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Managing Marketing: Reaching Your Audience With Precision Media

Haydon_Bray

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Haydon Bray is the Global Chief Executive Officer of Audience Precision, a media strategy, planning and activation company. He explains how their data informed process, developed over the last decade, eliminates the guesswork for marketers in identifying their audiences, aligning top level strategy and delivering media activation. Using a single core dataset throughout the marketing process, it removes the need to join the dots and delivers smart media planning at scale for their clients.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising, with industry thought leaders and practitioners. Today, I’m sitting down with Haydon Bray, Global Chief Executive Officer of Audience Precision.

Welcome, Haydon.

Haydon:

Thank you, Darren. Thanks for having me.

Darren:

Well, this is not your first rodeo or rodeo, as they say, is it — into the world of media? But it is quite different from what you’ve done before.

Haydon:

It is. My background has been years and years of doing this. I came through the ranks of George Patterson’s and then became National Media Director of DMB&B all those years ago. And then decided to have a go at it myself.

Darren:

And well, it’s interesting because both of those are in the days when media and creative agencies were actually all one and the same, weren’t they?

Haydon:

And it was a really solid model, I must say because there was respect across all the different departments. The media guys were not just people to throw the money at the networks at the end of the day. Ultimately, that was only a part of it.

But really, the strategic piece was the thing that got me interested in it. And the respect from the creative directors and all the creative team to a strategic conversation was really interesting. And it was just down the corridor, as opposed to it being a different building these days.

Darren:

Come on Haydon, the truth is us creatives (because I was a creative back in those days), we loved the media department because you had the best tickets to the best events, to all the sporting events … come on.

Haydon:

We had all of that and … well, the good thing is, the eighties, early nineties was all about that, and it was seriously a fun part of the game. But there was also a lot of serious work that got done, which I suppose for me, as a very young guy coming through the ranks, I was able to be mentored by some pretty interesting people — Alex Hamill being the most important one.

Also, a guy named Ron Selsby, he was the Media Director at George Patterson’s, took me under his wing early and taught me the importance of thinking differently, I suppose, as opposed to just a lot of people in the ranks that were just ticking boxes and getting out the door at five o’clock. Whereas, I was sitting in Ron Selsby’s office later on through the day and just having interesting conversations. And I suppose, that’s where I started to get a taste that the media space was going to be an interesting one for me.

Darren:

And you mentioned a minute ago, then you went and set up your own agency.

Haydon:

That was called Bray Media. And my wife, Kerry, was a partner in that and Tony Lyall originally. And we went on, I suppose, a mission to create another outsourced media buying service because that was when Mitchell & Partners and Merchant & Partners and all those guys were breaking away from agencies as a bundle, and offering that service independently.

And we were the new kids on the block. Most people thought we’d fail because we were way too young. You know, that sort of early late-ish 20s sort of space. And we set up in Manly and most people didn’t think that would work. So, we proved them wrong. 10 years later, we built a significant business.

Darren:

Well, you’re clearly showing a sort of trend towards doing things ahead of the curve, because now Manly’s where so many agencies have actually set up because it’s such a great place to be.

Haydon:

It’s such a great place to be. And, in those days, there were a lot more client meetings and rep meetings than there are these days and most of them loved coming down there. The big agencies were having trouble trying to get decent talent, whereas, because we were at Manly and because we were doing things differently, we had a queue at the door of strong talent and it was pretty interesting.

We had an amazing group of people, everyone got a surfboard when they came in, and that was the rules. And they were able to go and surf at lunchtimes and run around the beaches at lunchtimes with memberships down at Manly Surf Club to be able to change and get ready for the afternoon.

But we really enjoyed it. And the work was really solid. We had some massive clients. Over 10 years, we built it up to about $250 million billings, which was good for a genuine independent. And the next part of our journey was that we sold to Carat, and it became Carat in Australia. So, we were the foundation component of what Carat is today.

Darren:

Right. But now, you’ve got something that’s actually an extension of that. And again, sort of at that leading edge. Well, tell us a bit about Audience Precision.

Sorry, I will say, one of the things that got me is you’ve got a video that explains the concept and it says 10 years in the making. So, perhaps, give us a bit of an insight into that 10 years.

