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This article was originally published by Infopresse and has been translated to English.

For Karine Courtemanche, President of OMG Montreal & Touché!PHD, media agencies are destined to become technology partners “because media efficiency is influenced by the quality of customer data.” She shares her reflections on a profession in the throes of change.

The media ecosystem has changed a lot in recent years. What is the biggest challenge today?

The art of media is to target the right people and create a memorable brand experience for consumers. Over the last decade, advertising targeting has evolved greatly thanks to digital cookies – small text files deposited on the hard disk of the user by the server of the visited site. Cookies allow a consumer to recognize and personalize the communication for each of them.

Today, Apple via its Safari browser prohibits the use of cookies. Almost 30% of digital traffic is no longer identifiable. And we predict that other players will continue to restrict access. A good thing for the respect of the personal data, but which poses a great advertising challenge: how to continue to deliver our promise of personalization in this new digital world that promises to be without cookies?

The most effective solution is to capitalize on primary data collected with the consent of consumers via email banks or data from a loyalty program, among others. They improve targeting ability in a world without cookies.

Technology, data … what is likely to transform your work the most in the next few years? How do you evolve your role as an agency? 

The more a media placement is anchored in data, the more results it delivers. This is why we are acting more and more as “technology consultants.” We have technology specialists who help our clients build an effective analytics infrastructure, enabling them to make informed media decisions.

This advisory role brings a new challenge: that of technological neutrality. Advertisers should demand that their media partners work effectively with all data management systems. Unfortunately, several media agencies are biased towards a single solution. It would be inconceivable that a media agency would systematically recommend only one radio station to all those customers. The media agency must apply the same neutrality in its technological recommendations as in its media recommendations.

What does an innovative campaign look like today?

In a complex technological world, simplicity has become innovative. The Digital Window Shopping campaign that Touché did for Sport Chek is a good example.

In the seven days leading up to Black Friday, we detected a new analytical trend – the increase in the average number of  items left behind in Sport Chek’s digital shopping baskets. Items were temporarily placed in baskets, while consumers were looking for similar options at competitors’ sites. We called this new trend “Digital Window Shopping.”

These abandoned items in the baskets were a fertile source of insights and these products became the “star products” of the Black Friday campaign. More than 1,000 “star products” have been promoted online and reached 30% of Canadian consumers in just a few hours.

A simple but innovative idea: use abandoned products in shopping carts as a creative inspiration and not as a simple retargeting tool .

How to define the era of measurability and convincing results?

Previously, we analyzed the performance of a media campaign within reach. Today, we try to demonstrate a positive return on investment for each campaign. Attribution models must be created and econometric research done that clearly shows the impact of each media on performance indicators (online sales, in-store sales or other). As a result, equities and stock performance are better coordinated.