Renee Menard-Badigian named Broadcasting & Cable Top Planner 2018

Planners and strategists a have front row seat when it comes to knowing what advertisers need in an evolving media business.

Their jobs have become more complicated as technology has given consumers more choices in where and how to view content, as well as the ability to skip commercials they don’t want to watch.

The technology has also created opportunities to reach consumers in a more targeted way as research and other tools have improved.

In responses to questions about key industry trends, planners who fielded questions for this report saw artificial intelligence affecting the way decisions are being made in the media business and other industries. They also said that the array of new data available to them and the promise of more accurate ways to measure the impact and effectiveness of advertising were changing how they worked.

Meet Renee Menard-Badigian, Account Director, MediaCom

CollegeRevere College, Nashua, N.H.

Why Advertising: Menard-Badigian switched her college major from early childhood development to communications. “By nature, I feel like a problem-solver, and advertising feels like a giant word problem,” she said. “You have to dissect the context, understand the talent, use critical thinking and then, of course, use math to find an answer. The fun part is when you get to put all that together and tell a compelling story.”

First Job: As an assistant at a full-service boutique agency called Chief Media. She worked with inventors that wanted to market products, one of which was the Snuggie. “It was incredibly interesting and it gave me a really in depth understanding of business KPIs, pretty early in my career,” she said.

Recent interesting campaign: “A recent campaign of particular interest to me is one surrounding a workplace study conducted by a B2B brand,” Menard-Badigian said. “The reason this campaign is so interesting is because the intent is to provide insight and value to employees and employers as opposed to selling a service.” The study, published yearly, aims to uncover what employees value within the workplace and encourages employers to use this data to deepen their relationship with their workers. “As an advocate for the betterment of today’s blended work-life environment, in 2018, the study was published on an interactive platform, with staggered story releases tailored to specific audiences,” she said.

Favorite TV show: “I really don’t watch many things in real time but for the past couple of weeks I was watching Westworld every Sunday at 9 p.m.”

Favorite gadget or app: Apple’s Podcasts app. “I have a very long, hour long train ride to commute in, so I don’t think I could live without it,” she said. She listens to are ESPN’s 30 for 30, TED Talks and NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.

What are the most disruptive forces affecting the advertising business right now?

The rapid rate of technology advancement is one of the most disruptive forces in advertising right now. With ad tech evolving so quickly, we need to be not only media strategists, but also data strategists. We need to be experts in understanding various data sources and how to use this information to inform our media plans. We need to understand the connectivity across various ad technologies to ensure our campaigns are set up for success. And we need to skillfully interpret data to unearth insights and optimize our campaigns.

What can you do in planning a campaign to combat consumer avoidance of your client’s ads?

Two words: Context and content. Context is critical in advertising. As eye-catching as a splashy new ad format can be, a consumer is going to be much more receptive to your message when the message is relevant to content they are consuming. Compelling content that is relevant for the environment completes the one-two punch. The increase in native ad spend is a great illustration of this.

Attribution is a hot subject right now. How much can you know about how well your campaign is working, and what indicators are most useful to adjust a campaign to make it more effective?

Today, we have access to so much data; the challenge can be remaining focused on the right data points for the ‘thing’ we are looking to evaluate. At MediaCom, we are ‘Systems Thinkers,’ so this is precisely where we begin. By mapping out how the full system connects — paid, earned and owned media, brand metrics, site, sales — we can best understand how to construct our plans for the most effective holistic outcome. We identify the points of linkage between media and outcome, uncovering areas of leakage or opportunity, and establish the levers and leading KPIs [key performance indicators] that we can use to optimize our campaigns in-market.

What metrics that you don’t have would be most useful in devising strategies and planning campaigns?

I would love to see more intelligent qualitative data out there. Much of the behavioral data that exists today is survey or focus-group based. While this information is valuable, it is exciting to see more intelligent tools emerging that can either validate or uncover similar types of insights. For instance, leveraging digital and offline data via a DMP to uncover audience attributes or eye tracking technology to assess creative engagement are powerful tools that can be used to influence strategy and planning.

How do you allocate client money between traditional linear TV and newer advanced advertising techniques, including data-enabled targeting, programmatic buying, over-the-top and set-top on-demand?

The strongest plans will take multiple views into consideration. Top-down approaches like media mix models are valuable for guiding broad budget distribution across channels. A bottom-up approach, typically driven by multi-touch attribution, delivers more granular insights that can drive tactical allocations. However, it is important to ground this in the media nuances and realities of our intended audience. To provide a simple illustration, if our video (TV plus online video) demo is adults 18 to 49, we may want to have a higher OLV delivery in A18-34 over A35-49 to deliver a more consistent total video reach against our A18-49 audience.

To meet the other Top Planners & Strategists, read the full feature in Broadcasting & Cable.

MediaCom Social: The social media data you’re missing
MediaCom’s 5 Trends from Cannes 2018