Media strategists don’t have it easy. This strange undertaking that’s part art, part science means taking control of a client’s budget and putting it in exactly the right place.

And when it comes to digital – the choices are endless. The rise in digital consumer touchpoints has raised the bar for media buyers and planners. 

So how do you decide where the money goes? 

We spoke with Kelsey Schneider, Media Director at marketing and advertising agency, Greenhaus, to find out how they put the science into media buying, and what it really takes to be customer-first.

“Ideas need justification, with good data.”

Kelsey oversees all media planning and buying at Greenhaus, where the work is collaborative and campaigns can span experiential, traditional, digital, or all three. 

For twenty-three years, Greenhaus has been busy carving a name for itself as an agency built for real estate, travel and tourism sectors. 

In her line of work, Kelsey says she’s used to every step (that’s the strategy, buying, executing and management of paid media campaigns) being looked at under a strong lens. 

“When it comes to budget and the way it’s being spent, it’s always all about the rationale,” she says. “Not only do we need to provide justification around our recommendations to clients, they typically have stakeholders they have to answer to as well.“

One of the biggest challenges Greenhaus faces is making sure they have the right data to back themselves up, steering their clients in the right direction. This ensures what’s presented to clients isn’t just opinion, but a creative solution, sealed in robust research.

 It’s a balancing act Kelsey describes as: “the part-art,-part-science of knowing how to effectively reach an audience and drive brand goals.”

“Using deep consumer insight to emphasize and show why we’re telling clients to spend specific dollars in specific places is essential. It sets us apart. We wouldn’t be as valuable to our clients without it.” 

For Greenhaus, being ‘valuable’ and remaining sought after as an agency means understanding anything and everything there is to know about consumer insights and peoples’ media consumption habits.

It’s not only about what different audiences consume- TV, radio, the internet, for example – but also about how they’re consuming it, and why

Take consumers who watch more digital TV compared to linear broadcast television: 

  • Why is this their preference? 
  • What connected TV apps are they watching? 
  • And their social media habits – are they using social for second-screening purposes? 
  • If their social media usage is heavy, what platforms are they most active on? 
  • What are they using their preferred platforms for? 

“I could keep going”, Kelsey says. 

“But with GlobalWebIndex data, once you start questioning you don’t have to stop. You’ll arrive at what you’re hoping to find, and that’s a 360-degree view.”

“For better outcomes, you need to fine-tune your thinking.”

While insight like this underpins their media planning efforts, Greenhaus also consults the data at times when there are gaps to be filled in. 

What gaps? Kelsey says a client might come in with an idea of who their audience is or who they want to target, but it’s too vague to be actionable. 

“What’s been the challenge lately, is clients coming to us with a planning requirement, but the targeting parameters are not fully baked yet. There’s information they don’t yet know themselves, and they need our insight.” 

“While there’s debate on what a perfect brief should include, we sometimes start with very little of the specifics needed to put together a successful media recommendation”, Kelsey, explains. “So we jump on the GlobalWebIndex platform and go from there.”

“For example, we use this data to learn more about the markets we know of and are aware of, but we also use it to identify what other markets should be included in our media plans.” 

Increasingly, as Greenhaus becomes even more entrenched in the tourism and travel space, they’re having to analyze and compare clusters of markets.

Recently, they analyzed the composition and mindset of affluent travelers across a long list of markets, and whittled these down to priority markets.

They were able to determine the potential universe of available luxury travelers living in specific markets in order to develop a target market list to drive interest for an affluent travel destination.

And with a Sojern survey revealing two-thirds of marketers working in the travel sector are looking to increase their digital advertising spend, the opportunities to do great work and achieve even better outcomes are there. 

Kelsey says,

“From a global perspective, the breadth of this data is really helpful. But for our purposes it’s also about the depth.” 

“At the moment, for one of our tourism clients, there are five to ten markets we’re tracking that are typically spread throughout the West Coast of the United States. The ease of being able to see that information in a way where we can build out audiences from a geographical standpoint, has been really instrumental for us.” 

“If your data doesn’t move at the speed of the market, don’t use it.” 

Being able to identify trends in a timely manner is another crucial factor when it comes to success, says Kelsey. “The other research tools we were using weren’t as up to date and we needed them to be. Our clients needed them to be.” 

Kelsey continues:

“The research piece is the first part of our planning process and through it, our best ideas are born. So if we look at what old data tells us, we’re not off to the best start.”

“For us, it’s a great feeling if we need to address a specific ask and we realize the platform can help us solve it. We’ve also got other folks in the agency on board with it as well (even if consumer analysis isn’t the main part of what they’re here to do).

The way it functions isn’t intimidating at all and our teams use it to help drive creative and messaging insight.” 

When Greenahaus first discovered GlobalWebIndex, it was the expanse of data on emerging technologies in the media space that drew them in. “For example, it tracks things like the latest connected TV apps, not just the big players like Hulu, consistently adding newcomers, such as TikTok in the social space,” says Kelsey.

That information feeds into media plans that help clients get the best possible ROI.  

“With deeper insight, clients respect you more.” 

The creative and the execution always matter, but clients are increasingly basing their decisions on consumer truths because:

  • They form the ‘science’ behind any good idea.
  • They allow you to pinpoint and target consumers with precision.
  • They’re the ultimate strategic guiding element. You need to know where your audience is and why they are the way they are to ensure return on investment.

Kelsey says new clients always want to hear about the research-oriented aspect of their work.

And because it’s what more and more clients have come to expect, Greenhaus will continue leveraging their insights-first approach to set themselves apart.

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