GroupM’s Tom Braybrook On Giving Marketers The “Aha!” Moment

GroupM’s Tom Braybrook On Giving Marketers The “Aha!” Moment

AI is changing the way that technology, advertising and people at large interact. Everyone knows that by now. However, taking advantage of the opportunity that AI provides is not straightforward. Tom Braybrook, managing director, Australia and New Zealand of GroupM business acceleration thinks his team have the tools to help clients.

Despite its recent announcement of its AI Maturity Model, acceleration is not an AI pureplay.

“AI hasn’t changed the engagement model at all,” Braybrook explained to B&T.

“Our role as a consultancy is to guide clients and interpret the technology into business applications and use cases. Over the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve seen a lot of demand as generative AI has come to the forefront and — I’m going to steal this quote — ‘AI got a UI’. Marketers have been able to get their hands on the capability without the barrier of needing to know Python, for example”.

GroupM head honcho Aimee Buchanan hired Braybrook to lead the acceleration team across Australia and New Zealand just over a year ago following spells at Media.Monks, Google, Adobe and OMD.

“It’s been a crazy year. The first conversation that Aimee and I had was about bringing a vitally important capability to our clients around data and tech. The first year has had incredible momentum,” Braybrook said.

“We’ve merged our econometrics team into the business and it’s been fantastic to bring together the advanced analytics team with infrastructure, data and tech consultants. We have run close to 30 client engagements, which is probably why the year feels like it’s gone so quickly. This year is really about launching more visibly into the market.

Let’s back up for a second. As a consultancy housed within GroupM, acceleration focuses on the digital and technological opportunities available to its long list of clients divided into a few practices — technology sales, which mainly deals with the likes of the Google Marketing Platform and Google Analytics; the collection, management, harnessing and execution of first-party data and, of course, AI. There is, of course, overlap between and natural extensions of these practices with upcoming changes to privacy rules, for instance. But AI has provided a step-change for the company.

“We’ve seen a lot more demand from marketers and our internal teams as well in terms of how they should be using AI and what the value is in doing so. That’s been a large part of why we invested in developing a model and a framework to help make sense of where the capability can be applied and how it can be applied,” said Braybrook.

“But more importantly, what uplifts you can expect on the back of delivering on those use cases”.

Within the framework, there are six vectors that acceleration focuses on applying the benefits of AI too — analytics, audiences, bidding, commerce, creative and marketing.

“We always find a handful of use cases within those that our clients hadn’t considered before,” said Braybrook.

“One of the most common areas is creative. For example, the majority of marketers will have some degree of marketing effectiveness analytics in place — whether that’s market mix modeling or econometrics, incrementally testing or brand tracking. Often, they’re looking at that in the context of campaigns and media effectiveness. We know that when you have TV aired alongside BVOD or YouTube, you can achieve incremental reach and your ROI improves, for example.

“The creative vector that we quite normally find clients have an ‘Aha!’ moment around is what if we can provide an enhanced feed of creative data into those models? A business could have anywhere up to a million creative assets that it might be running every year. Nine times out of 10, they don’t have a team looking at all those assets and meta-tagging them in the right way”.

Pulled together, acceleration’s AI smarts allow businesses to nail down, for the first time, whether it is the creative or media placement, or which particular combination of the two, drives actual ad effectiveness.

“The value of the model is that it helps us quantify what the uplift might be so that they have enough confidence and data points to hit go,” he added.

Acceleration works with GroupM’s other agencies, Mindshare, EssenceMediacom and Wavemaker (B&T’s Media Agency of the Year) with a range of businesses from large banks and financial services companies that have in-house tech capabilities to smaller businesses with no real AI capabilities and disjointed data strategies.

“The use case here is about understanding how and where to adopt AI to maximise the business impact of marketing. That’s something that we generally don’t see being readily available for a lot of our clients today,” said Braybrook.

The future is here.

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