By: Simulmedia

On March 13, David Cohen, Chief Media Officer of UM, sat down with Dave Morgan, Founder and CEO of Simulmedia, to discuss issues facing leaders in today’s advertising industry. Some highlights and takeaways:

What are some of the challenges at UM today and around your job as CMO?

David Cohen: At UM, we are taking the things we have learned over 18 years in digital and smartly applying them to other media forms. Things like the power of data, and the power of audience versus context; the idea that success is not that I wanted 100 rating points that week and 100 points ran. We are constantly having big agency conversations around what do we do, about integration of traditional into digital, and emerging tools like programmatic buying. And without any correct or incorrect answers, by the way. You have to take a leap of faith, and definitely not be ashamed to take chances because that’s how you learn – from your mistakes.

While clients definitely want an effective rate of return on our core planning and buying services, we are also looking at emerging opportunities such as:

– How to optimize all of our media that’s in market as close to real time as we possibly can?

– Should and how do we automate what we do?

– How does programmatic buying relate to TV?

One of our overriding beliefs is that the closer you are to businesses the more effective you’ll be. So we are trying to bring all the specialty agencies closer to the core. We have found that geographic proximity is important and nothing trumps a group of people that are collocated talking about client problems day in and day out. What we are trying to do is reduce the complexity since clients want a one-stop shop agency for all their needs.

How are you handicapping Facebook, Twitter, AOL, etc.?

What is indisputable when it comes to Facebook is scale and its use by consumers. Facebook is coming out with some products in the video space with tremendous targeting capabilities.

Twitter is building out, but they are on the 20 yard-line of a 100-yard field.

AOL is back in the game, sticking with their strategy, although they have a tendency to chase the shiny object of the moment. They have been pretty clear since the beginning about doubling down in local. Eventually they might change that, but it’s great that this repetitive story is getting traction.

How are you defining TV?

The line of demarcation between TV and digital is going to continue to erode. For the moment, the things you consume on that 55 inch box in your living room is what we view as TV.

How are you working with brands on original content?

We have experienced architects who are designed to create original customer experiences across a number of dimensions such as brand integration in TV or series episodic pieces. Custom, on average, delivers seven times the results of a regular spot. It takes a lot of TLC to deliver custom, so is it worth it? We can’t recreate the wheel every time, so we have to figure out a way of delivering them faster to market.

Mobile is the most underleveraged channel and location is the most underutilized aspect. Most decisions are made at the store shelf and the computer you have in your pocket is always there. How can we best exploit that?

Can you imagine negotiating your deals in this upfront based on some numbers that are not just Nielsen sex, age?

Absolutely, yes. We live in a world in digital where it is a clear impression and even now a viewable impression. In TV, we should be moving in the direction where better measurement means greater precision across all media. There are still barriers and a gap in measurement. If I were to put a single point on what is preventing us from doing what digital does online, it’s that we don’t have a good way of capturing that audience.