Collaboration between media and creative is vital to the success of any online campaign. Regardless of whether you work at an agency or directly for an advertiser, I’m sure you’ve felt the frustration of seeing new creative executions that didn’t exactly nail the strategy dead-on. Or maybe your creative director turned in a banner that wasn’t exactly what you had in mind for the placement you bought. Yet, these problems can be solved with improving inter-departmental communication.
Interactive media planners are more important to a client’s overall strategy than they’ve ever been. Across the industry, you will find online media planners contributing more to an advertiser’s interactive strategy than traditional media counterparts contribute to their clients’ advertising strategies. There are several factors contributing to this reliance on media:
The importance of placement in generating response.
The tendency of the departments to be well-informed with regard to the state of the marketplace.
The trend toward relationships between media departments and technology/rich media vendors.
Our traditional counterparts have standardized ad units to make their jobs simpler: full-page four-color magazine ads, 30-second radio or TV spots, etc. In interactive, only banner ads are standardized, and anything else purchased by an advertiser is often first conceived in the mind of the media planner. Sponsorships, rich media ads and other custom placements require a media planner to be somewhat creative and absorb some responsibility from the creative department.
Not only is it important to spec out a clear division of responsibility in these cases, but it’s also important to collaborate. Media should not work in a vacuum. It should keep the creative department in the loop through the entire process. This is especially important for those agencies that do not have their own creative departments, but work with several different creative vendors.
To keep the creative department on strategy, media should be in constant contact. However, if this isn’t feasible, there are several points at which creative and media should review one another’s work (at a minimum).
- After the initial brainstorming Most ad agencies conduct preliminary brainstorming meetings to get the ideas flowing for a client. A five-minute meeting between media and creative can be helpful here. Simply discuss which ideas from the brainstorming are most promising, and how they might be executed.
- Prior to a discussion of objectives and strategies Media and creative should meet before a client sees a list of considered media vehicles for a given campaign. Among the topics of discussion: Potential creative formats, acceptance of those formats across considered sites and potential messaging, etc.
- During meetings with reps A representative of the creative department should be present in meetings in which anything other than a standard GIF banner is discussed. This will nip in the bud any conversations concerning ad placements that are impractical to implement. It will also allow the creative department to suggest ideas directly to your eventual advertising partners.
- Prior to the presentation of the media plan All media plans recommend specific ad placements. Thus, creative should review the media plan to be sure that, if approved, all creative units can be produced within a reasonable length of time and within budget. The creative department can also decide on messaging at this point.
- Prior to the presentation of the creative Media should check with creative prior to its presentation of work to the client, in order to be sure that all messaging is consistent with the strategy and that all ad units are consistent with what has been purchased.
- Subsequent to the launch of the campaign (at several different points) The creative department is always anxious to see how its work performs. Sharing campaign data at regular intervals after the campaign launches can show which creative tactics worked and which didn’t. This will help you improve other client campaigns in the future.
Campaigns can be successful only if media and creative collaborate on their work. Maintaining a system of checks and balances (like the ones mentioned above) can help you nail a compelling strategy and ensure success for your clients.