John Federico is VP, Global Media and Marketing Alliances at Monster Worldwide, an online employment website.
Display is very important to us - especially for our b2b advertising efforts due to the nature of our business and the way customers interact with us. The challenge as always on the b2b side is scale and the ability to get in front of users at the right time and place with a highly targeted message. We are constantly testing new strategies and tactics to improve on the effectiveness of our b2b marketing.
What do you do on the b2c side? Is online display significant there as well?
Display is a key component of our consumer advertising as well. We have had success supporting our NFL partnership with flash, in banner video and rich media display in driving entries for our Director of Fandemonium promotion. We just launched season 2 on October 1st and it concludes with the winner announcement at the Super Bowl in February. The key with display moving forward is to find ways to break through the clutter without being overly intrusive. We're testing a variety of sizes, placements and technologies in order to find the right combination.
As an advertiser, what trends are you seeing in the marketplace today?
We have surprisingly not seen a significant decrease in CPM's this year as one might expect. There has not been a big upswing in CPA opportunites as was seen in the last downturn either, so publishers have clearly learned from that experience and of course the industry has matured since then. We have seen increased flexibility in contract terms, though. There are more integrated opportunities available as vendors are trying to maximize their assets and stand out - and mobile apps as well as social media elements are becoming more and more a part of those packages, which is good to see from an advertiser perspective as that is what consumers are engaging with.
And how about internally - any trends you've experienced, such as more requirements on accountability, less budget, etc.?
We certainly have been impacted by the recession as you read daily in the headlines
about the employment challenges we're facing both domestically and internationally. Our marketing and media has been shifting in a similar fashion to the marketplace - lower budgets, focusing spend on the most effective and efficient channels at driving the business, which for us in media are SEM and digital display.
Does Monster use ad exchanges today? If not, why not?
We have limited experience with ad exchanges to this point, although I can see that
changing as we go into 2010 with the help of our new media agency, OMD. I have nothing against ad exchanges conceptually, and we have been discussing ways which we think we can leverage them for certain parts of our business, we just haven't executed to any great degree, yet.
Can you envision a day when many of the buying services of a media agency are brought in-house to Monster?
I can envision that very well as from 2004-2007 we did all online planning and buying in the US in house through a team that I built! We still support some business lines through in house media buying. As far as the future goes, we have no plans to bring planning and buying back in house for the careers business at this time.
Where do you net out in terms of buying audience versus placement/context? Is it all about addressable media for you?
Due to the nature of our business, we have an extremely broad audience. Our approach is to manage a balanced portfolio which allows us to both buy audience as well as go vertical and segment according to business priorities and customer needs.
In general, how are agencies responding to the ongoing innovations in advertising? If you were running a media agency right now, what sort of strategies would you consider to make sure you're around 5 or 10 years from now?
One of the main reasons we chose OMD as our new media AOR is based on their approach to innovation and navigating the constantly evolving media landscape. The traditional big agency approach is outdated and if agencies and media vendors don't evolve with consumer behavior they will be left behind. As media consumption habits change and fragmentation grows, we need to take a much more holistic approach to how we reach and engage with our audience. The media agency needs to be more of a marketing partner who lives and breathes in these new mediums/technologies and understands how we can take advantage of these changes to help grow our business.
How comfortable are you with your attribution models today? Do you measure cross-platform, for example? Or, thinking just about your online campaigns, are view-throughs in display considered even though the consumer may end up going through search, ultimately, to fulfill a conversion?
We are in the process of building our own custom attribution model as we do not think the last click model that is still the dominant model today is the right one. We do measure cross-channel activity, and are looking at upgrading our tool set to better track and understand the impact of our marketing across channels. We do look at view activity and think there is value there, especially on the b2b side as our products are not impulse buys and typically include an extended purchase decision making process. The key is understanding the entire conversion path and weighting each action accordingly. I don't think there is a one-size fits all model - every business will have a different way of evaluating attribution and the industry needs tools that allow for easy customization.