Don’t get lost in translation: Why brands need to prioritise their local teams

As any avid traveller knows, a little local knowledge can go a long way. As holidaymakers jet off to new locations, many will have spent the weeks before scouring local guides and websites to find the top tips, insider insights and hidden gems that allow them to make the most of their time off.

Local knowledge is just as important for global businesses. However, time and time again, we see local teams sidelined, with attempts to standardise data collection wiping away the nuanced insights that are present in the data gathered by these inmarket specialists.

Media is, and always has been, local in its nature. But with the growth of hyper-personalisation and hyper-localisation, this has become even more obvious. So how do global brands get the best out of their local teams?


Don’t get lost in translation

One of the challenges that global brands face on a daily basis is negotiating the tensions, pressure points, and frictions that can occur between teams spread out in many different locations. Left unchecked, these minor issues can lead to deteriorating relationships that will, in the end, affect the bottom line.

Crystal clear lines of communication are an absolute must, whether head-office has a more hands-off approach or not. Collaborative integration ensures local teams are involved in all parts of the campaign journey, where they can lend their unique insights and expertise to ensure success.


Celebrating differences

Having the insight of local teams is important, but without a firm foundation of data, all decision making will suffer. But bringing together data from all across the globe is no easy task – differing taxonomies, currencies, and languages make it hard to standardise, leaving global teams with a tangled mess of details.

Luckily, there are tools available to teams to make data management easier – including our very own Tuk-Tuk solution. Tuk-Tuk allows marketers to prioritise local data, celebrating its nuances while adapting to  each market’s unique workflows. Top-down changes to data management methods can be tough to implement and lead to further confusion – harnessing software that allows for flexibility can help avoid this.

Good data management is a constantly evolving process, and only through a fluid implementation can brands truly gain the insights that local data offers.

Ultimately, the goal of all good data management is gaining a single, trusted view of all data. This data needs to not only be fully comparable and trusted, insights need to be accessed in real time. This is especially important in times of economic uncertainty, giving marketers the ability to pivot spend to more effective areas.

So as you head off on your holiday, indulge in the region’s speciality and find that hidden coffee shop the other tourists don’t know about, remember the power of local knowledge.

What is Agency Deal Performance Management?

Understanding Deal Performance Management: Enhancing Agency Relationships for Better Results

Building a successful relationship between brands and their agencies is often a complex task. While some iconic brand-agency partnerships, such as Honda's collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy or Apple's enduring bond with TBWA\Chiat\Day, stand the test of time, the dynamic nature of modern marketing often tempts brands to seek new partners in pursuit of improved outcomes. In fact, the prevalence of such turnover is so significant that nearly 40% of brands now consider replacing their agency within just six months. Clearly, there must be a more effective way to streamline this process and ensure mutual success for both parties involved.

Determining whether to stick with or switch agencies is never an easy decision. However, like any strategic marketing move, it should be driven by concrete facts and figures. Unfortunately, many global brands find themselves lacking the necessary insights to evaluate their agency partners effectively, with valuable performance data arriving too late to influence campaign strategies.


Challenges in Evaluating Agency Relationships

Why is it so difficult to assess agency relationships? The answer is simple: it's a complex landscape. The Master Service Agreement (MSA) that governs these relationships encompasses a wide range of metrics and criteria on which agencies agree to be evaluated.

Consider the realm of television advertising, for instance. Agencies commit to securing specific ad rates within the MSA, which may be influenced by factors like ad placement in a commercial break or securing primetime slots. Untangling these metrics and assessing their impact becomes quite challenging.

Furthermore, quality must also be taken into account. Brands need to ensure they aren't overpaying for ads that go unseen, get poorly placed, or appear in inappropriate contexts. Marketers must maximise the effectiveness of their ad spend by precisely targeting their desired audiences while understanding the associated costs.

Now, expand this complexity to encompass multiple channels such as digital, CTV, and out-of-home (OOH), across diverse markets with their own pricing agreements. It becomes evident that brands are faced with an overwhelming amount of media data to handle. It's no surprise that most brands only audit these relationships once a year. However, in our fast-paced and ever-evolving economy, is an annual audit sufficient? What happens when macro or micro factors derail our plans?  

