At our recent Quantcast NOVA event, ‘Simply Smarter Connections,’ we highlighted the connections being forged within the constantly evolving digital advertising ecosystem, as the industry prepares for the future. I was honored to host the session, “The Advertising Triangle,” on the benefits of having a trilateral relationship with an agency, brand, and vendor that adds value to all parties.
I was joined by Kevin Fernandes, Head of Products for Havas Media Australia, and Nikolas Souliotis, Digital Marketing Manager for Kia, to discuss their unique, collaborative approach to advertising. We focused in particular on how Havas, as an agency, connects their clients like Kia with their technology partners like Quantcast, creating a synergy that promotes mutually beneficial outcomes. Our conversation reveals why a direct relationship among all parties–the marketer, the agency, and the technology partner–allows us to communicate effectively, strategize collaboratively and problem solve efficiently as a team, while also leading to better results.
We often see media agencies holding their clients really close to their chest, usually keeping their clients and tech partners at arm’s length, and more often than not, they are the gatekeepers to these relationships. Kevin, what is Havas’s approach and how does it differ from some of the other agency models that we see?
Kevin: At Havas, we truly believe that the consumer’s the heart of everything. Having this mindset extended to the partners that we work with is fundamental for us in establishing a successful partnership. We are futuristic in our approach towards meaningful media: we try to help define the role of these platforms, like Quantcast, [in a way] that actually plays to the overall customer-decision framework. The way we look at our relationship with Quantcast is beyond just a pure extension of our media delivery. We work with them right at the start–helping to find a strategy and getting the definition of our target audience, which is using and leveraging their data insights. And that is complementary to the additional internal tools that we’ve got at the agency as well.
Niko, over the past five years in your time working at Kia, how beneficial has it been for you to have direct relationships with vendors like Quantcast? Is this an approach you take across your business, and how has having these relationships directly helped you to solve business challenges?
Nikolas: Just like Kevin, I’m a big believer in partnerships. I feel everyone who is willing and able to collaborate with us has value to bring to the table. The work that we often do requires complex second[-party] data. So keeping up requires expertise and a new way of rethinking the traditional brand-agency relationship. Similar to the concept of supply chain optimization, closer relationships between all parties and a collaborative approach unlocks new sources of value and even helps supply chains become more resilient. Our work with Havas and Quantcast, creating a three-way partnership, has shown that it does move the needle; it brings a new energy, a new dynamic to the team. It can reduce waste and rework and redundant effort; it allows us to focus on both short- and long-term strategy and even increase agility because accountability is better shared. It is my responsibility, as a brand, to remove guesswork and provide directions. I’m closer to the product, the customer, our vision, and how the different moving parts can come together. And then Havas and Kevin’s team work on translating our needs into a strategy and a plan of attack. Now marry that with the tools, bespoke solutions, and insights from Quantcast, and we can make happily ever after happen.
I’m happy to hear that, with Havas’s support, vendors like ourselves have been able to add value to your team and your business in helping navigate the complexities within the digital marketing and ad tech industry. For us, having a direct relationship with you has really helped the Quantcast team better understand your business challenges and pain points, so we can create custom solutions tailored to your needs. Niko, how has the direct line of communication with ourselves at Quantcast–along with the support of Kevin and the Havas team–helped address your specific needs and deliver results?
Nikolas: One of the things that we’ve been able to do with Quantcast, as part of our latest work with Havas, is to better understand an audience that hasn’t been defined yet, at least in Australia. While the EV [electrical vehicle] market is slowly growing, the current buyer or audience size doesn’t represent the growth opportunity within the category. So segmentation and personalization… good luck with that! It’s going to be very difficult if you don’t understand your consumer. With the right tools, Quantcast is allowing us to get audience insights in real time that don’t exist anywhere else. And these are not just audiences to report against them. We’re actually using the insights to inform creative strategy and activate campaigns. To an extent, it’s closing the loop on insights and actioning. I think that’s such a powerful tool–definitely a point of difference.
Kevin: It’s about future-proofing electric vehicles. That’s the new offering that Kia has in-market. But we’re making sure that we’ve got that data right at the start so that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. When it actually launches, these insights can be used as leverage for us on an always-on campaign.
Finally, what advice would you give to others? Kevin, to those in roles similar to yours within a media agency, why would you encourage connecting your clients with advertising partners directly?
Kevin: Leave it simple–let the experts do the job. They’re there for a reason; let’s use them for a reason. But I think it’s more important to understand the ‘why’ before you jump into making them part of your media plan. That’s the important question that I’d encourage people in my position to ask when they work with vendors like Quantcast, as we know as an agency that digital and data are going to be centered towards the whole customer journey.
Niko, what advice or guidance would you give to marketers who might want to explore working closer with some of the advertising vendors that feature on their media plans?
Nikolas: The way I see it, for anyone seeking to improve their performance, a three-way partnership isn’t simply a nice thing to have. Brands and agencies that know how to tap into this direction will be in a better position to improve ROI. Full stop. I’d recommend starting by identifying those platforms that offer joint opportunities, and then align to define objectives and a clear roadmap at the same time. Kevin and I know that building trust takes time and effort. So this might mean starting small [with] simple projects that can deliver results [and] help you build momentum. Last, it does require a more active and engaged working relationship across all parties; you need to have regular and ongoing dialogue that goes beyond monthly or even quarterly reviews.
Simply Smarter Connections
My key takeaway is that collaboration is essential between agencies, clients, and technology vendors if we are to truly create better outcomes.