand the customer and continually make frequent adjustments to the products offered often on a weekly basis.  Wonder what they do with the inventory that doesn’t sell.  His overall marketing philosophy is rather simple, put the product first.  Create the best products, then determine the price and market it.

 

What was the biggest buzz topic of the conference?

Joanne:  Todd Scheidt , Associate Principle, McKinsey & Co. was all about big data and people as active producers. This was echoed by Jack Myers who also said social media was empowering consumers. According to Google we produce 2 ½ extabytes of data every day, and by 2015 there will be 215 billion devices generating data and computing capacity will fit inside a blood cell. By 2049 supercomputers will surpass the human brain.

What does all of this data mean for businesses?

Andi:  More data provides companies greater opportunity to better segment the population, customize actions and offers the ability to innovate new business models, products and services.  In a big data world the questions we need to ask are- What are all the data assets? How can I use it? What’s the value? What is the road map to making sense of the data? What are the IT implications?

 

There has been a lot of talk over the ad spend to Digital at the expense of other mediums.  Have any new insights emerge on that front?

Joanne:  Jack Myers, Chairman The Media Advisory Group said that we are on the Digital tipping point, we are in the process of crossing the bridge from pre- internet to post internet. Interestingly while everyone has been predicting an increase in Digital spend at the expense of legacy media he predicts that all media will see an increase.  In fact we need legacy media for digital to survive.

Andi:  By 2020 he surmised that digital will make up about 30% of the total marketing spend and dollars will come from below the line such as Direct Marketing, Sales Promotion and Direct Mail initiatives.  Social media will not replace traditional mediums, instead redefine brands and make them more powerful in a digital world.

How does this compare to what Active is seeing in our customer’s media mix?

Joanne:  Clients are still finding their way.  If you take a look beyond the past year and get a longer term historical birdseye view of ad spending, it becomes clear that customers aren’t pulling spend entirely, they are responding to the market and shifting resources as new mediums emerge.   For example, customer ABC, who traditionally focuses on broadcast, shifted to all digital two years ago, and over the most recent two years is running a combination of both. This obviously differs client to client, but in general speaks to the testing going on in the market.  Even the IAB will say that some of the most successful media executions have been the ones that leveraged online and legacy media.

What new technologies are emerging that media professional should be aware of?

Andi:  Paul Price, CEO, Creative Realities talked about the computing capacity exploding every 2 years.  So whatever one knows now … will change.  Whatever has changed so far is only a fraction of the change to come.  So predicting the future of the media world becomes a difficult feat keeping in mind the pace at which technology is changing.

He then showed some technology of the future stating that more machines are connected to other machines than they are to humans.  This included commitment ceremonies between robots, and a clip of a car completely driven by a robot.  I wonder how long the robot had to stand in line at the motor vehicle bureau?

Paul believes that for companies to be successful today technology has to move to marketing.  Companies should use technology to embrace the consumer which in the end will drive conversion to retention.