Reunited and Back on the Road

In last week's post -- "The New Playbook" -- I spoke of several new "plays" that the media seller can run once the "transactional" side of our business -- the buying and selling of holes in pages -- becomes fully automated. Today we'll look at the first couple of plays I mentioned; plays that will often be run in combination.

It was a nasty breakup. Creative and media had been a great team for a long time. They made a ton of money together and audiences just couldn't get enough of them. They played Madison Avenue successfully together for decades, lighting it up during the Mad Men years ("ring-a-ding-DING!) all the way through the late Disco era. But then, as so often happens, everybody got greedy. Both creative and media felt they could make more money as solo acts, and the public breakup was messy and interactions since that time have been cordially chilly at best.

But today, GREAT NEWS! There's a reunion tour in the works, with dates booked all over the internet and audiences eagerly waiting to see what the team's still got. But if you think for a second that this reunion tour is going to be organized by the ad agencies and holding companies, think again. The reunion of media -- in digital speak, "inventory" -- and creative ideas won't be engineered by the very people who broke the pair up in the first place. Rather, it's going to be the media companies and sales agents -- sellers -- who are going to bring the two back together in the service of marketers and their brand goals.

One of the obvious 'plays' that sophisticated media sellers will run for their clients is "reattaching inventory and creative;" collaboratively forming a creative idea that ties the brand to your audience or experience in a compelling way and then distributing that idea across your site or network.....and beyond. In the past we've thought of promotions, sweepstakes, custom environments and activities as fodder for a quaint little microsite. But no more of that. Rather, the seller will help pour those experiences into flash-based creative units.

But the service they perform for the marketer won't stop at the borders of their own domains: the seller of tomorrow will also become an audience aggregator by actively adding frequency (through retargeting) and reach (by finding lookalike readers and environments) on ad exchanges. As I describe in play number two, they'll begin "reversing the flow of messaging through the ad pipeline." Up to now, most digital sales organizations have waited at the end of the pipe for ads to flow into the squares and rectangles on their sites. But that pipeline runs both ways, and I see the sales organization pushing high quality ideas and creative execution through the system, onto both its own spaces and those to be had in the burgeoning ad exchange ecosystem.

If this combination of creative work, strategy and audience aggregation sounds like the responsibility of the ad agency, that's because it once was. But remember that the Madison Avenue holding companies were the ones behind the original breakup. Now the media owners are brokering the reunion tour. And I think it's going to be a smash!

Disagree? Agree? Examples of just the kind of work I'm talking about here? That's what the comment boxes below are for. Say know you want to! #thedrift