Marketers still too focused on TV, ZenithOptimedia UK chairman says



Brands must end their obsession with TV advertising and “liberate” themselves with a new approach to media buying, according to the global managing partner and UK chairman of ZenithOptimedia.

Belinda Rowe, who was CEO of ZO in Australia for a decade and a chair of the Media Federation, told the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Reset conference this morning that she still attends too many meetings where TV is still “front of mind”.

“Everything is seen through that lens,” she said in comments directed at marketers. “You need to liberate yourselves and ask how can you come up with innovative ways to to get you out of TV-led thinking.

“There are conversations around digital but I can tell you I have so many meetings where TV is still front of mind.”

She said consumers are no longer “waiting for your next campaign to break” and are buying products and engaging with brands in a variety of ways. Yet digital is sometimes viewed as “too hard”, Rowe said, with brands reverting to “getting as much TV air time away”.

“We still have these fundamental issues, she told delegates. “I am suggesting you should [put your advertising] at a different place rather than the old assumptions. There are new ways to approach your communications.”

The linear approach is “not relevant anymore”, she said, with the customer journey more complex.

“It is important for the CMO to own that customer journey and a lot of marketers we talk to are grappling with that now. Companies have an increasing amount of data but it is hard to access it,” she said.

“Often we are creating communications that are not joining up with the way consumers are wanting to receive communications,” Rowe continued, adding that brands and marketers “must embrace the unlimited world” of digital channels.

“You don’t need to be shackled by old fashioned notions, you can be more expansive.”

Rowe, whose speech at the conference centered on the need for a fluid approach to media, also called for a greater focus on owned-channels, although she stressed that did not mean she was encouraging a reduction in paid media budgets.

She said more companies should articulate the purpose of their brands and end the “obsession” of promoting their “personalities”.

“Consumers judge brands based on their deeds,” Rowe said, adding that brands with a purpose “outperform the market.”

Rowe argued that data should be equally as important as creativity and said building content should form a central plank of a marketing and distribution strategy.

Creating stories and quality content will also lead to more “earned media”, she said.

Steve Jones


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