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Media Measurement Omnichannel Artificial Intelligence

How are brands & agencies solving for fragmented media planning?


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

December 21, 2023 | 6 min read

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Planning is a completely different game in 2023; long gone are the days of three media channels to contend with. Speakers from KFC, Wavemaker and GroupM Nexus reveal how to futureproof media strategies to help clients thrive.

The Drum Live stage with speaker and guests

Speaking at The Drum Live, Elliot Millard (Wavemaker), Suzanne Perry (KFC) and Gerhard Fourie (GroupM Nexus)

Media planning is getting a lot more complex with new channels, an increase in consumption time, and a greater overlap in demographics. There is a need for planners to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to futureproof their strategies.

Speaking at The Drum Live, Elliot Millard, chief strategy and planning officer at Wavemaker, admitted being a planner in 2023 is complicated. “It used to be really easy, you could buy a bit of telly and buy some posters but increasingly you are now dealing with 15 different channels, and then the amount of time people spend on media has gone up by about five hours a day,” he said.

Millard was joined on stage by Suzanne Perry who is head of media for KFC UK and Ireland. For her, the expansion of media channels means a careful balancing act between experimenting with the new and maintaining tried and tested channels.

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“On one hand, you’ve got lots of this shiny new stuff like AI and AR, and lots of pressure to be that first mover to test it, particularly with KFC we’re always looking at McDonald’s, what are they doing, and there’s a bit of a fight over who gets to something first,” Perry explained. “But on the other hand, when you look at the media that works, we’re looking at media that hasn't changed in the approach to planning it for over a decade.”

The fast food chain has experimented with Blockchain, doubled down on TikTok, ran an AI-generated campaign, and had a big presence on fledgling ad platforms like Uber and Deliveroo.

“It’s really finding that balance to make sure that we’re still working with the tried and tested media channels that econometrics has proved over and over and over again. But also making sure that we’re pushing that innovation edge to make sure that we’re keeping up with the Joneses,” Perry added.

Gerhard Fourie, global client partner at GroupM Nexus, said he is hearing from clients that it’s been harder to experiment on emerging channels. “The CMO needs to demonstrate how they are impacting revenue and now the metrics have changed. You have to be more precise; you have to be faster, and it has to work,” he said. “That’s when experimentation gets very tough.”

Omnichannel v multichannel

Omnichannel is positioned by some in the industry as the easiest way for brands to overcome the headaches of fragmentation. Millard explained omnichannel planning as a shift from thinking channel first to thinking about “the encounter that you want people to have with your brand”.

According to Millard, there is a competitive advantage to thinking “screw the channel, it’s just a delivery mechanism”. Thinking in that way, he says, can free brands from the traditional idea of consumption behavior. He also added that it can be “helpful to audit whether you get involved in the new shiny things.”

Fourie advises that while you can buy a one-plan-fits-all strategy there is still more that needs to be done to connect the dots between channels.

“It's really interesting to bring all the channels together, but then you need the data signals to work and the ability to flex budgets on the go. I’m very dubious about anything that’s omnichannel that is planned like a swimming pool without swimming lanes,” Fourie said.

From the brand perspective, Perry acknowledged that omnichannel planning needs full buy-in from the business. Perry comes from a media agency background previously executive director at OMD EMEA and strategy director at Starcom. She said this has helped her simplify and communicate the “nuts and bolts” of her planning to senior leadership.

“Test, measure, and learn,” she urges brands. “Just constantly keep up to evolve it and fine-tune it, it’s not just a case of doing an omnichannel approach. The beauty of it is that you can fine-tune as you go and that is how you get maximum impact so don’t just sit back till the end of the campaign how it worked but keep your eye on it constantly.”

It also helps to pool resources, she said. Perry revealed she often gives away media budgets to other marketing functions to speed up the testing process. “My media budget isn’t mine, production budget isn’t the head of advertising, if anything it’s the Colonel’s budget and he would be happy if we broke down the silos even in marketing,” Perry said.

Tune in to watch the full video here.

Media Measurement Omnichannel Artificial Intelligence

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