Media: Double Standards - A rock 'n' roll business with plenty of feedback

The impact of digital is changing music media planning, ESP's Steve Chapman and MediaCom's Chris Binns say.

Lady Gaga: not shy of ad tie-ins
Lady Gaga: not shy of ad tie-ins

STEVE CHAPMAN - director, ESP-marketing

To what degree is a specialist knowledge of the music industry beneficial when planning media for a record label?

Some knowledge of the industry is more important than intimate knowledge of the music itself. Music campaigns have a rhythm of their own. In order to stay successful, you must retain profile: go too heavy, too quickly, and you've blown your budget; don't strike while it's hot and you're dropping out of the charts.

How much is it still about purely generating response/sales?

One hundred per cent. A band or artist has the music itself, live appearances and interviews with which to build a relationship with their market/fans. A good creative execution is important to the overall message purely because a poor one has potential to harm the brand. The fans aren't daft - ads aren't part of "the experience".

Marketing is there to connect the dots and make a sale - it works best when it does so discreetly and (most importantly) cost effectively.

How good are music companies generally at exploiting online and mobile media/marketing opportunities?

There's good and bad. The noise around new media means it's omnipresent and sometimes ill-considered. The web and mobile network offer the opportunity to package promotional material in a way that will make fans want to act as viral marketers for you. If you present them with something worthwhile, they will want to stay engaged. You can talk with them for as long as you need to for free. However, shouting a commercial message from a web ad can be counter-productive; it's a personal space and a brand you want to trust doesn't do itself any favours by interrupting you.

How has media planning around music grown more sophisticated in recent years?

The need for sophistication is greater than ever but old habits die hard and the industry is suffering from not changing fast enough. TV represents 78 per cent of spend but possibly only 25 per cent of the energy spent planning. While attention is diverted towards new media offerings, digital TV is generally added as a last-minute wholesale buy to cheapen a campaign.

The stability and maturity of the TV market and the fuss made about the net meant that some blinked and missed the revolution in viewing that's happened over the past six years. Digital TV isn't sexy for some reason. It doesn't earn you brownie points for planning, despite accounting for more than 52 per cent of commercial impacts over the past 12 months. It requires more work from the agency in an era when everyone is being squeezed to cut corners, but the lack of premium attached to offerings with "big idea" status means a huge cost advantage to music as a low-return category.

What's the most innovative activity you've developed for a record label recently?

Our award-winning, low-cost, high-reach, "intelligent road-blocking" strategy for Rhino.

Or our Brits plan. It was the first Brits album not to spend most of the budget buying a spot around the Brits, and very quickly became the best-selling Brits album to date.

What's the most exciting aspect of working for a music industry client(s)?

It's the one area of media where the results of your work are immediate, tangible and in the public domain.

CHRIS BINNS - managing partner, MediaCom

To what degree is a specialist knowledge of the music industry beneficial when planning media for a record label?

Specialism may be useful but too narrow a specialism means people end up recycling exactly the same things over and over again and expecting the same result (someone's definition of madness I believe?). Ultimately, this is all about selling more product to more people for less outlay. In that context, understanding a fan's journey to buying an artist's record is absolutely key. Does that require specialist knowledge on the agency side? No.

Is it important that you have brilliant, energetic people dedicated to this cause? Yes.

How much is it still about purely generating response/sales?

It's all about sales - always has been, always will be. But there are two views on sales - the short-term chart this week and the longer-term career development of an artist. In the short term the key is properly understanding the cost per unit sale drivers - airplay is key; TV appearances are key; social media footprints are key (just look at someone like Justin Bieber); pricing influences visibility and sales; distribution partnerships are key. Media is simply one of the levers that there is to pull, an important one, but not the only one. Integration of all these levers is fundamental to a record's success.

How good are music companies generally at exploiting online and mobile media/marketing opportunities?

Getting much better.

We are moving into direct to consumer sales with some products - a move Facebook's Paypal and loyalty developments will help fuel; we are moving to a social world in which Justin Bieber has hundreds of screaming fans outside Universal's offices before he has ever been played on the radio in the UK (and can subsequently be kept in the charts for the last 23 weeks) with a mix of exposure that is rooted in digital bought, owned and earned media - digital being 20 per cent of expenditure but probably more than 50 per cent of exposure - and supercharged with relevant TV.

How has media planning around music grown more sophisticated in recent years?

I wouldn't really know not having been schooled in it - it seems like it has been and largely still is stuck in a world of recycling what it knows. Universal Music is certainly embracing the unknown, testing, learning and moving on ... but I think sophistication needs to be more than just an iPhone or iPad app. It's about who you talk to, how you are going to convince them to buy the record and how you then keep them coming back - the music industry could do worse than look at Sky's customer model.

What's the most innovative activity you've developed for a record label recently?

We're looking at some interesting social commerce opportunities right now. It's an evolving space but one we think is especially important, where the label has a 360-degree deal - you can start to plan for ARPU (average revenue per user) rather than just record sales.

What's the most exciting aspect of working for a music industry client(s)?

It's a different challenge on every artist with every record every week - proper in-the-moment agile planning ... this kind of business reactivity is the future of what we do.

It's a different challenge on every artist with every record every week - proper in the moment agile planning ... this kind of business reactivity is the future of what we do, some FMCGs just don't know it yet ...

You have

[DAYS_LEFT] Days left

of your free trial

Subscribe now

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now
Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).