AdExchanger: What is Magna Global North America and how is it different from what Magna Global has offered until now?
KRISTI ARGYILAN: Magna Global North America is a consolidation of some of the most important assets that Mediabrands has been building over the last couple years. Magna Global, historically, has been known for providing the data and insight into making intelligent investment decisions, with a lot of focus on analog media first and foremost. But Magna Global has evolved pretty quickly to keep up with a changing marketplace, in some ways leading the marketplace in terms of channel-neutral ways of negotiating media partner deals.
What changes are clients requesting from the new Magna organization?
One of the big strategic decisions [Mediabrands CEO] Matt Seiler has been driving is around performance and a focus on business outcomes, being an extension of our clients’ marketing departments. What we have discovered with some of the data packages we’ve been buying is that if you construct the right kind of data views, you can understand how media drives more important metrics around sales.
We’re in a position where we can understand the impact across media and drive more meaningful business metrics that our clients are pushing for. This is born out of the need for marketing clients to identify the value that advertising brings to their companies, so that they’re not just a cost center but an investment that can prove it’s driving incremental business.
That sounds consistent with what we’ve heard from Matt in the past about shifting to performance-driven renumeration.
That’s right. We talk about pay-for-performance once we’ve proven to the client that we can sign up for this new value conversation. In the past we’ve been about cost. This puts us in a more valuable position with clients.
Can you give an example of how the media planning and buying teams might relate differently to clients?
The most important value proposition for our clients is what happens when you take a platform object like Cadreon and introduce the data packages we have through our AMP product. You’re able to target in completely different ways.
We have respondent-level information that helps us understand how a person goes from one channel to another to a purchase decision. AMP is a data package we originally constructed with Nielsen. Instead of using cookie data, we now know who’s buying what and the path to purchase. It’s the most accurate audience exchange you can find in the industry. Nothing is implied or inferred.
Not only can we understand the relationships between tactics and how they result in a sale, but we can apply that learning across all media. As the platforms become more sophisticated and the inventory available for more traditional media, we get to cross-channel real-time optimization.
That’s the vision. There’s obviously a lot of inventory that needs to make itself available. Today we can do it lots of ways on a very manual basis, but not real-time. It happens over a longer time horizon.
Is client pushback against centralized display buying a factor here?
It wasn’t at the heart of the decision that Matt made when he bought these capabilities together under Magna.
What happens to MAP outside North America? Is there any MAP left in North America?
There’s still a MAP product management stack, which is product management and technology. That’s absolutely being kept intact so that Cadreon and Reprise and Ansible and Spring Creek, especially outside the US, are still healthy and continuing to grow.
With the trading desk residing within Magna, how will sister agencies at Mediabrands and within the larger IPG organization leverage the display ad trading? I’m thinking of Universal McCann and Initiative within Mediabrands, or R/GA or Hill Holiday outside of Mediabrands.
First off, Cadreon stays alive and continues to grow. Whatever label you want to place on Cadreon, it continues to move forward, and short-term it will be the individual solution or provider for individual brands.
The vision is that we will eventually have something that can be released to all brands to work from on their own, with a central resource responsible for continuing to iterate it.
Cadreon grew up as a different kind of business. It’s providing some incredibly important learning for us as we figure out what’s the broader platform – I hesitate to use “trading desk” – that all of our integrated investors should be utilizing.
And that’s why we’re in conversations with technology companies and media partners – to understand what developments they have going on. We’re well aware that if we have this great system and we push a button to transmit but there’s no one on the other side to receive, we have failed in our mission.
What about mobile buying?
It’s integrated into everything we do already. We learned pretty quickly from search and social that we should get it integrated into the planning and buying teams quickly. If you wait too long, it becomes too specialized.
We continue to rely on Ansible to help us with strategy and creative, but the planning and buying sit within our team. And that’s across all the brands.