At DIS he began by asking “what keeps advertisers up at night?” His presentation was rooted in the conversations that he has had with both publishers and advertisers as part of his consultation business. He added that he has worked with 60% of the top 50 publishers in the world including BuzzFeed and Vice.
“We are strategic advisers and operators who work at the intersection of marketing, tech, media and advertising, helping companies to grow their businesses,” Bernhard explained.
“Today I want to focus on the areas which have been proven in the last one or two years to help publishers and advertisers to grow their business, namely data proficiency, partnerships and trust.”
“Data is now almost always at the centre of everything that is being proposed,” said Bernhard. “And from the data source we work out how we can help advertisers get ready for the future.”
“Advertising people need to understand data points and then corral that data and get the insights and analytics and learn from them. We want to deliver a message to consumers that really matters and what matters is what we learn from data. So I say to advertisers you need to get going right now on collecting and analysing data. I remind them that their competitors have possibly been doing this for two years ago and have two years more data than they have.”
Bernhard then explained that he worked with advertisers to simplify their structures. “They need to be faster and more agile and solve the problems holistically.”
“Advertisers should be using data to make more decisions. But they need to start asking the questions that they need data to answer.” As an aside Bernhard said that he was surprised how many advertisers are still not asking the right questions.
Another key issue for brands and advertisers is what is insourced and what is outsourced. Bernhard advised brands to protect their data and not give it away so insourcing it is important. Similarly Bernhard noted there has been a shift with more advertisers insourcing programmatic buying and also going directly to publishers.
Bernhard said “the minimum we expect from advertisers is some technical expertise in data management. They need to prepare for more automated communication in the future. Lots of advertisers are still behind in the tech world.”
Bernhard said that partnerships are becoming hugely important, but also that there are many opportunities, some direct and others via intermediaries. The most important ones are often symbiotic.
“There is a moment when you have to accept that you don’t know enough and that you need someone to help you,” said Bernhard.
He then went on to briefly discuss what the agency of the future might look like as well as exhorting companies to create content. “We never talk to advertisers about content – we just do it.”
Though Bernhard cautioned brands to think very seriously about the content they create and how it needs to be rooted in brand purpose.
Finally Bernhard talked about trust. He acknowledged that in the past there has been an issue with trust with kickbacks between companies. He said that companies were in the process of re-building that trust and that transparency was at its heart.
“Clients are demanding pricing structures and audits – every single advertiser is getting more granular and guarded. They want accountancy of every single dollar that is spent, we look at the abstract and demand transparency on every single item. Every single dollar needs to lead to valuable and measurable consumer contact.”
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