Haydon:

I was very fortunate in the days of DMB&B, a guy named Marshall Duncan was head of IT and software development and building all the systems. And I shared a real interest in that. And I suppose I taught him a bit about media and he taught me a lot more about programming. So, am I a programmer? No. Can I get my way through it? Yeah, I can.

And so, I had that, I suppose, passion to learn about how you can do things better, more accurately and faster, so that your strategic people (me included) could spend more time doing what we love to do, as opposed to crunching numbers and all the things that media is renowned for.

We were very much, back in those days, leading that charge and Audience Precision is the next evolution of this. I always had a concept to be able to build something that was robust, that took away the grunt work of media, I suppose, and be able to scale it.

And so, I started building a wireframe with a friend of mine by the name of Jeremy Cath, who was recruited into the Microsoft network and worked in their Seattle office, running the evangelist unit for them, which was a pretty interesting space. And so, he was always my go-to-guy, where I could say, “Am I crazy thinking about this idea?” And he would say, “No, no, here’s a few extra things we’ll do.”

So, I would build a fundamental wireframe and he would actually start to shape it. But it was just a bit of a fun thing to do, I suppose, up until five years ago, really, six years ago.

Darren:

Right. So, 10 years in the making, but you got serious five years ago.

Haydon:

Exactly. A really good friend of mine and an old client, a guy named Tony Harlow who was my client at EMI in the music industry and we bumped back into each other in a Manly cafe. He was an amazing character, but he went back to the UK at the same time as I sold to Carat. And then he came back as the head of Warner Music in Australia.

And so, with Warner Music, his mission was to reinvent it. And he is that exceptionally talented music guy that actually really is very talented at marketing. And so, he convinced me to come and spend a couple of days a week with him as I suppose, a strategic guy, thinking guy in the background. Am I a music person? Not on your life. But that’s why he wanted me there because I was thinking differently about the music space.

And then from there, it started to evolve and he set me a challenge and said, “I want you to set up an agency. And if you can, let’s make it really different.”

Darren:

I find the music industry particularly interesting for innovation. And it’s innovation-driven by what is often a paucity of resources. And so, they get used to doing so much with so little that they are constantly looking for innovation.

You know, they’ll just try new ways of doing things. They’re the ones that came up … they almost refined the art of putting bill posts up all over the place. They’d find ways of doing collaborations with brands and bands to extend the exposure and things like that.

So, I’m not surprised that it was actually someone from the music industry that embraced the idea of media could be done better.

Haydon:

Exactly. And they’re also the first major category to be smashed by pirating. Napster and that whole thing. So technology has now become their absolute friend with Spotify and all the other streaming services.

Darren:

And downloading.

Haydon:

… the elements of all of that. But prior to that, they were getting absolutely beaten up. And so, there was a whole strategic approach we had to create that was a little different. So, launching artists was one thing, but also, how do we actually navigate through this dramatic behaviour change?

And there were lots of really fascinating conversations with Tony. But he’s a marketer at heart and a music guy as a specialty. And so, I suppose for him, we would just be constantly thinking of disruptive things to make a difference for his Artists. And then when he gave me the challenge to set up a media agency, I said, “Look, really, I don’t want to set up another agency again. I’ve been through that before, and been reasonably successful at that.”

But he said to me, “Whatever it is that you’re going to build, if you build it, I know it’ll be something really interesting.” And so, that’s what I did. I dusted off all the things that Jeremy and I were playing around with and got serious. And then Tony handed me their business and we really took things to a whole new level from that point.

Darren:

Good. So, the other thing that your video says is that everything is data-driven. And I remember when I saw the video a couple of weeks ago, I went, “Hey, yeah, come on, everyone’s saying that.” Like even the big network agencies: “Ah, we’re investing in data.” We have Hearts & Science a few years ago, Scott Hagedorn, out of Annalect “You know, data-driven data-driven. We’ll go into the walled gardens and get you a better performance.”

Martin Cass was at MDC, he set up their media functional data-driven. What’s the difference?

Haydon:

The data we use. We can integrate clients’ first-party data if they have it, but that actually, isn’t mandatory for us because we’re all about what the consumer thinks.

We have a consumer research partner and we research 1.2 million people every quarter around the world in 46 countries. And we know what they think, what they believe in, what they do, what their behaviour in every aspect of their life looks like.

So, for us, we’re all about that insight piece and our job’s to weaponise it. And so, if we weaponise that insight, we can create something really, really powerful, which is what we’ve done and we’re now doing work with Warner Music around the world based on these insights.

