As Coles shifts budget into 'people-based marketing', OMD says market will match Adobe, Nine's premium data play
"It's all about growth" says Coles CMO Lisa Ronson on a shift to people-based marketing and why the supermarket was the first to sign-up to Nine and Adobe's audience matching platform. OMD's National Chief Investment Officer, Melissa Hey, thinks it could be the start of a market-wide shift as brands test the effectiveness of premium versus social targeting at scale. Adobe MD, Suzanne Steele outlines the post-Covid winners and losers and the urgent need to drive more customers through newly built "digital front doors". All of which is music to the ears of Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer at Nine, which is supporting Mi3's four-part series exploring key themes marketers and the broader industry will need to keep a watch on for 2021. This is Part One, watch the video below.
“The scale and getting into premium Australian content is where the interest lies. We haven’t previously had that with YouTube and Facebook. We have always predicted that premium content provides higher engagement. It’s a really good opportunity to test that theory.”
The market's moving
Brands have been forced to accelerate digital transformations to “light speed” through Covid, says Coles CMO Lisa Ronson, outlining why the retailer is first to take the plunge with Nine and Adobe’s addressable audience platform.
“It’s all about growth,” she says of Coles' move to match first party data and target some 13 million Australians that Nine has amassed through log-in data across BVOD, radio and news media.
“It’s really about effective personalisation,” says Ronson. “What this does is give us effective personalisation at scale – and given we cater to the majority of the Australian market, scale is really important to us.”
Ronson says Coles’ media investment will “absolutely” move as a result and OMD National Chief Investment officer, Melissa Hey, suggests it’s a precursor to what is likely to be a market-wide shift to ‘people-based marketing’. That is, eyeballs not browsers in a post-cookie world.
Benchmarking premium versus socials
“There have been a lot of enquiries coming in from clients on how they can use [Nine’s platform],” says Hey.
“The big positive is brand safety. There is a lot of discussion in market on social channels around what is happening and how you actually manage that,” she adds.
“The scale and getting into premium Australian content is where the interest lies. We haven’t previously had that with YouTube and Facebook, so there is a lot of interest from clients.”
Hey welcomes the ability to benchmark effectiveness and performance of addressable media.
“We have always predicted that premium content provides higher engagement. It’s a really good opportunity to test that theory.”
The upshot is that brands will ultimately shift media budget into channels that deliver more effective people-based marketing.
“Yes, absolutely [we will adjust channel mix],” says Coles’ Lisa Ronson. “We're constantly iterating how we spend our budget because we want to be customer-centric. People-based marketing will force brands to be more customer-centric and really think about how their above the line or long term communications work with their below the line, short term communications. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.”
“First party data will become the currency of the future. The themes I think we will see play out [over the next 12 months] are addressability and targeting at scale. They will be critical to short, medium and long term growth.”
The currency of the near future
While Coles is mobilising, OMD’s Hey says other brands are still working through the concept. In terms of execution, the shift has not yet happened.
However, Nine Chief Sales Officer, Michael Stephenson, thinks the market will move sooner rather than later, given huge investments in data and CX and increasing pressure on marketers and agencies to deliver sharper results.
“First party data will become the currency of the future,” says Stephenson. Over the next 12 months, “the themes I think we will see play out are addressability and targeting at scale. They will be critical to short, medium and long term growth.”
As such Stephenson believes Nine will “do very well” versus Facebook and Youtube by enabling brands to buy and target up to 13m people with the same simplicity as buying audiences from the digital duopoly.
Transactional simplicity will lead the market to quickly turn he suggests: “Brands are realising that this is quite easy to do. And I'm positive that advertising in an environment where consumers are more engaged, deeply connected to the content will deliver business outcomes.”
“Yes, absolutely [we will adjust channel mix]. People-based marketing will force brands to be more customer-centric and really think about how their above the line work with their below the line communications. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.”
Data is king: use it or die
While Stephenson says content is still king at Nine, Adobe Managing Director Suzanne Steele suggests otherwise. “Data is now king, content is queen,” she says.
Brands across the board created more inviting “digital front doors” almost overnight through Covid. Now she says they must harness data to drive customers smoothly down the path to purchase.
She cites two standouts.
“Petbarn moved all of their stores to become distribution centres more or less overnight, and they saw online sales go up by 43%,” says Steele. “They put in place their experience-driven commerce solution and it paid for itself within two weeks.”
Brisbane-based 99 Bikes also went online only when lockdowns came into force, quickly making improvements to experience, says Steele. As a result, April sales hit $3.1m, “which was more than double the previous December – and December is typically their biggest sales month”.
Post-Covid, those that fail to keep pace may not last the distance, she warns, with the new normal “all about experience-based commerce”.
“I think everybody who needed to move to have a digital front door moved really, really quickly if they hadn't already done it. To be honest, that is true across the board – other than those companies that went into hibernation. And we know who they are.”