Rajesh Mahtani
Sep 16, 2014

The modern pillars of media

Reach, frequency, continuity, impact and share of voice are less relevant today. Here are the five new pillars for planning and delivering campaigns.

Rajesh Mahtani
Rajesh Mahtani

In the past, media planning was based on five basic pillars: reach, frequency, continuity, impact and share of voice. We stood at the intersection of the brand, category, consumer and media. Then we made our assessments and carried out tradeoffs among the five pillars.

In today’s world, the model has been disrupted. With data and technology now also placed at the intersection, we ask ourselves this—what are the modern pillars of media which form the foundation of planning and delivering campaigns?

Data and technology enable us to be agile. To be found at the right moments and intent. To be spoken about in the right conversations and places. To target more of the right people and amplify relevant content that is designed for sharing. Today, the tradeoffs that we plan against are different. The world as we know it has simply shifted.

The key difference is that campaigns today must be designed not only for the collective (our focus in the past), but also the individual. And with data and technology, we are able to target precisely the people we want. Conversations with the audience used to be one-way and passive but now, consumers are able to have deeper experiences.

The five modern pillars, in my opinion, are:

1. Discoverability

Be found at the right moment and place. It is now not just about search. We need to understand the different phases or intent of a consumer’s journey, what goes through a person’s mind as he explores and search, then target those relevant moments.

2. Conversability

Be spoken about, in the right conversations. It’s not just about the size of the community talking nor the quantity of conversations. It’s about the right conversations. So, if you are a shampoo brand, you want to be spoken about in conversations relating to shampoo, and also in the context of good smelling hair if that is your key proposition.

3. Addressability 

Be precise. Today, data and technology allows us to target people very precisely based on interests, previous behaviours and profiles. While we see that primarily in the digital and programmatic buying world, we will see that happening across all channels in the very near future. Inventory for all media, when it becomes digitalized, will be sold in ad exchanges and we will harness audience data to target this inventory to the people we want. That’s what addressability is—targeting more of the right people.

4. Shareability

Be worth sharing. We’ve seen a lot of earned media that is generated from interesting content. It is human nature to share content with others, but only if it is interesting and worthwhile. Hence, content must be designed for viral. A case in point would be the Samsung Oscar selfie. That particular scene was not just aired on TV but was also designed to be shareable content. At the same time, shareability helps content live beyond the event itself. It grants longevity, amplification and more bang for your buck.

5. Agility

Be current and relevant. A great example of customising messages in real time would be the #ShareTheSofa campaign executed by Heineken for the UEFA Champions League. We created the second-screen experience where you could join a football icon in watching and tweeting about the match as it progressed in real time. We wanted to amplify the experience in paid media. Hence, as the tweets were being updated, so were our purchased banner ads and their embedded content. This agility applies to retail stores’ promotions as well. At a particular point in time, how does your promotion, say an increase from 10 to 20 per cent, reflect in your advertising in real time? Often, retailers and marketers have to manage and deliver customised messages at scale, in real time, no less.

These five pillars cater to the modern consumer journey.

As such, the modern pillars of media are a lot more human and experiential in nature. And complex, in terms of their measurement. Again, that’s where the fusion of data and technology comes into play. Media professionals are becoming more specialised as a result. We have the programmatic buyers that ensure addressability and discoverability, the social guys that focus on conversibility, as well content creators who have shareablity and agility as their mantra.

It’s a world of changes: The consumer journey has been disrupted and AIDA model is amplified across each of the four stages today. There’s a lot more search, discussions and independent exploration by the consumer before a product is purchased, and we can influence all of this across the consumer journey and AIDA stages. 

I would say it’s a global trend, although some markets may be ahead in some areas depending on the proliferation of digital channels. I believe that growth will be exponential, and I’m excited to see how these changes play out in our very near future.

Rajesh Mahtani is head of strategy and growth for Southeast Asia at Starcom MediaVest Group


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