Another critical concern arises when global brands attempt these audits – the clarity and reliability of the data will have knock-on implications. When brands look to undertake these audits, agencies will go through all post-campaign data that comes directly from the source and manually enter this data into templates for brands. By adding a pair of hands into the data process, the risk of human errors could distort the end results, or worse, there is scope for the manipulation of this data. Such inaccuracies can significantly impact decision-making regarding campaign efforts and agency relationships.


Unravelling the Data Web

Evaluating an agency relationship goes beyond simply ensuring that partners meet their goals. It's about using insights to cultivate a mutually beneficial and harmonious partnership that sets agency teams up for success.

Annual audits alone fail to foster this kind of partnership. The insights gained from such audits arrive too late to be fully leveraged. When targets are not met, blame is assigned, and relationships deteriorate. What if there were a way to enhance transparency in managing agency guarantees on an ongoing basis? What if brands could access data more swiftly to make course corrections and optimise their spending?


Introducing Deal Performance Management, a Solution for Success

Our Deal Performance Tracking solution equips brands with the necessary tools to evaluate agency relationships more effectively by automating key processes and mitigating the risk of data contamination.

The solution begins by ingesting the various components of the MSA, meticulously accounting for the nuances of each agreement. When the post-campaign data becomes available, ideally directly from the source or, when that is not possible, from the agencies, it is then ingested into the system before being cleansed and normalised to ensure accuracy. Then it is mapped and tracked against the granular details within the agency guarantees, providing an on-going monthly health-check.  

This streamlined and frictionless process empowers brands and their agency teams to access insights on a monthly basis, allowing local and regional teams to monitor deal performance at a granular level. Access to the data sets is permission based so only the right teams see the right information across all markets and agencies. Regular check-ins provide opportunities for ongoing course corrections, ensuring that brands and their agencies collaborate harmoniously to maximise return on investment (ROI).

Moreover, the Deal Performance Tracking solution goes beyond historical media performance analysis, offering predictive capabilities to forecast deal value delivery even when post-campaign data is not yet available.

By embracing Deal Performance Management, brands can transform their approach to evaluating agency relationships. They gain the power of timely insights, fostering more collaborative partnerships and unlocking the potential for enhanced campaign performance and business success.

Paving the way to Marketing Success

Why media data solutions pave the way to marketing success

Media data solutions are hardly a new technology for marketers. In the modern marketing age, every advertiser is looking to get an edge, and often this means digging into the details and looking for the extra value. Media data solutions can be vital for doing the heavy lifting to find these insights.

However, it seems that there is still a disconnect between known best practice and marketers’ day-to-day reality. Nearly a third of US marketers and 22% of EU marketers state that a lack of reliance on data-driven decisions is a key challenge they face. Furthermore, 31% of EU marketers and 27% of US marketers believe they lack access to centralised data and analytics across their organisation.

It is no wonder that investment in marketing analytics and data infrastructure is set to grow in the US and Europe from $22 billion in 2022 to $32 billion in 2026.

This in itself brings another risk. Media buyers are spending an increased amount of time aggregating media data, with marketers losing 10% of the working week managing these platforms.

In an age of increasing pressure on marketers – and regular reminders such as the National Tech Day in India, GDPR anniversary in the UK and Europe, or Data Privacy Day – there are fewer excuses than ever for poor media data practices from marketers.

Here are our tips for finding a tech solution that gives you the data oversight to maximise your media budget potential:


A media data solution that puts local teams first

In marketing, local is king. But more often than not, tech solutions act as a barrier between those on the ground and global teams.

Often this leads to two outcomes. First, local teams adopt their own solutions that fit their specific needs. While this enables local teams to collect more market-specific media data in their unique taxonomies, it can lead to confusion when ingested by global teams. Ultimately it results in more hands touching media data – and the more hands present, the higher the chance of unreliability and manipulation creeping in.

The second outcome is global teams implementing a solution that doesn’t give flexibility to local teams. This leads to valuable insights relating to individual markets being lost and, as a result, media spend not being optimised.

Advertisers instead need to look for solutions that give local teams the flexibility and preserve the nuances of local markets, while also harmonising this data for global teams so both teams can work in ways that drive successful outcomes. 


