3 steps to a winning client media strategy

Bob McDowell, Haymarket’s Director of Planning, Strategy and Change, discusses the art of meeting your audience’s needs to deliver demonstrable ROI

So what is a winning media strategy? Very simply, it does three things:

1.              Identifies an enduring customer need  

2.              Meets that need in ways that competitors find hard to match

3.              Results in profitable action

And whether that need is for news, advice or help to indulge in a passion or find their next job, the right media model can fulfil it by providing content that is useful, interesting or necessary. Building and growing a community that can be qualified and measured in order to connect audience segments to relevant commercial offers that deliver ROI.

It’s a model that’s remained unchanged since the 19th Century. Take The Wall Street Journal. Launched back in 1889, this enduring daily financial newspaper wanted to attract an audience of the people working on Wall Street. To do this they went about creating content that met that professional group’s specific information needs. In this case, it was information and insight on the stock market in order to help them do their job better and, hopefully, become richer.

In terms of qualification, the ad sales team back then would have used the fact their audience worked on Wall Street, and therefore were likely to have large disposable incomes. Essentially: ‘These guys are rich. So, if you want to sell cars or banking services or whisky - these are the right guys.’

So the Wall Street Journal connected that audience to motoring manufacturers or banks or other commercial clients via advertising. Who in turn made money by selling their products and services to an audience that could afford them.

Everybody was happy.

And The Wall Street Journal today is doing much the same thing now as it was back then. Only its audience now needs to be scaled to compete with different players.

The WSJ is no longer just in competition with the other financial papers or international publishers, but the likes of Facebook and Google. Who are also trying to create a big audience of qualified people who work in the financial services industry and connect them to their commercial customers.

The game has changed; but is still essentially the same. And the changes are good for both Haymarket and client-owned media. Expert content for highly engaged, high value audiences remains a beacon of quality in a digital content ocean. It powers our drive to create content that audiences will pay for. It allows us to deliver highly targeted advertising, retail and training. It creates unparalleled insight data.  This is why we describe Haymarket as a specialist media company.

So what does that mean in the world of content marketing? How are client-owned media brands going to compete with Google or Facebook? At Haymarket, we think the answer is through our own set of unmatchable capabilities.

Capability one:

The what... One of our most critical capabilities is our journalism. Our ability to tell stories in a way that connects with our audience in a meaningful and engaging way is a thing our competitors - whether they are Facebook or Google - struggle to do.

Capability two:

The where... We then deliver those stories - whether online or in print or live - via brands that we have created for our clients. Brands such as People Management for CIPD; The Locker for The Army; Beautiful Gardens for the Tillington Group; Spikes for the IAAF. Brands that, over time and through expertise, have built a reputation of trust and authority with their audiences that encourages them to think or act in a different way. And this provides our clients a distinct competitive advantage.

Capability three:

The when... Just as with comedy, timing is everything. Taking our stories or insight and delivering them at the time when they are really needed by the person buying new garden furniture, or looking for their next job in HR, is something that simply following them around the web using just data alone and tracking them down using programmatic advertising just can’t match. Our client-media offer is now a churning blend of print, live, desktop, mobile, social and live events that contribute to meeting our clients’ audiences’ needs at the right time and via the most effective channel.

So essentially that is it: our expert, specialist journalism, the client-owned media brands we create, and our human insight allied with our ability to examine data, that allows us to win. The whole world may be a media owner now - but very few are truly expert. Being the best still matters.