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Advertising and Media Intelligence: How Carefully Are You Listening?

March 27, 2013

Ad_Intel_ImageHistory remembers the winners. CEOs never forget the losers.

Whether it's landing on the moon, winning soccer's World Cup, sequencing the human genome, or surpassing sales goals, winners always begin with a well-researched plan. But the best plans include change as an essential component.

Companies that live and breathe change place value on business intelligence in order to maintain their competitive edge. They're marketing champions because they sense, and then adapt to, market opportunities and threats.

One key source of business intelligence is advertising and media intelligence (AMI), which continuously and systematically monitors relevant media, specific competitors and competing products, and marketing trends. Read on to see how AMI can help keep your marketing program nimble and effective.

Advertising and media intelligence – a closer look
AMI offers a multifaceted view of the marketing landscape that can help you aggregate and organize facts quickly and turn them into informed decisions. With a good AMI program, marketers can instantly access all the creative related to their segment and compare positioning, launch teams can rapidly aggregate and monitor competitor advertisements and document specific value points and ad copy, and creative staff can track branding trends, analyze brand consistency, and draw inspiration.

Multiple channels increase the risk of blind spots
The life science marketing space was once solid ground, but now it's more like shifting sand. Life science advertisers have to monitor more of everything: more channels, media types, competitors, demographics, prospective audiences and more market changes than ever before. Even with the best of intentions, it's easy to miss opportunities and competitive threats without some kind of intelligence.

A good advertising and media intelligence program tracks advertising in all types of media—email, digital display, social media, public relations, and print. Tempting as it might be in this era of the mobile Internet, it's not a good idea to ignore print.1,2 Why? Even though some advertisers have fled from print, there are significant life sciences audiences that have not. Plus, there's surging value in print.1

Advertising and media intelligence uncovers hidden gems
Here's an example of AMI in action. A global supplier of scientific products wanted to better understand how to position their offering and how their competitors utilized advertising. The supplier used automated AMI tools to analyze advertising across more than 50 media channels. They analyzed the frequency of placement, the publication or portal where the ad was placed, the format of each ad, ad copy, and ad imagery for many of their competitors.

And the results of these analyses?

The supplier uncovered 3 emerging competitors and a new technology. The AMI also helped the supplier support a modification to their own positioning, influenced their marketing strategy and messaging, and provided insight into expanding their offering into new markets.

Support for your marketing budget

The primary value of an AMI program is the ability to quickly capture market data that can be transformed into marketing action by launch teams, program managers, and creative staff. But AMI can also help you justify your campaign resources by benchmarking your spend vs competitors.

Just because your key competitor spends five-fold more than you doesn't mean that you have to match that spend, but competitor advertising spend is a factor that many consider in their marketing plans, as is how competitors are spending their advertising budgets, eg, the ratio of print to online spending and what products or services are the focus of the spend.

AMI delivers the data, but you must decide how best to apply it.

Advertising and media intelligence methodology
Tracking print and online advertising can be costly, labor intensive and tedious. Because of its fleeting nature, digital display ads can't be monitored manually. Some marketing leaders have told me that they've used an agency to perform AMI or hired a few temps, but they agree that these solutions fall short and are usually expensive. One publisher of a trade publication even mentioned that they ask their sales team to populate a spreadsheet on a weekly basis. The publisher went on to say that although this approach ensures that the advertising sales team reads through competitor publications, it doesn't provide sufficiently robust data, nor does it optimize selling time.

Online tools
There are many database solutions and flashy business intelligence tools, but reliable business-to-business data is hard to come by. Information still has to be entered and organized into the database by a disciplined person with the appropriate background. If the information in the database isn't properly segmented, that is, if the person can't correctly determine if an ad discusses PCR, chromatography, patient recruiting, or cell-based assays, the intelligence is anything but intelligent.

The answers are only as reliable as the quality of the data.

There are some interesting tools out their like WhatRunsWhere.com, Adbeat, Vocus, Google Analytics, and Adgooroo, but they aren't specific to the places in which life science product and service providers advertise, and they don't cover all media, eg, print.

Advertising and media intelligence leads to intelligent advertising 
New technology has changed the marketing world, ours included. Marketing plans have always needed adjustments along the way, but the opportunities created through AMI tools make rapid monitoring and adjustment ever more attainable. The marketplace will punish any organization that ignores this.

Marketing needs to be agile. If you have the necessary information, then you have the ability to adjust your marketing strategy and tactics more wisely. AMI enables you to apply A/B testing principles to the grand plan. If your competitors are advertising in publication A, should you more strongly consider publication B? If your key competitor is focused on certain online channels or email newsletters, do we somehow counterbalance that messaging? If competitor A is saying X in publication 1, do we adjust to say Y or Z in publication 2?

These questions are challenging, but AMI can help you find the answers to help differentiate your offering and boost your chances for success.

References:

  1. Knowledge@wharton. Wharton School of Business. University of Pennsylvania. Will the future of advertising be a blend of old and new media?http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/cfm?artilceID=2344. Accessed March 28, 2013.
  2. Essentia. Data on fiile. 2013.

Mark Lepinske

Mark Lepinske is the co-founder of Essentia Communications, an advertising intelligence firm, focused on helping providers of life science products and services with their business intelligence efforts. Prior to founding Essentia, Mark spent time as a bench scientist and later as a marketing and sales leader at life science products companies.
SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
 
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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