A media data solution that can be tailored to your needs

It’s no surprise people get excited about new tech. It’s shiny. It’s fresh. It promises to make life easier. But while it's easy to get drawn into all the bells and whistles that a tech solution offers, marketers need to step back and ask themselves: do I need these features?

Not everything a tech solution offers will fit the needs of a global advertiser. Marketers should search for solutions that suit their workflows and prioritise insights that they need to know. Start with the end in mind. It’s only through having a clear view of the data most important to your campaigns that you can begin to find extra value.

You can have the most expensive hammer in the world, but if you’re trying to put in a screw you’re still stuck.


A media data solution that offers a single view of media data

Modern marketers suffer from tech overload. When dealing with something as valuable as media data, there can be no room for error. Instead of multiple solutions creating a tangle of spreadsheets, marketers need a single source of data truth. This truth is different for different brands. 

Not only that, but this data, and the insights that it holds, has to be accessed rapidly. In a fast-moving market, the post-campaign post-mortem simply doesn’t cut it. Having clear, easy access to all media data enables marketers to pivot spend to better performing channels, switch messaging to more effectively reach consumers, and ultimately improve their ROI.


Are you looking to make more of your media data? Talk to our team about our solutions:


Redmill’s media and marketing data management solutions include: 

Media Data Management and Workflows - Harmonise, aggregate and instantly analyse your latest media plans from around the world.

Post-Campaign Data Management - Collect, clean and harmonise granular post-campaign data across all media to inform benchmarking, market modelling and more.

Deal Performance Management - Track your agency's delivery of media deal quality, value and price in every market, across all media on a regular and fast-turnaround basis so you can course correct to ensure deal delivery and maximum ROI.

Competitive Reporting & Analysis - Analyse competitor advertising activity and spend globally, regionally and locally, within the same platform so you can stay ahead of the competition. 

Pitch Pricing Support - Be pitch perfect with our auditable e-procurement platform to collect, collate and evaluate agency pitch or annual pricing submissions, for cost and qualitative metrics.

Bespoke projects – In addition to our core suite of products Redmill works with clients on custom data and analytics projects such as the ingestion and analysis of shopper and eCommerce data, sales modelling data and many other bespoke data related projects.







Think global, act local: Planning marketing spend for 2023

As the dust settles on 2022 and we start adjusting to this new year, marketers everywhere will be hoping that all the time they spent stressing over budgets at the tail end of Q4 is worth it. Allocating campaign spend is a highly pressurised task that can have a massive impact on the business’ bottom line.

This year, marketers will be under especially close scrutiny. Budgets will be tighter than ever. Every penny, cent, kuruş, and fēn needs to count. It’s crucial, then, that you have the right information to make your decisions wisely. 

Attention to detail is a must, and it is especially important to tap into local expertise of the markets you operate in. It’s possible that you might not realise that the most important sales period of the year is between June and August in Australia, for example, if you’re working in an office in London watching the crowds of Christmas shoppers grow larger every day.  

The month of Ramadan has its own set of consumer spend and marketing habits, and it changes dates every year as well (22nd March to 21st April in 2023, in case you were wondering). China has the Double 11 shopping festival held on 11th November every year. And in June there are the French Days, an event launched in 2018 and organised by major French ecommerce brands, their equivalent of  Black Friday in the US.

All of these events may play a key role in campaign planning over the next twelve months for global brands. You may be aware of some or all of them, but the point we are driving at is that each market has its individual patterns that make them unique. Global marketing teams should be aware of these quirks and respond to them with appropriate campaigns and allocation of budget. 

As we’ve mentioned before, global brands must treat their local teams like the precious gems that they are to ensure they can access the insights of these in-market specialists. But there is also a pressing need to ensure that media data management practices are in good shape in order to get the full benefit of these insights; with data from different regions coming in a variety of languages and taxonomies it’s easy to get bogged down and miss the crucial details.  

But media data management doesn't have to be difficult. Our own TukTuk solution gives global marketing teams the flexibility to prioritise local data and adapt to the unique workflows and nuances in each market. 

As we've said before, global advertisers need to be in control of their own media investment data; but not only should they be shifting away from dependency on external agencies, they need to ensure their own data is in good shape in order to get the maximum out of it.