Darren:

So, Haydon, do you think it’s because you’re working with Warner and the music industry? Because one of the things they struggle with is getting a lot of first-party data. The Apples and the Spotifys of the world are not rushing forward, handing over, “Well, here is person number A and they listen to this track and this, and they’ve downloaded this.” They know the value of that data, so they keep it to themselves.

Haydon:

They do.

Darren:

Is that part of the motivation? The fact that Tony couldn’t come to you and say, “Well, I’ve got all this first-party data,” so you had to come up with a solution that didn’t rely on first-party? Because sorry, I have to tell you, almost every other system relies on getting first-party customer data and washing it against lots of other sources of data to actually identify the audiences. How do you do it?

Haydon:

To me, part of my training all the way through my career was to look at what the consumer thinks, full-stop. Not necessarily the data or transactions because that came way later. But it was more a case of if you understand what the consumer is thinking, believing, and what their motivations are in their whole life, you can actually craft communication to extract an advertising message response from them.

So really for us, that’s how I grew up. And the hardest part of it though was those forgotten marketing practices that are only forgotten because it takes so long to do it. There are so many amazing things to be able to use insight for and use data for, but most of the processes are just really cumbersome and it takes too long … and things move way too fast these days.

So, what we had to do was look at the whole consumer behaviour model that actually drives our consumer insight. And as I said, every quarter, we’re now researching 46 countries around the world.

It was all about understanding that behaviour so we can actually go to the next level, because in the music space, they operate really, really quickly with no time to ponder.

An artist will drop a single or an album in the Australian market, you might find out 10 days prior. So, you’ve got to move very fast. You can’t just say, “Oh, well, we’ve got this step by step process and it’ll take us three and a half weeks to complete the strategy.”

We develop the entire strategy and a granular channel plan within a day. We had to have a strategy that was bang on. And if we weren’t doing that, we could not compete as their major partner.

Darren:

That’s more agile than agile, isn’t it?

Haydon:

It is.

Darren:

Frantic.

Haydon:

We were born and bred on that speed to market, but with extreme precision. At the start, we didn’t have any ambition that we were going to be this global company. We were just saying, “Oh, a few of us will have some fun with Warner Music. It’s a fun category to part of, Tony’s an amazing guy and Warner Music has a bunch of people who are extraordinary at what they do.” We were embedded in their offices and we had to move super fast.

So, we had to — I’ve used the term before (weaponizing that insight); how do you get it and deliver precision strategy from it really, really quickly? Make a judgment call and actually create a campaign, and then ultimately, push it out to the media buyers. Either we would buy it ourselves or we push it to an external media buyer in the early days who could actually go and transact against our insight and strategy, which was a completely different piece of the puzzle.

So, the strategy was one thing; here’s the future fans. Because I think right now in the music space, they understand exactly who their current fan base is, right now. Any artists that go to Spotify or any other data source can discover the consumption that makes up their current fan base.

I’ll talk about DNA segments in a minute, but basically, we would match that and say, “Yeah, okay, they look like this now … but your future growth comes from another group of people.”

Darren:

It is interesting as well because the musicians themselves, before they even get to a record company are already using platforms like SoundCloud.

Haydon:

Yeah, they are.

Darren:

In fact, that big hit last year, Bad Guy — I’ve forgotten the name. Billie Eilish, yeah, so that started off, her and her brother posting their tracks to SoundCloud and building a community of followers that just went crazy.

Haydon:

And they know how to talk to their absolute fans. Our job is to say, “Who’s your future fans?”

Darren:

Yeah, and scale it.

Haydon:

And scale it because that’s great that you own this little part of the community and that’s fantastic, good on you. You might have a hit, you might have a couple of hits, but you’re only an enduring artist if you can bring future fans to that play. And I suppose, that’s what we were doing for them, to be able to say, “It’s great that you’re here, but we can see this whole group of people up here that have either never heard of you, or still need to be convinced that they actually want to become fans.”

So, the marketing effort went to that space, which brought them to the left-hand side of the model to say, “This is where we can start to introduce them as fans of the artist.”

Darren:

Now, you talked a couple of times about the way you were sort of bought up, trained in media, and it was heavily focused on demographics. You know, the Roy Morgans of the world largely demographic, and then would have a bit of psycho-graphics, and a bit of behavioural data.

