Q&A: Lynn Fantom, chairman and CEO, ID Media

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Q&A: Lynn Fantom, chairman and CEO, ID Media
Q&A: Lynn Fantom, chairman and CEO, ID Media

ID Media's chairman and CEO, Lynn Fantom, explains how technology has both leveled and complicated the playing field

Q: What's the biggest change you've seen during your career?

A: The broad adoption by leading national advertisers of direct marketing principles – targeting, measurability and sustained contact between marketers and consumers.

Q: Does direct marketing play a consistent role across work from agencies like such as K2 Digital and ID Media?

A: The consistent theme is how technology has progressively enabled more and more meaningful connections between consumers and marketers. Yes, technology has yielded many new and compelling media channels to engage consumers, but technology has also given us much more effective ways to make those connections at the right price. I'm thinking of the impact of CRM, satellite-detection of pre-emptible DRTV, auction-based bidding, digital signal processings.

Q: Does technology's ubiquity level the playing field across agencies? 

A: Throughout my career we have always had technology that allowed us and the rest of industry to take things to the next level. It's an agency's job to be familiar and adroit with new tools. It's up to us to deploy them in the most sophisticated and insightful ways based client needs, and that makes a good agency.  

Q: What is the general attitude from global brands as far as direct? Do they embrace the measurability or shy away from the label for fear they'll be perceived as too traditional?

A: The world's best marketers embrace the principles of direct marketing – efficient audience delivery, optimization and accountability – but they don't all readily identify with the term itself. Misconceptions persist. Even some of the most sophisticated marketers identify it with certain media types or a direct distribution channel. Ironically, digital marketing practitioners in many ways have done a lot more to popularize direct marketing concepts than the direct marketing industry itself.

Q: Do digital marketers shy away from classic direct principles? 

A: I was pleased [DMA CEO] Larry Kimmel noted at the DMA show this year that digital marketers have done more to profitize direct marketing principles than direct marketers. However, flexibility is necessary and the classic formula may have to give way to new approaches. The traditional call to action may not be as effective as presenting a compelling proposition, such as in the Jay-Z “Decoded” campaign. If Droga5 had used tried and true phrases like ‘act now,' it may not have engaged the right audience as effectively.

Q: How engaging can even the most creative marketing be without an informed media buy? 

A: When it comes to campaigns and media buys, it should never be “either-or.” Great creative cannot do the job alone; an effective media plan cannot compensate for poor creative. The third key factor is the offer or reason to engage now. This, actually, is the most neglected element in campaigns today.

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