Elise 00:00:04 Welcome to the Loop marketing podcast. I'm your host Elise, director of marketing at Coegi. Today. I'm joined by Coegi account strategy directors, Savannah Westbrock, and Maggie Gotszling. Let's get started. So I know strategy is very much in your day to day lives. You're working with clients trying to figure out how are we gonna get them to their goals. So what are the key components that you’ve found to be critical to build a strong media strategy?
Maggie 00:00:32 I think approaching strategy as a unique solution for each client is very important. Sure. You have some go-to tactics that you use and you have a strong foundation and understanding, but really thinking about your client's unique perspective and all of the things that will create success for them is the basic element.
Savannah 00:00:55 Yeah. So we have a few general processes we follow just to make sure that we're providing that consistent level of insight to all of our clients. So we like to make sure we have audience understanding, a recommendation, not just of the channels we want to use, but what we're actually gonna do within those channels. And a lot of that comes with starting from research and truly understanding and knowing, okay, for this specific goal for this measurement strategy that we're building out, we need to make sure we have adequate coverage in these channels to reach these audiences effectively.
Elise 00:01:32 So how do you get clients at the mindset that it's okay to test new things? I know there are a lot of brands who have just trusted one or two platforms for many, many years. Oh, I like Facebook. Oh, I like cable TV. But after doing the research and seeing new opportunities, how do you get them to really be willing to do that test?
Savannah 00:01:56 For me, I think a big part of it is just overcommunicating your findings and everything that you've been thinking about up until this point. So oftentimes, you know, we'll receive some sort of a brief that says, we want you to consider these four basic channels, or this is what we've done in the past that's been really successful. And sometimes we may take that information for granted and say, okay, this is what they want, this is what they're getting. But I think when you take it to that next step of strategic thinking, selling them on, you know, we can compliment these channels that you're more accustomed to, based on everything that our research is saying.
Maggie 00:02:33 Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I think having a strong learning agenda really also helps sell that in because you're giving them a blueprint of how do you test a new channel? How do you go out there and try something new? And if you present it in a way that shows you have control and you know what you're looking for that really helps alleviate some of that risk.
Elise 00:02:54 So I know for a long time, we advocated for having an audience first approach to media planning. And the way we think about that is going to shift quite a bit in the cookieless future, because the easy button is basically being taken away. So how do you all go about learning about your audiences, using that information to inform placements and to inform context and things like that?
Savannah 00:03:24 Yeah. So one thing that we've been really cognizant of as we move toward the cookieless future and regulation, is that sort of having that, just turn it on and let the algorithms decide your channels and the weight of your budgets and things of that nature. It's gonna be a lot less reliable. So for us, I think one thing we've really doubled down on is making sure that before we dedicate a budget to something, we know for a fact that research supports our audience using this channel, reading this content, you know, engaging with this type of creative specifically. So as Maggie mentioned with our learning agenda, sometimes that is more of a test and we're upfront about, Hey, you know, we don't necessarily have definitive proof that this is going to resonate, but it's something that we should try.
Elise 00:04:16 So something that I think could be a challenge for especially new marketers is figuring out what's the right media mix that we should be putting together. You know, thinking about the budget constraints, thinking about the audiences they're looking to reach. So what are the fundamentals that you all go through to be able to put together a smart media mix, that's going to get the client to their goals.
Maggie 00:04:40 I always start with the question of what is the goal. And I ask for it by what is your business goal? What is your brand or marketing goal? And then we get together and decide on a media goal. So essentially, you know, what, what is the business trying to accomplish? How is the client marketing department supporting that business goal? And then how are we as an agency, uh, closing the loop with media?
Elise 00:05:07 So a lot of brands that have been doing advertising for years, obviously have a vast amount of historical campaign data. So how do you all leverage this valuable information to inform a Futureproof strategy, rooted in what has, and hasn't worked in the past?
Savannah 00:05:30 Well, we know that there's no reason to recreate the wheel, right? So if something has been really consistently successful for a brand, you know, we'll look to ways that we can compliment it, ways that we can enrich it with a different strategy and maybe test and learn those new things. But at the same time, I think often when we know something works, we might get a little comfortable and not realize that our results are actually plateauing. So really you have to take a look at the year over year performance data, or even break it down like month over month, cycle over cycle, whatever it may be to challenge ourselves, to continue improving and not just get too comfortable in resting on our laurels.
Elise 00:06:12 So how often are you going through that process of reevaluating your media strategy or if it's continuous, what are the key touch points that you're looking to to understand? Is it working? Is it plateauing? Where do we need to go moving forward?
Savannah 00:06:30 Well, I think Maggie, not to put you on the spot, but that was a huge part of the measurement strategy sort of document that we sort of started as a company that you championed was all about just going back to it.
Maggie 00:06:42 It's always a fine balance between making sure you know, that we're actively optimizing and looking at performance and making adjustments in real time or whatever that means for marketing nowadays. But also letting platforms run and optimize within the algorithms. I've been trying to get a lot of my clients not to make big changes more than, you know, every quarter. So let's, let's all align on the front end on what audiences we wanna target, what channels we're in, and then let's take a look after three months. What does that trend look like if it's, you know, going in a positive direction, or if it's starting to stabilize, let's leave it alone. Let's not make any big edits month over month. And that takes a lot of education because clients are so used to asking what optimizations are we making every week. And sometimes the answer is nothing. We're just trying to get statistical significance on a campaign.
