Tuesday, May 20, 2008

09 and beyond #4: Liam Walsh, MD Drive PM

So what are the big issues we face moving forward in digital ... and all media? Well, we've asked six respected industry people to give us their opinion.

Week 4 we have Liam Walsh. Liam is currently MD at DrivePM (a division of Microsoft - http://www.drivepm.com) which is a leader in retargeting technology and data enhanced digital advertising. Prior to this Liam was Sales Director at Fairfax Digital and prior to this was GM at emitch. He brings to the table a heap of experience, insight and most importantly honesty ... I really enjoyed reading this, hope you do too.


(It's) Fantastic to be Google right now. No sign of things stopping. For the folks involved in corporate marketing - i.e. not small businesses, it’s time we looked harder at Google. There is a difference between being ‘accountable’ and being ‘able to count’. One can easily count sales and clicks from Google, we all know arithmetic - or excel does at least. Google doesn’t drive sales, it navigates people to sales. Paying Google for creating a sale that it didn’t is a debate we need to have immediately. This collectively and lazy approach to marketing is having a dramatic effect on all online media businesses.


Not withstanding the somewhat clumsy debate about advertising products to support it, video usage just keeps growing. Video is only useful if it makes money so the bulk of the smart money is around quality - read: NOT UGC -video where marketers are prepared to place their brands. So publishers need to get their mitts on quality content. This is reasonably easy - notwithstanding politics of P&Ls - for those with TV network relationships or large production departments, much harder for print originated content businesses. Print originated businesses will struggle not just because of the investment but around up-skilling and shifting users to accept text based businesses as video brands.


The less fascinating area of course is funding. Money is now expensive and it doesn’t like risk. Hence securing capital for start-ups is extremely challenging and money for buying businesses is a little harder to come by. Cashed up giants wont struggle but everybody below that line is seeing a lot more commercial rigour applied to any investment decisions.


The debate about internet rolling into mainstream agencies won’t stop as advertising and media folk love talking about themselves but it would be less embarrassing if it did. The online businesses that are most impressive, extract the best margins and command the best pricing for their stock are classified and ecommerce businesses. They don’t waste time talking about mainstream counterparts, agencies, strategic planning. They invest in delivering services that meet customer needs. It would be great if online media businesses were considered alongside seek.com.au. This industry (online media and publishing) should work on delivering excellent services for marketers to buy. There is no way one could reasonably say this is happening.


We need to stop telling traditional marketers they are wrong or don’t get it. They may well have an approach that isn’t optimal but these marketers that associate advertising with television need two things. Moving pictures and reach/frequency scores BEFORE they spend the money not after. We need a decent system to allow reach and frequency estimates for traditional advertising customers. Portals shouldn’t complain about these advertisers until they put up what these customers have been demanding for a decade ... Networks Open and closed. That is the starting point. If it’s open this means the advertiser doesn’t know where all the advertising is going. If it’s closed the advertiser does know the sites it can appear on. Agencies and advertisers are risking their brands on open networks and thinking it is enough to have terms and conditions saying no porn and no gambling. That’s not enough. Drivepm, MSDR, FDO all offer closed networks. The pricing is higher than open networks because quality demands superior pricing.

Next week - Guy Gibbs from Google.

Want to read more? Check out ...

Dave Whittle - MD, Mark - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/04/09-and-beyond-1-david-whittle-md-mark.html

Monique Talbot - CEO, Tempest - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/05/09-and-beyond-2-monique-talbot-md.html

Tony Faure - CEO, ninemsn - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/05/09-and-beyond-3-tony-faure-ceo-ninemsn.html


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dl said...

An insightful read by Liam Walsh and agree there needs to be greater debates on how to use digital to it's potential. It's almost digital has dug it's own path by with it's primary accountable measurement = clicks to measure media ROI. Which in essence benefits the likes of Google.

"Google doesn't drive sales, it navigates people to sales." is a little rhetorical It navigates a volume of quality leads that help drive sales. Everyday we see large dotcoms and businesses heavily reliant on Google to maintain these sales numbers. It is by far not a lazy approach but an accountable and proven way to drive sales. As you know, we've seen research where organic and paid links work together to help improve campaign performance.

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