Data ownership enables brands to combine data points and create a single, trusted source of media truth that the entire business can use. However, they'll only achieve this through good data management practices, with access to real-time insights from local sources. This will allow them to allocate spend to the right areas and quickly change strategy where appropriate. And it will certainly take the stress out of budget planning in 2023.   

Pressure on procurement: avoid penny pinching to effectively assess agency pitches

As the current economic climate continues to fuel ad spend cautiousness, and many commentators predicting widespread budget cuts, brand advertisers may find themselves in the market for a new agency to maximise media value. The pitch procurement process can be a complex one at the best of times; different internal departments usually require varying levels of information from prospective agencies, and the agency teams often have to jump through hoops to deliver this. 

It’s a particularly stressful process for brand procurement teams, who are mostly responsible for the decision-making and for reporting cost implications to the C-suite. So at a time when further pressure is piling on both sides of the equation due to the need for efficiency to make every penny count, what can be done to make the process smoother, fairer and ultimately help procurement teams make the best decision, rather than simply selecting the cheapest option?


Pragmatic or just plain frugal?

During times of financial uncertainty, it’s natural for brands to be extra careful of how and where their budgets are being spent. However, blanket cuts can often do more harm than good. Procurement teams may be so hyper-focused on saving brand advertisers money that they might actually miss out on fantastic agency partnerships that could bring the brand more profitability in the long run. For example, budget cuts may lead to diminished market presence, meaning the company becomes less competitive; spending smartly rather than excessive penny pinching is often a better option. 

However, it can be difficult for procurement teams to know if their cost assessments are accurate. Agency evaluations tend to be quite subjective and complex. Multiple markets, target audiences and media types must be taken into account, along with price. Procurement teams need a standardised system to aid their decision-making process and ultimately ensure every penny is well spent.


Striking the right balance

And of course, the pitching process isn’t a walk in the park for agencies, either. They can lack sufficient resources to keep pitches efficient, meaning teams become overstretched, leading to stress and burnout. 

A solution such as Redmill’s Pitch-IT could be the answer to both sides’ difficulties. Pitch-IT is an auditable pitch pricing procurement platform, which collates pitch submissions from media agencies in one accessible programme. This allows advertisers to easily evaluate pitch submissions and make informed agency selection decisions, as the tool also analyses historical media activity to predict future outcomes and to create quality parameters by market. 

Not only does Pitch-IT streamline the briefing and reporting process for advertisers, but it also increases transparency for media agencies, making the process smoother and promoting greater communication between both sides. 

In these uncertain times, it’s never been more important for procurement teams to optimise value. Having clear, auditable pricing parameters for agency selection is paramount to making the right decision, and enlisting the help of robust tech solutions can lead to long term gains. 

Media Pools

A Deeper Dive into Media Audit Pools

Media audits based on pooled buying data are one of the marketing industry’s oldest tools for media and procurement teams to justify their agency’s value. Even with the world firmly placed in the digital age, this nearly 50-year old method of measuring media buying performance continues to stand firm.

For the uninitiated in this concept, pool media auditing allows advertisers to compare their media buying performance against a ‘pool’ of anonymous and aggregated data, supplied by other advertisers to an independent media auditor. The theory is, by comparing against the rest of the industry, these pools can give an independent assessment as to how well, or badly, a media agency has bought campaigns, usually with a focus on prices paid and reach achieved.

But times change. While their staying power is a testament to their continued, perceived, usefulness, in this era of big data, it may be time to stop and ask: are pooled audits still fit for purpose?

Let’s dive in…


Muddying the Waters

One of the most glaring downsides to pooled audits is their lack of transparency. Anonymity is inherent to how they operate, and so by default, advertisers can’t easily assess the quality of the pool – how large it is, what companies are in it and how big it is in terms of genuinely comparable spend.

Some of the world’s largest advertisers have also traditionally avoided submitting their data to pools in order to protect the confidentiality of their own rates. With the least to gain from comparison against pooled data this is understandable – inclusion could fairly be seen as helping competitors to improve buying performance. Questions also have to be raised about whether these pricing pools reflect real prices, given that rebates and over-riders are rarely included in pool calculations. Another area of concern is the difficulty in understanding whether the pool an advertiser is comparing against is buying to a similar brief.

But these are issues that have long troubled media pool audits – what are the new issues that are challenging their usefulness today?

