BrandMAX, the two-day summit and networking event for senior marketers, brings the biggest names in global marketing and communications together.
BrandMAX takes place at the iconic Altitude 360 venue in London's Millbank Tower, from 21 to 22 September. It will focus on every aspect of the marketing mix and ways to optimise ROI. There will also be special break-out sessions focused on media.
In the first of a series of interviews with speakers at the event, Michael Kassan, former President/COO and vice-chairman of Initiative Media Worldwide, who presents one of the keynote sessions, 'Wag the Dog – Why Sillicon Valley will Determine the Future of Marketing', discusses the modern media challenge.
MW: Where do the media and advertising industries find themselves now?
MK: I would sum it up as chaos and opportunity. Two words that I use frequently to identify the state of our industry today, having been fortunate to participate in the media industry over the past 20 years and watching the transition.
MW: What is the fundamental reason for this change and transition?
MK: Digital is the fundamental reason. As we analyse the market today and break it down into these three buckets that we call paid, owned and earned media, its clear why clients are more content-focused than ever.
As Coca-Cola shows, they are a network and they are in the content business. Their concept around liquid (content) plays very well in the content space. They are looking at what they have to say as content and they are studying distribution models at the highest level.
So the convergence of technology – which we saw at the consumer electronics show in January. MediaLink brought significant presence from brands to the show. It was about getting the conversation between the electronics companies Samsung, and Intel, and earlier to understand what the brands needs are.
On new platforms, advertising will play a bigger and more robust role in that. In what we used to call Madison & Vine – the traditional content – the next generation of product placement integration it is very clear that those conversations need to start earlier. Why should it be different with technology and brands?
MW: What does this mean for the distribution of content?
MK: As brands look at distribution, and how people access their products and information, it is going to be through the context of devices – wouldn't you want to have an advertiser or a marketer's view as you are designing the device? As those conversations need to happen it puts in the forefront of all things digital, though digital is the wrong word to use now as everything's digital.
From a US perspective, we have just experienced the most robust television upfront in years so the fate of the 30-second spot seems to be just fine. It's not leaving. It's as strong – if not stronger than ever.
Around the world we still struggle with the question, why are the dollars not following the eyeballs. It comes down to one thing which is more important than ever and that is the metric and the accountability. That grows from several places.
The promise of the internet is that you could have more accountability. The demand of procurement as they play a larger role in marketing over the last five to seven years is – if you build it can we measure it? And if we measure it we want it as accurate as possible.
This is part of the reason why dollars and eyeballs do not track (each other) but it does give you the reason why they will. That convergence is what we are focused on and where the opportunity is. But also what the pitfalls are.
MW: What is the big agency challenge?
MK: The challenge to the agencies is clear. It's not just a challenge to the agencies – it's across the board. It's a challenge to the buyer, it's a challenge to the seller and it's a challenge to the agency partner. We need to find one thing as fast as we can. A common, acceptable measurement standard.
Our report tried to align the interests for publishers, clients and agencies to try and agree one standard – or as close as we could without trying to boil the ocean – measurement that you could use cross platform. The sooner we can get there, the sooner that accountability at least will be an accepted standard for out of home, broadcast, online wherever, whatever and however.
MW: From 0 to 10, how close is this? (If we have just started this process, it's a 0. Completion is 10)
MK: Certain aspects we are probably at a three. In terms of client interest we are at a 15. In terms of combining action and interest, we are at a five.
To hear more from Michael and other businesses and brands including John Lewis Partnership, Nike, Barclaycard, JWT, Ebiquity, BMW and much more, book delegate places at www.brand-max.net.
Michael E Kassan, Chairman and CEO, MediaLink, operates across the media, advertising and entertainment industries. He is the founder of MediaLink, a leading Los Angeles and New York City-based advisory and business development firm.
For information contact Celia Miranda at Haymarket Brand Media,