But now, you’ve got so many other sources, don’t you? I mean, there’s a huge amount of behavioural data available to you.

Haydon:

There is. And for us though, we don’t fuse data, we have a single source study… So, from that, we can cluster people into segments (and again, we’ll talk about it in a minute) — but any particular segment, we can confidently understand the behaviour because we can trust that it’s a single source.

So, for us, it’s all about understanding this whole myriad of information about the person, so that the person individually … then becomes part of a segment.

And then from that point, we can start to have confidence that we know what they’re thinking, we know what will motivate them to purchase. We know the sort of things they’re looking for from a brand, the types of causes they believe in, what is in their head across all aspects of their life.

And from there, you can start to construct a very seriously robust strategy or multiple options of that if you’ve got the technology platform, to be able to say there is two or three pathways here, to be able to turn this group of people (in a music sense) into fans, or for other brands that we work for, into qualified customers at the top of their sales funnel.

So, for us, we’ve moved from music and we’re doing pretty well with that, but we’ve now adapted all of that speed and …

Darren:

Agility and insight.

Haydon:

You snooze and you lose in this game. It’s really that simple. And so, for us, that’s how we were born and bred. So now, we can move into brand land and create that same level of absolute bang on targeting across any media platform, across anything else that exists in the marketing spectrum as touchpoints. How do you influence that? And what should you say at various points in time?

So, the study that we create is a thing called GamePlan, which actually is a very robust document to understand every aspect of a potential consumer’s life.

So, do you use it 10 days out from campaign start? No, you’d refer to it 10 days out, but you’re really viewing it at an upstream level. This is designed for the C-suite to say, “This is what your business’s potential customers look like. If it’s a brand, this is what they look like and this is everything that they do, think and believe.”

And we break it down into a bullseye audience, which is the absolute perfect ones for right now. The inner-circle audience, which is the ones that are probably the midterm group to convince. And strong prospects, which are the ones that are in the long-term space so start talking to them. Depending on whatever timeline that is, that’s the key to it. So we’re talking to people that are constantly filling up the top of the sales funnel.

And if you can actually do that and you can bring qualified leads and customers to the top of the brand’s sales funnel, then the Martech can take over, and all the CRM modelling and everything else. But our task is to start with our segments and push them into the top. Then the company’s Martech will talk to them in other marketing forms from that point.

Darren:

It’s interesting because what you’re talking about and the way you’re talking about it, sounds quite traditional in that it’s a strategy of who are our heavy users, who are our medium, and who are our light, and how do we move them from light to medium, and medium to heavy.

Haydon:

100%.

Darren:

Except that technology is the part that makes it different. And also, the technology having all of the data, having an impact on setting up the model in the first place.

Because the reason I brought up about the Roy Morgans of the world and that type of thing, is the media was very heavy around demographics. Whereas, I’m assuming now that the type of data that you’re relying on for those insights is less demographic-focused and more about attitudes and behaviours.

Haydon:

100%, exactly right.

Darren:

Because, we’re no longer fitting into those traditional roles of age, employment, education standard — the Quintiles, remember AB …?

Haydon:

Yeah, and that can be an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the total puzzle. The demographic model in a media sense is so easy. You’re from creative, I’m from media; we’ve sat in many meetings where we’ve pinned up stuff on walls and the brand guy’s showcasing, “This is what our customer looks like and here’s what our high ambition customers are going to look like and we know they do these things.”

You as a creative walk away with an amazing brief and you are able to write to that. As the media guy, I get to default to People 25-54 as that’s the only currency. And here we go again, we go to the same old traditional channels. In our world at Audience Precision, we don’t do that. We’ve built 70 DNA segments for every market in the world. And many countries like Australia, the US and UK, we have many more than that. And they are behavioural, psycho-graphically focussed segments.

So, the audience might be a Power Executive, they might be a Style Stalker, they might be a Cashed-up Bogan or even a Career Driven Woman. The true audience could be made up from a whole lot of different people.

So, where our magic happens is because of our technical skills around identifying and actioning these behaviours and DNA Segments. It’s not me, but Jeremy Cath, the guy from Microsoft who now works for us as our CTO, but he left Microsoft to come and join us, which we’re very excited about because his vision for our roadmap is really interesting.

