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Future of Media Is About Business Outcomes

Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan  |  Executive Chairman
Published: Oct. 09, 2014

Originally posted on MediaPost

All across the media business, folks are trying to figure out how to measure, value and synchronize media delivery across an ever-expanding multitude of platforms and devices. It's a daunting task for any marketer.

As complex as the media delivery system has become, the determination of its real value is not complicated. The overarching measurement principle that should drive the future of media is a lot simpler and more straightforward. It was summed up for me succinctly over breakfast recently with media legend Charlie Rutman, executive vice president and managing partner at Horizon Media: "The future of media will be about delivering business outcomes, not media outputs." From Rutman's perspective, media delivery measurements are fine, but only if they produce business results. He should know a lot about this. Prior to his time at Horizon, he served as the CEO of MPG, and before that was the president of Carat USA.

Our industry could spend its time trying to wrangle the collection and valuation of a massive number of different media output metrics -- like making sense of TV GRPs and print pages in the face of banner impressions, search queries, social likes and tweets. Or we can shift our energies from the media outputs, which are proxies, to their provable contributions to clients business outcomes. In fact, we as an industry must focus on the business outcomes sought by marketers, whether it is the generation of leads, driving traffic to stores, or sales of products. Here are some reasons why:

Outcomes are channel-agnostic (and usually interfaith). Media delivery metrics are by definition unique to each and every media channels. Outcomes aren't. Leads generated are leads generated. Sales are sales.

Outcomes are the only metrics that truly matter to the marketer (and their bosses and owners). CEOs and shareholders aren't kept up at night by low impression counts or bad viewability. But bad sales are bad for sleep -- and bonuses.

Outcomes shift power to marketers and media owners. In a media world defined by delivering provable business outcomes, the role of marketers and media owners as active participants in media transactions becomes more pronounced. Intermediate metrics like GRPs and total impressions don't matter much when ultimate metrics like cost per sale are in the mix.

This world demands extraordinary transparency between the media owner delivering customers and proving the financial value of a plan, and the marketer deciding to buy it. Fraud and hidden fees based on media volume don't have a place here.

Time to shift our focus away from delivering media outputs to delivering business outcomes? What do you think?