The first is the increasing percentage of media spend migrating to digital activity.  We are all familiar with the difficulty in comparing formats, platforms, viewability percentages, targeting in the highly customised world of digital advertising.

Also, the boom of programmatic buying for offline activity (as well as online). The ‘auction’ nature of this buying method and impossibility of replicating exactly the same buying scenario across multiple advertisers makes pooled auditing largely irrelevant. This takes a significant portion of spend out of the scope of pooled auditing.

The second is the increased adoption of Performance Related Incentive Plans (PRIPs). These give agencies extra impetus to align themselves more fully with the real marketing goals of brands, but can be based only on what the agency can actually control. With the unpredictability and uncontrollability of audit pools, agencies will quite rightly want to reject the addition of these to their PRIP criteria.

But ultimately, the average paid by the pool is simply rarely a meaningful KPI. ‘Average’ is not something to aspire to, and most advertisers are looking well beyond costs when evaluating their campaign performance.


Staying poolside – the next steps

So you’re out of the pool. Where do you go now? The need for evaluating campaign media performance hasn’t disappeared, so what are the alternatives?

The best measures often come from within. Comparing your brand’s own year-on-year performance data will provide a spotlight on productivity in relation to market inflation. If advertisers can point to year-on-year improvements in their own performance, they will be heading in the right direction.

But to have this level of insight, companies ideally need to take control of their own media data. In-housing media data adds an extra level of transparency, allowing for faster analysis of results and a better overview of post campaign data.

All this is not to say that pooled audits are now a complete no-go, but advertisers need to think hard before diving in. Find out the pool size and composition, including target audiences and qualitative buying factors. A pool audit can only return value if you can understand whether the comparison being made is genuinely like-for-like.

Ultimately, brands should take a more holistic look at measurement and evaluation. While price will always be important, defining what outcomes really help drive business, and not what is simply easy to measure, should be at the core of all analysis. With the wealth of information available, including media mix modelling to test different strategies within and across markets, companies no longer have to drown in the opacity of media audit pools.

WTF is a Data Spaghetti

Untangling data spaghetti

Data is the backbone of global brands in the modern age. From figures on finance to counting customers, this wealth of information is central to the decision-making process of companies. And for those brands looking at optimising advertising returns, this is no different.

Pulling together these many threads of information – data held on different software, in different countries – can be a mammoth task, but when the amount of data in a company increases, the quality of the decision making improves. That is, however, until it reaches a certain point of saturation, and something very strange happens.

We’ve observed that after this tipping point, the quality of decision making starts to decrease and data gets tangled, clouded and overwhelming. This is what we like to call data spaghetti.


The base ingredients

How do you make data spaghetti?

First, add a handful of spreadsheets, a dash of data sets from around the globe and then a cupful of differing naming taxonomies. Mix until well and truly disparate. The end result should be near impossible to untangle or make sense of.

The inseparable mess of spreadsheets that global brands are often left with is not the fault of one single piece of software, one single process, or one single taxonomy. Instead, it is the amalgamation of all issues, and without a clear overview, brands cannot confidently make decisions.


Pasta la vista!

So how can these strands be untangled into something more digestible? Let’s look at some solutions:

Getting Global and local teams closer

Operational differences between global and local teams in large brands are nothing new, but the result of miscommunications and misunderstandings can lead to inconsistent data. Whether a centralised or hands-off approach is used when managing these local teams, good communication is a must.

Being aware of localised differences – whether they be around distinctions in customs, vernacular or culture – can help to better integrate local data into the global entity. Less friction across global teams leads to a better global brand identity, which in turn can lead to more consistent data. This does not mean forcing local teams to work in a generic ‘global’ format, but instead the global team has to appreciate and adapt to understand and use the local ways of working.

Singing from the same datasheets

Gathering all your disparate datasets together can seem an immense task, but luckily there are solutions that can help you to harmonise your data on local, global and combined levels. True understanding can be gained from the granular detail that platforms, like our TukTuk Platform, can offer.

But be warned – this software is not the be-all and end-all. Rigorous and constantly updated data management methods are needed to get the full potential and analysis from these management platforms. Data integration that is fluid, flexible and effective can help brands identify and predict consumer journeys and trends on different levels, both micro and macro.