But he’s the one that cracked the code of how do you normalise media data, merge it with our consumer data, create the segments (which means we can actually go and buy media against those segments), and strip out the wastage.

Darren:

I’m so glad you said that because in the last 20 years, the number of times that people have said, we’ve done all this work on creating … what do they call them?

Haydon:

Personas.

Darren:

Personas. And then you go, “Well, it’s great. Yes, yes, we’ve identified 22 personas.” I go, “Well, that’s a lot. How do they relate to the way you buy media?” And they go, “What?” Because that’s one of the issues, isn’t it?

I mean, it’s become less so with digital because a lot of digital gets bought on behavioural data and profiles. But it is a combination of attitude, behaviour, and to a much smaller extent, demographic, but there’s still media out there sold on a demographic basis.

Haydon:

Absolutely. And there’s certain brands or products and categories that fit a certain demographic of gender and age. So, that’s fine, but that’s not the end game. To us, the end game is behavioural targeting no matter what age or gender you might be in, and any form of that can actually become a customer if you talk to them the right way.

Which means you need to discover what they’re into — as an example all you need to do is go out to a football game and look at a Sydney Swans supporter. They range from tiny little kids through to very old people. They have one passion, and it’s the Sydney Swans Football Club.

So, to talk to them about football, don’t mention Collingwood. Talk to them about their passion for Sydney Swans. That’s got nothing to do with age and gender. So, just one simple example.

But if you bring that to a consumer base, we call them DNA Segments and we have 70 in every country, in Australia, it’s 130. But they are all segments that actually combine to create scale. So, our segments are precise and have scale, and we’re constantly evolving that so that there’s a continually expanding group of DNA Segments.

So, you get precision at scale with us, and each of those segments behaves differently. So, the messaging could be tweaked to cater for that particular segment and the next segment may be a little bit different. Same core message but you as a creative guy would say, “I now understand exactly what I need to say to that person, a little different to the next one, but the overarching sales message is the same.”

Darren:

It’s a little bit like heatmaps, isn’t it? Because you lay out all those segments and there are some segments that are going to be hot for your audience and others that are, maybe, coolish, but still warm. And then there’s some that you should just forget about. So, it allows you to then focus on where those opportunities are that you talked about, where your heavy, medium, and light users — or if they’re not users if you’re launching something new, where is it most likely you’re going to get…

Haydon:

Propensity, yeah.

Darren:

Yeah, a propensity model.

Haydon:

Exactly, and that’s all the stuff we do. So, for our clients, once we identify that the customer base is either current or high ambition targets we workshop the best-fit DNA Segments with our clients to ensure we get it right because that leads us on the entire strategy development journey from there.

And so, for us, we have all of our DNA Segments and there are 35,000 data points for each segment in every single country. There’s so much information in there, that we need to distill the components that are actionable for the particular campaign. That’s where Precise360 comes in, which is our planning tool.

It’s a strategic guidance system that Jeremy has built that looks at the complete 35,000 data points, we have for each segment. When we’re building out a campaign now we start with GamePlan which is all about very high ambition and very much in a space of pre-planning for the company, for the brand.

It’s not about advertising, it’s not about creative guys, it’s not about media guys at that point. It’s about, “Here’s what your customer base is going to look like. You need to be prepared for this.”

And if you just think you’re going to run the current ad, you’re probably going to waste a lot of money. So, there’s time to think about a different form of comms or tweaking of what you currently have. It might be that simple, but it certainly leads us down a different path in media, because the wastage in an All People 25 – 54 demographic is insane.

In every single brand, every single campaign we’ve ever looked at when we’d get a brief from a client, says, “Oh, this is what our audience is, People 25 – 54”.

So, we will say, “Here’s what you have been doing, here is what you should have done with that amount of money” and show them the difference. And it’s quite significant. Levels of wastage up to 70%, it’s just an insane waste of a media budget.

So, what we do is say, “Let’s go and spend time to truly understand your target audience (being a DNA Segment in our world), what are they engaged in? What are they interested in? Let’s go and spend the media money in those spaces.” You can’t do that if you haven’t joined the dots from the target behaviour through to the media properties that exist.

Darren:

So, this is actually going to the very heart of being customer-centric, because it sounds like the very first step of Audience Precision is to define the audience.

Haydon:

Most definitely.