Savannah 00:07:46 Well, and I think for so many clients, there's almost an element of fear of like, okay, it's going, but what's happening because they're not used to having to wait to reach like statsig on what they're looking for. But one thing we can do in the meantime to sort of continuously improve our campaigns is look outside of our platform metrics. You know, what trends are happening in the industry? Is there anything that might maybe inform our creative strategy while we wait for some of these initial media results to come in mm-hmm <affirmative>
Maggie 00:08:16 And it's also important to understand, you know, user behavior. So, yes, our ultimate goal is a sale. But what does that sales process look like? And then understanding what touchpoints in the consumer cycle or in the purchase cycle are being impacted. So, you know, the campaign has been live for a week, but we have a two week purchase cycle. So after week one, are there consideration metrics we can start looking at? So are more people coming to the website, what is what's happening with Google search trends? And just trying to find success along the path, rather than just with one metric.
Elise 00:08:59 So for clients who may not be marketing savvy, how do you own understanding of the consumer journey and then align a media strategy with that journey?
Savannah 00:09:13 Well, I would say oftentimes if we have an understanding of the consumer journey or at least what our expectation is, that's the piece that clients tend to understand a little bit more. And that's even when we're working with brands directly, that's the piece they get a little bit more excited about because no one really understands their perfect client better than the brand manager or the brand director themselves. So if we can take maybe the map that they've created, that they've sort of been relying on and see if we can supplement it or tweak it and build it into our media strategy, that'll inform what our conversation looks like throughout the lifetime of our campaign.
Maggie 00:09:51 And sometimes it's as silly as just reminding our clients that, you know, we're marketing to humans. So taking off that marketing hat or that business owner hat and putting them as a consumer. So, you know, when clients are asking about clickthroughs or something like that, it's like, well, when was the last time that you clicked on an ad? And they're like, I don't know. Probably never. And it's, it's really just realigning them back to, you know, at the end of the day, yes, this is metrics, but putting in that human element that we are advertising to humans and we need humans to take those interactions and those steps.
Savannah 00:10:26 Well, and I think so much of that starts with the planning too, because I think it comes up a lot when we're talking about performance and optimizations, but making sure that when we're communicating the audiences we're trying to reach, we're not just dumping a bunch of numbers, right. We're really personifying the audience. You know, I've certainly been guilty of saying, you know, this is what women ages, 25 to 35 do, instead of saying like, okay, so this is what me and a lot of the people that I surround myself with do this is how we consume media and here's the research to back it up.
Elise 00:10:59 So for those clients that are wanting to be very involved with the strategy and are very interested in the latest and greatest optimizations, how do you keep them out of the mindset of FOMO? You know, oh my gosh, everybody I know is on TikTok. Why aren't we there? Oh, you know, taco bell has created metaversal version of their <laugh> their facilities. We should definitely do that. How do you help them to make smart decisions about the marketing strategy?
Savannah 00:11:34 I would say so much of that is the balance of encouraging that creativity and making sure that we have a way to measure what we do. So sometimes we'll say, okay, for this specific initiative that's live right now, here's the measurement strategy we have in place. If we really want to test something new within these existing budgets, we definitely can, but we wanna make sure we're not accidentally hindering the performance of our other channels because we're making too frequent of changes as Maggie mentioned.
Elise 00:12:06 So I know we talked before, Savannah, about the big idea and how you use research to fuel that, and thinking about actually incorporating said big idea into a strategy oftentimes requires a little bit of out of the box thinking and is pushing the boundaries for the client. So how do you convince clients to place dollars and previously unexplored tactic, um, and also understand the value of testing and learning?
Savannah 00:12:41 Well, I think as long as we're planning from the beginning with that test and learn mentality and making sure that we're really proactive in that communication, you know, this is something that is kind of new territory, here's what we're expecting. And setting standards for ourselves too, like once we get to the two to three week point, you know, this is the time that we're planning to check in. I think oftentimes, it's really just reassuring your brands that you're working with like we are on it, like we're going to be actively monitoring this and we have a set of expectations for what we're looking for.
Maggie 00:13:17 Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. I think just again, establishing those, the goals on the upfront and then talking through the learning agenda and getting the client excited about the opportunity and also being clear and concise on what we can and cannot do and what should and should not be expected.
Savannah 00:13:37 Yeah. And I think it always helps when throughout the rest of your plan, you know, you're balancing tried and true strategies with those big ideas. So that's maybe one way that we can look to the historical data again and say, okay, we know this works. If you feel really strongly about this and the performance it's given you in the past, why don't we let that be, you know, the main part of our campaign, and then we'll use this, you know, not tried and true, or this, what is the word I'm looking for? Maybe like “innovative” strategy to compliment what we know already works.
Elise 00:14:12 So if you were to give one piece of advice on how to best execute a marketing strategy or a media strategy, or how to drive the best success you can from a strategy, what would you say?
Savannah 00:14:27 I think I would say that planning needs to be a team activity. So, especially as we're talking about, you know, finding those big ideas, oftentimes it's not just gonna be the people who have been buried in research, finding them and pulling them out. It's gonna be talking with your team. You know, what else have we done? Maybe your platform specialists oftentimes are gonna have the best recommendations for, Hey, this is something new we could try or, Hey, this is working really well on another campaign I'm running.
Maggie 00:14:50 Mine has always been, keep it simple. You know, as advertisers, we know what works, we know where our audiences are, use your research and don't overcomplicate it. Keeping it simple really helps you, just dumbing it down and, and understanding, you know, back what are the goals? How are we gonna get there? If we see X, then we will do Y, that helps set a clear path, which then you can start building upon that. So get your foundation, make sure that it's, it's a concise strategy and then build from there.
Elise 00:15:32 Great. Thank you both for your time.
Maggie 00:15:35 Thank you. Thanks.
Elise 00:15:36 Thank you for listening. Coegi is an industry leading performance marketing agency based in the Midwest. We've learned a lot since our founding in 2014 and started the Loop Marketing Podcast to share some of our hot takes from marketing trends we're following, best practices we’ve discovered, and actionable tips for approving your digital strategy. We'll see you next time.