Principal, Marketing Consultant at Prance Consulting Group
Website Address: prance.consulting
Each week on “Programmatic Champions,” our host Cristin Combs talks to media experts across the country. This week she sits down with Jason Prance from Prance Consulting Group.
Prance Consulting Group provides digital marketing strategy, intelligence, experimentation, and activation for brands and marketers who seek to get better together.
Creative is not as important as it used to be to our efforts these days. Some would argue the other side of that and say you’re wrong, it’s all about the creative. Talk to me a little bit about that and where your shift is in seeing that maybe that’s not as heavy lifting as it used to be.
Yeah. That’s a great start. It depends what platform you’re working with in a lot of ways and what stage of the journey. I work with one client now where we’re able to push through a lot of testing and a lot of key experimentation going on that’s informing creative for much larger scale campaigns. So I think when we’re talking about that, I was thinking about that in context of we can spin off and run through the Google stack, GDN, and Google Discovery Ads. Using responsive display, you can really spit out a lot of different variations of creative, creative messaging, different targeting, paired with that creative, to really inexpensively figure out very quickly what messaging works with which audiences. And so a lot of times, I find myself in situations with clients where I might be partnering with a couple of different agencies or a couple different groups to try to bring that all together. And that’s what I try to do. I usually play the strategist type of role. And so it’s not just necessarily on the media planning or buying side; it’s more about pulling all the channels together and learning exactly how to talk to that customer and how to drive them to the right destination on wherever we’re trying to take.
If we’re not telling our story correctly, data driven, that whole thing, again, do you have an interesting take on what that means or how it is important to you and your strategy?
To react to what you said, creative is king in context only. So if you’re intercepting or interrupting somebody while they’re swiping or they’re just scrolling through things, I do sometimes think we might overplay the creative a little bit. Let’s be humble and say we’ve only got a few minutes and you’re gonna probably miss it a few times. That’s fine. I tend to put more of the investment of the project in towards the destination and the payoff as much as possible and then go rapidly testing into how to get them there across multiple channels as quickly as possible. So experimentation really helps. Some of my other favorite projects going on right now that I’m really excited about is personalization. So working with DNS systems or even free systems like Google Optimize and being able to tailor the message. Creative is great, but there are other things that we can be doing honestly that I think the user sometimes would appreciate to try to at least get them to the destination. And when you do, the path better be good. And that’s where really, I think, creative comes in handy. A really good, solid strategy paired with something that comes across as extremely valuable to the user, hopefully a surprise on the ride.
I know in my previous consulting, there were times I had to part ways to be more P.C. or fire a client. What do you think? I just kind of wanted to get your take on that scenario.
Yeah, absolutely. Well I’ll start with the client side as far as firing clients. It’s tough. It really is tough. But you know what though, nothing gets you, in your group or your agency, more camaraderie and respect from your team as a leader than be able to say no to money when a client is being abusive sometimes to a team. I have seen that over time. I even had a client even ask me to meet him in a parking lot one time on a phone call. And it just really went south bad. I never in my life imagined finding myself in that position, but the leadership team at that time, we came together and quickly made the decision: we just need to find this client another agency. The team was just not doing well, and I’m worried that we’re going to lose good people. So after making that decision to fire that client, and we did that with other situations as well in the past, it’s tough. But it really comes back. And one client that we had to let go, one of my favorite stories, that main point of contact went to another brand and immediately hired us. And talk about the best validation you could possibly receive. We felt like we made the right decision. It was a situation that was just out of our control, and we didn’t want to tarnish our reputation or hurt our employees.
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