Darren:

And then how to reach them, the most effective and efficient way of reaching them. And I mean, efficient as in, with a minimum of waste. Because you know, that’s one of the big issues for media generally is the huge amount of waste.

Haydon:

And a lot of people beat up on television and say, “Oh no, our audience isn’t there, the ratings are dropping.” They might be, but there are still pockets of programmes that are seriously powerful to the right audience. And there’s some that don’t watch any television.

So, it’s not just holistically television as a media platform.  We’ve launched campaigns where we’ve used six TV programs. That’s it. They’re the only ones that have got high engagement in the way we measure engagement. And they’re not the big ones. They’re not the big blockbuster, major programs that exist in network land.

They’re often the ones that have got a little bit more space to play in. So that’s where we will find those properties and launch a brand, a product, or an artist into the behavioural space that the actual audience segment is looking for. And the results we’re getting are significant around this approach because we’re not wasting any money.

Darren:

Well, I remember it was the 1980s in the UK. There was a media philosophy, which said, “If I only appear in the media environments that my audience is passionate about, they will even notice that I don’t appear generally.” It builds almost like a rapport or empathy because it becomes their brand because it knows them so well that it only supports those opportunities.

The other thing I just want to pick up on is, it’s amazing how lazy thinking is in media, because your comment before about “my audience isn’t on television,” well, that’s such a stupid statement because you think of all of the broadcasting minutes in a week and all of the programming. I mean, even if someone only does one 30-minute destination a week to know where they are and be there, then that’s not a wasted opportunity.

Haydon:

And that’s where technology has to come in. All the things I’m talking about, trying to do that manually or on spreadsheets or with existing industry tools is a very hard and time-consuming task. So, we’ve invested a huge amount of money in software development under Jeremy’s control to develop a strategy guidance system.  He’s been a Microsoft and an Amazon guy, and he spent a lot of time running major, major global projects.

So, he’s all about, “Let me automate the things that nobody really wants to do.  Let me build artificial intelligence and put all of this into a system that will take away the pain.” So, all the things that as a media person are so cumbersome and daunting each time you receive a new brief, he’s taken all that pain away.

We no longer need to spend one week of diving into all the network tools and all the other research tools that exist in ratings-land to try and find something interesting to build into a strategy.

Our platform is called Precise360, and it’s a strategy guidance system. Jeremy was involved with the early days of what is now known as a ‘data lake’. So, we will say, “Here’s the brand, here’s what the audience is, we’re looking at this particular segment.” And we establish the core campaign objectives which accesses the 35,000 data points that live in our data lake for this particular segment to create the most effective strategy.

And bearing in mind, we often have three, four, five, six, sometimes, ten segments in a campaign, depending on what we’re trying to do … that’s a lot of data at our fingertips.

So, there’s 35,000 but just say, we’re moving towards Style Stalkers as the core DNA Segment. The software will isolate the data that’s important for this particular campaign based on the setup that we’ve created.

And it will strip out say, 30,000, that are irrelevant. None of that is important for this particular campaign or what we’re trying to achieve. Then using the 5,000 remaining data points, what’s the first thing we should do to create the strategy?

Jeremy built gamification into it, which prompts us to consider, … you’ve got to start with this TV programme, then it might suggest a radio session or a Facebook video to construct the most impactful and effective campaign for the clients budget.

Now, that’s all great, but how do you measure that?

Whilst still at Microsoft, Jeremy and his team of extremely talented data scientists, created a reach and frequency model for us that’s multi-platform. And we’ve been around a long time, Darren, you and I, and I’ve been trying to crack multi-platform reach & frequency for a long time.

With experience, you might know instinctively that that’s about the right number if we start off with a base media and we add a couple of extra platforms to it — but he built it so that everything we do is predicting across multi-platform.

Darren:

And I think it’s because you’ve built this on your own single source base. Because I read that the WFA have now come up with a model for cross-channel measurement that they’re now testing in the US and the UK through their partner associations.

But it suffers from the fact that all of the media world is so fragmented; not just in the media opportunities, but the way they all collect the data around those. So, I imagine that this actually is able to work in a more robust way because your base starts with, “Where is our audience?”

Haydon:

Yeah, exactly. And each audience segment has 35,000 data points to choose from. As intelligent data people, Jeremy’s team normalised the data. And then they worked to understand the common thread.

