Applied Thinking: Agnosticism - Stuart Smith vice-president, client service, UK and Ireland, Mediaocean

Television consumption has changed dramatically in recent years due to the emergence of technology that allows consumers to watch whatever they want, wherever, whenever and however they want it. Now is the time for marketers to respond to this emerging screen agnosticism by rethinking their approach to TV advertising and meet the scalability needs of the changing media landscape.

Applied Thinking: Agnosticism - Stuart Smith vice-president, client service, UK and Ireland, Mediaocean

TV is still central to consumers' lives - with the average UK adult watching three hours and 52 minutes of TV per day - but this is TV as a concept rather than as a device. As well as watching traditional broadcast or linear TV on their living-room set, consumers can stream live TV to their smartphones, view TV on demand using their tablets, watch online video on their connected TVs, or any possible combination of these. In 2014, the average adult will spend three hours and 41 minutes a day consuming digital media through computers, tablets and mobile phones, much of which will be "watching TV".

Investment in TV advertising is still growing - and is expected to increase by 7.5 per cent this year. So how can marketers ensure that their TV strategies are aligned with the viewing habits of the modern consumer?

First, put consumers and content first. Marketers use terms such as digital media and traditional media, or linear TV and video, but consumers don't differentiate between these channels - TV is TV no matter how they watch it. For consumers, the content is the driver; the screen they watch it on is simply the most convenient window at that moment.

When marketers start planning by thinking about the consumer and their overall viewing experience, the channel or platform becomes irrelevant. Marketers can begin to use strategies that span multiple channels, such as TV ads with companion content on social media to provide a secondary narrative.

Second, collaborate across channels. To accommodate consumer viewing habits, the industry should be restructured to allow a holistic approach to TV advertising. Agencies are beginning this process with the introduction of media hubs and villages, and inter-departmental co-operation will ensure that teams speak each others' language rather than working in silos of device or channel, enabling a fully convergent workflow. TV and digital should no longer be viewed as competing channels, but rather as complementary elements of an overall strategy. Advertisers and agencies should work together to be a part of the consumer journey and understand the impact of each and every touchpoint.

Third, embrace automation. Automation in the form of programmatic advertising has been widely adopted by online advertisers, but it has been slow to take off in the more traditional world of TV. Increased automation will result in a more efficient TV advertising ecosystem, where ads can be delivered across all channels from a single point of creation. Automation provides buyers with the ability to set precise marketing goals and parameters that can be adjusted in real time to ensure their targets are met, regardless of channel or device. It will also provide marketers with greater access to performance data to help them understand the impact that one channel has on another.

TV advertising is thriving, but a more holistic approach is necessary to ensure campaigns are aligned with viewing habits. By putting content ahead of channel, by creating a convergent cross-channel workflow and by automating the ad-buying process across all channels and devices, marketers can become as screen-agnostic as the consumers they are trying to reach.


The thought that should keep marketing directors up at night is ... The consumer. Do I have the talent, knowledge and technology to enable me to reach existing and new customers and drive them to purchase?

The thought that actually does is ... Sales figures.

Great thinkers who have inspired me include ... Steve Jobs, with his disruptive and visionary approach. I never envisaged myself buying a mobile from a computer provider.

The idea that excites me the most (professionally) is ... Wearable technology and how it will impact/transform consumer behaviour.