Bringing it all together

Though separating these strands of data is useful, the true power comes from when they are reassembled. This newly integrated and standardised collection of up-to-date data, therefore, becomes a single source of data truth – an easily analysed comprehensive overview of a global operation that can assist with making the best business decisions. A data lasagne if you like; different data types perfectly combined and precisely layered to create one dish.

The challenges that global brands face can seem insurmountable at times – the remote teams, disparate data silos and local differences can add up to cloud the vision of any company. The solution to this is to put local teams first, listen to their needs and adjust systems to accommodate them. A specialist media management platform can then help with the heavy data lifting, freeing teams up to focus on what really matters.

Meet the CEO: Questions with... Hasan Arik

Tell us about the journey that led you to start Redmill Solutions.

I started my journey as a software engineer working at an advertising agency in London. As their first developer — indeed, the first developer for any London ad agency — I was in a unique position because we were all learning by doing. This meant I worked with planners, buyers, researchers, and financial teams: basically, all the key stakeholders in the media ecosystem.

I then took this knowledge and expanded it over 19 years, working for large global media agencies such as MediaCom and GroupM, steadily moving into more senior roles such as IT Director, Global Head of Technology, and Chief Information Officer.

My path gave me a holistic view of the media environment and a detailed understanding of the whole planning and buying process. It’s thanks to all of these different roles from bottom to top that equipped me with the insight to truly understand what advertisers need, which is a global intelligence platform that provides better visibility over their media and advertising investment data.

For almost two decades, during my tenure in agencyland, we worked tirelessly to try to solve this problem. Like most engineers, what gets me motivated each day is working to solve complex problems like this. Ultimately, the idea for the solution became the genesis of Redmill.

How does Redmill Solutions differ from other companies?

First off, we are an entirely independent software provider.  We aren’t affiliated with any agency or media owner, so our interests are 100% aligned with our clients, the advertisers.  Additionally, Redmill uniquely understands that the media trading behaviours, traditions, and workflows vary widely by market, and that all media planning is local. These local processes are both valuable and deeply ingrained. A key to our success is not requiring any process or workflow changes for our clients or their agency. Our priority is to serve advertisers, and our progress — from its beginning as just me, my dog, and my computer, to managing billions of dollars of media investment annually 11 years later — proves that we are succeeding in this.

My background as a software engineer and my experience within the sector means I understand the technology and the tools as much as the media ecosystem itself. Efficient data management is vital for brands, which is why our aim is to relay all the information and insights back to the businesses in a way that is comprehensive, usable, and portable.

What are the main challenges that brands face today?

With myriad data sets flying in from across the globe, achieving a single source of data truth is not easy. Brands now have access to so much data information that it’s incredibly challenging to manually distill into actionable intelligence  — in some cases we are ingesting from more than 3,000 sources across 120+ countries. Collecting, organising, structuring, and surfacing that information is a monumental task.

This is why we developed Tuk-Tuk, a platform with a highly customisable interface and intuitive UI for even the most tech-shy users that does all the ‘heavy lifting’ of data collection, cleaning and harmonisation. This leaves our clients’ teams with the time, transparency, and clarity to analyse the data and translate it into meaningful actions and strategies.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to marketers today?

In these days of increasing availability of data to help with insights, don’t forget the humans.  Hire people and agencies that you like, that you trust, and that are smart, and treat them as partners. By having the right partners and the right insights you can achieve anything.  Agency strength’s vary by market, so picking the best partner by market is very important.

2022: What to expect next

It is that time of the year where leaders and experts use their insights and knowledge to make predictions for the year ahead. After a long period of uncertainty mixed with key industry developments in data technology and privacy regulations, as well as transformations in consumer needs and behaviours, here are the changes we expect in key areas of the media ecosystem.

Open-season for ad agencies

During the pandemic, conflicts between agencies and brand clients over control and flexibility of assets revealed underlying tensions that are likely to endure over the next year. This turmoil has prompted Board-level executives to pay more attention to advertising investments and ROI, as they now recognise the need for greater agility in their media investment decisions and thus, more flexible deal arrangements.

This indicates that 2022 will be a year of increased media pitch activity, something of an open season for agencies. Especially after the uncertainty of 2020 and 2021, and the consequent rolling over of deals, we expect to see a lot of global brand advertisers looking for better deals and going out to pitch.

