From The Marketer: Mazda’s Collinson On Brand Dollars Moving Online And Display Advertising

Mike Collinson is Director, Marketing & Product Strategy, Mazda Canada Inc.

Mike Collinson of Mazda CanadaWhen will brand marketer dollars finally shift online in a way that syncs with the overall time spent online versus other mediums? – For example, when there are better attribution models perhaps?

MC: This is a complex question, I’ll try to be succinct. Budget allocation by media is largely dependent upon brand strategy for the coming year – is it a launch (or model change) year or a sustaining strategy. We try to let the overall strategy set the brand development objectives (upper or lower funnel) and then have the strategy determine the best way to reach the target. For example, 2009 is a launch year for Mazda3 so the majority of the buy was focused on the upper funnel, since we have 2 distinct targets to reach with Mazda3 we utilized a broad media strategy (i.e. Cinema to reach the younger target and TV for the older demo) along with strong digital presence in both upper and lower funnel sites. Better attribution models would help moving more budget to on-line, but our target is very broad and our experience demonstrates we need to utilize multiple media points to get the awareness levels we need. Another layer to this discussion is the automotive purchase cycle is very long, so we allocate a portion of the budget to reach in market consumer, this is most effectively executed using SEM and automotive portal sites.

Can you see brand marketers taking more of their media buying and planning (digital-only or cross-channel) in-house in the future? Why or why not?

Mazda Canada has no plans to bring media buying or planning in house, we believe the media costs are lower when a large media agency negotiates on our behalf. In addition Mazda Canada would not be able to buy the necessary research to make good decisions.

Do you think online display advertising is effective? Where are the holes – any improvements you’d like to see?

We have had mixed results with display and I believe creative is critical. We’ve been most successful with expandable ad units on upper funnel sites. We’re still searching for the optimum formula for lower funnel sites. I’m frustrated by sites that don’t offer expandable or video capable banners, so this would be the largest improvement area. However, display is just one component within a broader strategy and effectiveness is dependent upon what you want the units to do. To achieve creative effectiveness, engagement is key. Effective display happens when more addressable messages are lined up with targeted media. Improving engagement levels is an ongoing process of learning and tactical refinements, which digital media allows for unlike any other medium. We also strive to move beyond just a CTR or CPC measure to ultimately a CPA (cost per acquisition) metric. At present we measure effectiveness beyond CTR and CPC to determine quality of leads by looking at some of our key conversion metrics.

Have any thoughts on agencies announcing demand side platform strategies such as Interpublic’s Cadreon or WPP’s B3? How will these affect the advertiser in your opinion?

I’m not very familiar with demand side platforms, as you know they are not as popular in Canada as they are in the US. I think at present the biggest benefit is in potential reduced costs, but for Canadian buying shops, reaching critical mass is a big barrier. My comments from the previous question are appropriate here too, if the media site is optimizing my ad to ensure click thru from qualified customers at competitive rates then I don’t care who is selling it, without losing site of driving the key engagement measures beyond CPC and CTR.

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