I originally started teaching them about how each media platform builds reach, from an experience point of view.  But they just wanted the raw data of 1,000 media runs against a particular demographic across every media platform … and then they found the patterns to develop the multi-platform R&F model.

Darren:

What I like about this is it started off with the strategic thinking-

Haydon:

That’s the key.

Darren:

And then uses technology to enable it because, in some ways, this is the best practice of the way media should always have been practiced.

Haydon:

Agree.

Darren:

Except that now you’ve built technology to actually allow you to do this at scale in real-time, and with incredible accountability. Is that a fair summation?

Haydon:

It is a very solid summation. And for the AP team, we can do things that would normally take one of our competitive agencies, one of the big groups, three weeks to build out an annual campaign for a brand, against a brief.

We’ve probably given them three or four or five options within three days. And they’re all different, but we have a measurement tool with our multi-platform reach and frequency model to identify if option C is better than option A.  Because it’s all normalised it’s a highly effective planning tool.

And so, given that Jeremy’s mandate is to take away the pain, all the stuff that, as media people, we normally need to grind through, and it is a serious grind … is taken away.  It’s not the enjoyable part of the media process to try and identify which radio session combination works best, particularly when you might have seven networks or seven stations in a market.

We don’t buy ROS packages on stations or networks.  We handpick the best combination of sessions across all stations in the market and each market is different.  To do that manually, or with existing industry tools, is unsustainable.

Darren:

I was just going to say, “Your news station is out the window,” isn’t it? Because you want to cherry-pick.

Haydon:

Well, you can, if you’ve got speed in your process and that’s what the technology does for us. We let the AI kick in to recommend the best option and then our clever people review for contextual relevance.

For example with a TV campaign the list of programs that have been identified in the system … “most are ok but I’ve seen the TVC and it doesn’t belong in some of those programmes”. And they can make changes based on contextual relevance. That’s where human intelligence comes in.

So, it’s not just AI. Otherwise, I’d have a team of three people. I’ve got some really talented strategists who genuinely understand the communications process.

Darren:

And you said this early on, that the whole idea here is not to replace people, but allow the smart people more time to be smart, rather than spending so much time just crunching numbers.

Haydon:

And these days for most agencies it’s painful trying to attract really talented marketing-driven people into the media landscape. It’s way more complex than it ever was. It’s tough. Unless you’ve grown up in the media agency world, it’s tough yards to try and do things properly. So, at the end of the day, things aren’t done properly because agency teams are under pressure of time and resource and all those things.

Whereas, we’ve got these amazing tools at our disposal that will do all the grunt work for us and we can sit back and say, “We’re just not sure about that program. Let me go and have a look at the TVC again. No, no, I don’t think it’ll fit there.” So, it’s a different world for the team at Audience Precision.

And that’s why we coined the phrase “clever people using clever technologies,” but the clever people is the first bit. To me, I would rather employ a lot, lot more people in the clever space and give them this amazing toolkit that they can actually work with to deliver sustainable excellence for our clients.

Darren:

Because yeah, one of the things that annoy me is that some people have seen the application of data into media as just about finding an audience and delivering it. And to me, it overlooks one of the most important things, which is context.

Haydon:

Yeah, very true.

Darren:

It’s the environment that the ad appears in or your message appears in, it will have a profound impact on the way that the person processes it.

Haydon:

Yeah, very true. We have clients active in many countries, but we’re doing the strategic planning from Crows Nest in Sydney. So, do we have people all around the world? No, we have a London office and a New York office managed by two of the Partners in the business and they’re exceptionally talented, but we don’t need to build large teams around them, because at our Crows Nest HQ, that is where all the strategic planning gets done.

So, basically, the brief will come in and then we can build campaigns for any market in the world. And I haven’t set foot in every one of those 46 countries, but the data and the research and the insights we’re getting from it, is telling us about consumer behaviour.

And so, from there, we’ve got all the media rates and ratings built into our system. So, we can build a really high propensity and high impact advertising campaign that will deliver results for a client in any market in the world.

Darren:

Haydon, this has been a terrific conversation, but unfortunately, we’ve run out of time.

Haydon:

Uh, there we go.

Darren:

Look, just before we finish up, clearly, Audience Precision is up and running. You’re in London?

Haydon:

London and New York.

Darren:

New York and Sydney. Obviously, Crows Nest. So, if the ideal client walked through the door tomorrow, what would they look like?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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