Alastair Duncan

What currency do you work in?

Posted by November 18, 2008

One of the big issues facing the interactive industry is the language. Clients speak one language. Media people speak another. Developers speak yet another. And creatives – well, a few choice words can work wonders. I’ve been in the interactive world for a long time – launching interactive television in the early nineties, would you believe – and the common language that divides us all remains the same today as it did then. At the imedia brand summit at a very nice hotel near Silverstone last week, I hosted a panel on the subject of brand management in the digital future. A very broad topic, but one that got pretty quickly down to the nuts and bolts of organisation, objective setting and measurement, and the varying stages of development of these areas in the companies that drive the supply chain for a large part of the interactive industry – brand owners.

Two specific topics came up again and again – what is our planning currency, and what is our measurement currency? Clearly better business cases and sharper understanding of ROI is getting more important. Everybody talked about that. Not one of the attendees put a hand up to ‘spending more’ in 2009. In fact, it’s how to spend less, but get more. And this is where we need to think more clearly as an industry on what we do and how we do it, in order to decide and price our value. I worry that we measure ourselves often on how we do things rather than the absolute value of what we do. (we delivered the project on time – great. But what was it for, who was it for, why is it good, how many consumers does it influence, does it change behaviour?

if the role of marketing is to determine the market the brand will compete in and to manage the incremental growth or defence of share – what does the interactive activity do to support that? Ask yourselves the question. Let me know what you think.

  1. On November 23rd, 2008, Rebecca Caroe said...

    Alastair, I think you have hit the nail firmly on the head here.
    And it applies equally to client work and how you promote and grow your own agency.

    Horror stories about poor interactive work delivered by OTL / BTL agencies threaten all of us. But proving your methods work for clients and integrate better with offline and cost less will be key to growing interactive agencies’ business in this recession.

  2. On November 24th, 2008, Katie Streten said...

    I agree with Rebecca, the longer established agencies have the benefit of processes for providing the clients with the statistics and metrics they need to justify their desicions to management.

    We are moving towards that kind of client-facing structure, putting in place more “planning” roles and embedding strategy work in the process of developing projects, instead of waiting for other agencies to do it for us, or for the client to catch us on the hop. It’s a challenge to change a mindset from the instinctive to the deliberate but we feel its very important for our future identity.

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