How to Operate at Scale – Without Missing the Human Touch

How to Operate at Scale – Without Missing the Human Touch
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The role of digital in the marketing mix has elevated exponentially in the past year, meaning there’s never been a more urgent need to show up across the customer journey. Vinne Schifferstein, Managing Director AUNZ, MediaMonks (main image) argues at the same time, digital channels have become more crowded and competitive, meaning you better be ready to stand out everywhere you show up.

With a need to fuel an always-on content engine and meet consumers through personalised, hyper-relevant experiences, every modern marketer faces the same dilemma: how can you both bring costs down while increasing the volume and relevance of your assets? At first, this feels like a scope, costs, timeline conundrum where one always has to give. But really it isn’t – and brands need both, without compromise. Thankfully, yield growth and volume growth aren’t mutually exclusive, and you don’t have to cut out the human element to achieve both.

We’ve seen it work for brands like Mondelēz, BMW and Allianz worldwide, just to name a few. There are three essential elements to accomplishing these objectives:

  • Fix your data set up and start collecting first-party data.
  • Get your assets organised and stored in a consistent and reusable way, using tech like DAM’s (Digital Asset Management).
  • Include smart production as part of your marketing strategy and view the start of every creative campaign you kick off through a production lens.

Thinking of production at the very start of your creative processes means planning all the needed assets across touch points, as well as their variations for each and every target audience. Starting with the media buy and planning around that is a solid step in the right direction—and is essential to our smart production approach of optimising budgets and building fit-for-format content at speed and scale.

When augmented with audience insights, data and tech in the production process, you can potentially create hundreds to even millions (in the case of the work we did for Netflix) of assets through the same old shoot you used to do for a single TVC ad. The role of connecting data with creative efficiency has proved essential in our own approach to helping brands develop consumer-relevant assets at scale. Do away with the notion that stronger input from data stifles creativity; rather, aligning data, technology and creative disciplines is key to meeting consumers where they are and speaking to them on their terms.

And my list above isn’t to say that you can’t start creating and implementing your smart production strategy without data and a DAM. You certainly can, and you’ll see cost savings and improved customer experience right away. However, having these two basics in place will make your life easier longer term, and eventually you’ll be able to get even more bang for your buck.

Of course, I can already hear Aussie marketing professionals saying, “That’s nice, but we have Aussie budgets, not the same deep pockets as our American colleagues.” But you can make smart production work for any budget. You just need to be willing to say goodbye to your linear productions processes, decouple production and own the strategy rather than outsourcing that to your creative agencies.

Whether you aim to produce a traditional shoot or want to shoot hundreds of diverse, unique assets in just three days, including the producer in the mix from the earliest conceptualising phase ensures the project stays on-track, both from a budget as well as a timings perspective.

Similarly, a liaison between the production team and client is equally important. Just like the producer’s role in safeguarding efficiency, the person connecting the team to the client ensures that client needs are met—for example, that budgetary requirements are strictly adhered to.

With this kind of setup, you’ll not only make budgets work harder—you’ll be able to reinvest savings toward creating true human connection at scale. With a critical need for higher volumes of creative and more resonant digital experiences, it’s time to step away from the outdated approach of using digital purely as a performance channel. If Covid has taught us all one thing, it is that digital has a critical role to play in customer experiences. Smart production can help marketers get there faster.

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MediaMonks Vinne Schifferstein

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