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Marketers need to focus on all kinds of innovation: SMG’s Marston Allen

18-May-2009
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Marketers need to focus on all kinds of innovation: SMG’s Marston Allen

In the fall of 2008, Laura Desmond, Global CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group, had created the Global Business Development unit and had appointed Marston Allen to be its first EVP, Global Director, Business Development and Marketing. In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Allen speaks about his role, the three unique innovations of Starcom MediaVest Group and the innovations to watch out for going forward.

Part of Allen’s job is to provide counsel on the process and product, to create differentiation in the commodity market place and to create a differentiation. “For instance, the kind of people we sell to in Asia is very different from the Latin Americans, Europeans, and within Asia, too, it is different as compared to China and India, therefore, we have to make our messages special,” explained Allen.

According to Allen, the three unique innovations of SMG - India specific so far were, first of all, Tardiis - a television optimiser, which is the only one to have ad break level data, which makes available smaller pieces of data. Secondly, ‘Multiple Diversified Services’, which no other agency has, and the third one is a research tool called ‘Intent Tracker’, which measures intent. Since intent is much closer to sales than awareness, it is a better tool to measure.

Allen further said, “Innovation is different for everybody and the important thing is that right now I believe innovation in media is not innovation in business, and innovation in media is not innovation in marketing. So, you have innovation in media, business and marketing, and right now I believe the marketing place is focusing too much on media innovation and not enough on other kinds of innovation.”

On his definition on accountability, keeping in mind the current economic scenario, Allen said, “The ultimate accountability, I believe, is sales, and that is all we should care about. I think there is a difference between outputs and outcomes. In output, for instance, it would be what was our CPM, how many spots did we get, what was our reach, and so on. Whereas in outcome, it would be how much intent we drive, what kind of share did we change or how did sales perform, did our competition suffer, and so on, I think those are what we need to measure. We need to also measure outputs because those are also valuable currency, however I don’t think they are nearly as valuable as out comes.”

He concluded by saying, “The future is truly digital, and within digital, search continues to grow rapidly. I think in the next five years, you will see mobile really come to life, we will have better devices and better screens. Thus, mobile is the future of digital media, and the next big thing is social media.”

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