Shifting to a single source of media data truth

When it comes to data and technology, we expect to see more global advertisers taking greater control of their own media investment data. The value of data ownership is really coming to the fore, as are the efficiencies that arise from fingertip access to a single source of trusted data. This means that while in-housing media planning and buying will still be up for discussion, in-housing media data is the approach that smart brand owners will increasingly take more seriously.

On an industry level, this indicates a shift away from dependency on ad-hoc data supply from external agencies, and a shift towards brands owning and accessing their full data picture. Why? Data ownership enables companies to combine data points and to create a single source of media truth for their entire business to use, a level of insight that outside solutions do not always provide.

Ecommerce: Understanding your customer and brand equity

Brand advertisers will be looking to gain a better understanding of their customer and brand equity, and joining up their investment dots to deliver this. By developing a unified data view, brands will not only have a more complete picture of the entire marketing funnel, it will also allow them to align their ecommerce activation and shopper marketing data with their advertising media investment data, to provide a full picture of attribution and ROI.

By bringing together all digital performance data, including ecommerce activation, brands will be in a stronger position to make quicker and better investment decisions. What’s more, this level of data overview will enable brands to better understand their customers, and therefore better serve them.

The advertising technology landscape is continuously shifting and evolving, be it in terms of methodology, systems, or attitudes. Staying on top of these developments may be a challenge, but it is a worthy one, and one that will help you and your company stay ahead of the game over the next twelve months.

Navigating this year’s Retail Golden Quarter

For the second year running, the Retail Golden Quarter may not be quite the bumper event that had been hoped for.

Encompassing Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day and Christmas, this period is one of the most profitable for retailers, with 35% of annual profit coming in the period leading up to Christmas.

But what sets this year apart are the continuing global supply chain issues that have caused shortages of food, fuel and everything in between over the last few months. Global brands have been especially hard hit, as the crisis constantly evolves and problems vary in each territory.

Despite this, advertising spend is set to soar – with UK brands alone increasing above the line ad spend by £1 billion over the period.

The trend continues for brands to value e-commerce and they are increasing investment to own the end consumer relationship. All brands have the different level of maturity in the e-commerce space, but generally understanding and owning the relationship with the consumer is key.  All direct opportunities for selling, should not undermine the need for investment in brand equity.


Supply chain uncertainty

The issues affecting the global supply chains are myriad, and often distinct to specific regions. The global pandemic is obviously one of the key causes, with Covid outbreaks still causing port closures and staff shortages.

Compounding this are record-high ocean freight prices, with shipping costs on Asia to US and Asia to Europe routes increasing tenfold since 2019. Regional issues, such as energy crises in both China and Europe, along with Brexit in the UK, have made stretched supply chains even harder to navigate for global companies.

Retailers themselves have not helped matters. Over ordering or placing orders too early is causing a ‘bullwhip effect’ – a term that describes how small changes in demand at the retail level can have a large impact on wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors.


Accounting for the unexpected

The Golden Quarter is usually a dependable period for retailers, but the supply chain issues could leave many consumers empty-handed. With ad spend continuing to see healthy gains, advertisers will have to show the same levels of flexibility and creativity that were on display during the pandemic. It’s important that brands continue to be front of mind with the consumers, but the message may be altered to account for supply chain issues.

Customers are well aware of the supply chain issues, but marketers will need to be adaptable to keep them engaged. According to Forrester, brands are likely to lose half of their sales on back-ordered items unless they are able to compensate with customer support. Marketers will also have to quickly pivot from performance-driven campaigns to awareness-driven campaigns as supply diminishes.

With this need for agility, it has never been more important for marketers to have a single source of truth for their media data, including e-commerce activity. A global overview with granular local details and clean, harmonised data they can view in real-time will be vital this Golden Quarter.

Having a clear view of competitors is also key to helping marketers effectively reach their customers during this crucial period. Being able to easily compare insights such as global competitor media strategy or analysis of competitive spend strategies can give brands the upper hand.

To navigate around the global supply chain issues, marketers will need to be light on their feet. This is only possible if they have both global and local data in a single source. By being less siloed, media spending can be adjusted faster and, ultimately, lead to maximised global profits.

How are you tackling the Golden Quarter this year? Get in touch if you need help to get a clear view of your media data.