December 2, 2023

‘The entrepreneurs who’re standing out have invested in good information and good buyer insights,’ says Christine Saunders

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Like their companions within the Canadian information business, the nation’s media companies are present process unprecedented transformation. The Nationwide Publish is holding conversations with leaders of Canada’s largest companies on the fast-changing fundamentals and the place the enterprise goes subsequent. This week, Christine Saunders, the CEO of Starcom and CMO of Publicis Groupe, speaks to author Rebecca Harris.

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How have the basics of media planning and shopping for modified lately?

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We’re in the course of a little bit of a paradigm shift, if you’ll. The times when media, manufacturing and artistic operated in silos are gone. It’s now not enough to have this typical strategy of making a loopy media plan after which briefing the artistic guys to adapt some artistic to (totally different media) channels. I speak to purchasers in regards to the idea of ‘media plus.’ It is advisable to have artistic and media working collectively in manufacturing, and to have content material and messaging methods that make sense for the patron.

The opposite factor that’s modified — and what I really like has modified — is media shopping for was about value. We might cope with procurement (on the shopper facet) and it could be about ‘get to the bottom charges.’ There are nonetheless purchasers on the market like that — we flip one or two of them down yearly. We decline to work with them as a result of we’re within the enterprise of producing outcomes now. Sure, prices are part of that enterprise end result, but it surely’s about what are your core enterprise KPIs? Is it rising share? Is it rising income? Is it rising consciousness or consideration? These needs to be the KPIs, not the bottom value per thousand (impressions) you might get on this channel. That’s only a operate of a enterprise end result. So, our consumers are now not simply value negotiators, however they’re strategic companions with our purchasers.

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How are manufacturers attempting to seize client consideration?

Everyone seems to be attempting (to seize consideration). The eye economic system is the hardest a part of what we do proper now. I talked about how issues have modified, however the one factor that hasn’t modified is considering the patron and other people. One of many questions I all the time encourage our groups to ask is, ‘Will the patron care?’ We regularly create issues and messages and nice shiny concepts. And I have a look at it and say, ‘Nobody cares. Nobody goes to care. How have you ever talked to individuals about this?’ So, preserving the patron within the core of issues will assist seize that spotlight and be related. The entrepreneurs who’re standing out have invested in good information and good buyer insights. Nobody (launching a advertising marketing campaign) is aware of what the end result shall be. However when you’ve acquired good information and good client insights, you’ve acquired extra confidence going into {the marketplace}.

How is your company successful enterprise at this time versus the previous few years?

Shoppers are in search of companies who perceive customers and our tagline or place within the market is ‘transfer individuals, transfer enterprise.’ That’s all the time been Starcom; we’ve all the time been a human expertise firm. For those who perceive individuals, that’s the easiest way to maneuver enterprise. And the way we’re successful enterprise is exhibiting potential purchasers that we will transfer enterprise and we may also help them with enterprise… and stability short- and long-term outcomes.

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However (purchasers) are coming to Starcom for our individuals. We’ve spent years cultivating a tradition that individuals need to work at. (Starcom was named) one of many Greatest Locations to Work in Canada (in 2022). On the finish of the day, my product is my individuals, in order that’s one thing I spend a lot of my time fascinated by.

What are your ideas on Invoice C-18 and the tech giants’ resolution to dam information hyperlinks from their websites?

There’s been sufficient stated… Proper now, we’re in a conflict of clickbait titles headlines. I believe the federal government’s acquired some clickbait (and is) being very dramatic and I believe the media organizations are being fairly dramatic. (Simply) 5 per cent of Fb’s content material is definitely information articles or hyperlinks. It’s very small. It’s an issue. The invoice has been handed, although, and that’s what individuals aren’t speaking about — that it has acquired royal assent. So now we have now to get in a room and discuss tips on how to repair elements of it — the compensation a part of it.

How can the business take a management place on that?

Simply encouraging the events to come back along with the federal government and ensuring that there’s dialogue about preserving information hyperlinks on social media and discovering a good compensation bundle for the shops. After which it’s encouraging funding into native media, which we do. I believe all of the media companies are aligned.

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What are the largest challenges within the business at this time?

(One of many largest) continues to be expertise. That’s getting a bit higher, however during the last couple of years, it’s been powerful to get the correct expertise into our business. We’re doing numerous issues to assist that. We’re working with universities and faculties and even excessive faculties to speak about what this job is and getting individuals from numerous backgrounds… We are saying it’s not simply people who’re good negotiators who go into media shopping for. It’s about information analytics. It’s about finance. There are numerous totally different roles inside a media company now (together with) technique and artistic roles.

Are you able to share a prediction on what’s subsequent for the business or the place it’s headed?

My six-month prediction is extra digital and extra private is what’s taking place. Everybody’s speaking about AI…. but it surely’s about tips on how to use it creatively and tips on how to defend content material. Preserving a give attention to customers by no means goes out of fashion — that’s the principle factor. However extra digital, extra private is the forecast.

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