Tag Archives: Marco Bertozzi

Call centre ineptitude from RAC and AA negates good advertising

For many years I have sat opposite brand managers asking us to deliver more sales, conversions and the ‘right kind of customer’. This was often in the face of poor offers in market from those same Brand managers. The privilege of being the client, when asked how competitive a product is for say insurance or mortgages, the answer being, very uncompetitive, but don’t let that stop you. This is daily life for many agency performance planners in the business and is what makes performance remuneration so tricky.

But lets say the offer is good, lets say the creative is great, acquisition is still difficult and customers are hard won. So I want to understand why businesses allow thousands of call centre people to allow potential customers walk with no attempt to keep them or common sense.

I want to talk about my experience with break down cover. Three players in this space. RAC, AA and Green Flag. It is a battle royal and I have worked with two of those three so know how difficult it is to keep up acquisition at a good cost.

So this weekend my son got in my car and turned on the radio and left it like that for 24hours so that the battery became dead, dead, dead. So dead I could not even get under the bonnet to charge the battery(electric switch). So I call the RAC who I have been a customer with for around 7 years. It turns out that my cover did not auto renew because my debit card had changed at the same time I moved home and my address was not updated. This actually is a side issue but they had my number – no text or message to alert me?

Instead the lovely lady on the phone tells me I can renew but I have a surcharge based on my ‘usage’ last year ie called them twice AND a £70 extra charge for sending someone out at the same time. So I said ‘thank you RAC, its been good but you are now losing a customer.’ Again a side issue but there was no attempt to keep me, no discussion, no sweetener, just a ‘OK thanks.’ What a shame. How much media to now replace me?

So I go online to AA and start to book with them, all going well until I click the button ‘are you in a breakdown situation?’ The AA then add £130 pounds to the booking. Angry but in need of support I call the AA to proudly tell them I am leaving the RAC after all these years and I am ready to book for a year upfront for two people, £150 of cover and could they see clear to not adding the charge. No chance. In fact the guy sounded like he enjoyed saying no. And here lies the issue. Their rules suggest that I become a bad customer if I claim the minute I join, but what about if I stay for 7 years, and I would, that’s a minimum 1000 pounds they lost and the opportunity to cross sell, to try and gain £130. It is crazy.

The banks will negotiate overdraft fees, the insurance companies offer discounts but clearly that has not reached the breakdown companies. Worst still is the complete and obvious lack of flexibility, training and initiative that the bosses provide for call centre workers.

Well RAC and AA. I managed to get the bonnet open, and charged the car and now I am going to book with Green Flag and all for £70. Don’t come asking your planner to increase sales when your call centres and commercial practises are so flawed.

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Putting the RTB in B2B

Since 2000 when I started to work in digital there has been a constant learning curve for agencies, advertisers and publishers alike. The fantastic part of working in digital but also the greatest challenge is that it rarely sits still for long, leaving people constantly chasing the next level of knowledge. If I look back over the last thirteen years there have been some key milestones. First we got this whole thing off the ground around 2000 in a real manner. We then saw the rise of Search as a real revolution of the digital business. The dot com crash and overall stagnation saw little innovation until Youtube, social media start up around the middle of the decade. Just as everyone was comfortable along came Real time bidding and exchanges.

Each sector of our business has responded differently to each of the challenges and seen different challenges and opportunities. In the last 12 months I have been asked to talk at a couple of B2B events on the subject of RTB, it is a business that was traditional in nature and could understand digital from a search and targeting perspective, mainly because they could replicate the very industry specific offline approach online. Many websites, content specific and so on. The trouble is RTB is not about the content. It can be part of the equation, but it is not the driving force. The driving force is Audience and reaching that audience.

At first that felt wrong to people but actually I have had many conversations over the years where we wanted to target small business owners or IT professionals and the conclusion was that these professionals ‘were just people’ and we should target them not just in work specific environments but also in their spare time, catching them where you would expect them to be. How many campaigns run on Golf sites in the hope of attracting C-level execs?

At the heart of the issue is that, how do you target very specific audiences without being in very specific content. Reaching the investment community, IT hardware budget holders, small businesses, you name it. Well RTB has some answers and the marketeers of B2B and Publishers alike need to start testing and creating their own very bespoke audiences. The data is there, as an advertiser you have visitor data, registered user data, you have data from your social presence and more. Publishers collect information all the time and there is even more they can do as sophistication increases. Planning is not what it used to be, planning starts by creating profiles and target segments using your data, publisher data and third party data. Start to create and test, RTB allows you to switch on and off in an instant and so the opportunity to learn is immense.

I sometimes have this impression that people still see RTB as the remnant of the industry on long tail sites. This is a misconception so I advise a marketeer to go an investigate. The world’s leading content is now in the exchange ecosystem, whether through private marketplaces or public. If the FT, Guardian, Telegraph most IT sites all see opportunity then the marketeer should also. The technology and the data can now be applied intelligently to all this premium inventory and combine that with intelligent use of dynamic creative and you have a powerful opportunity. And after all of those benefits you can apply the macro benefits of RTB – you dont buy upfront, you buy what you need to buy, one impression at a time. You can frequency cap, single reporting and achieve transparency of what you are buying. These are vital in the new digital ecosystem marketeers should be demanding this as standard.

I often spend time explaining to advertisers that we have changed our agency model, the publishers have adapted or are in the process of adapting to this revolution in digital, but many times we dont challenge the advertiser to change. That would be my core message here, dont do what you have always done, you should change and if you agency partner is not challenging you to do that then you have the wrong agency.

Adweek – Trading in Real Time Panel – VivaKi, Xaxis, Amnet, Cadreon

The only session in Adweek Europe event on the future of trading and Data driven display. We even talk transparency. It’s longish but if you like this stuff!

A great turn out for the event and we coved Programmatic premium, the future of the agency role, transparency and some interesting word association.

CES My overview: Content and technology at odds when it comes to mobility

CES never ceases to astound, not least because the sheer scale is incredible. Over 150,000 people gathered this year to see the onslaught of new gadgets and software, with over 20,000 new products being launched. However this year I was less surprised by the products being launched.

Yes there were bigger TVs, thinner TVs, TVs with the most incredible picture quality, more tablets, more phones, more games and even fridges that talk to you. Loads of great stuff. But not loads of surprises. The focus as far as I could see was in making all of these things talk, connect and share with each other.

It struck me at CES just how much technology enables a seamless, frictionless ecosystem for us and our consumption of content. There were some fascinating examples on the show floor that all point to the consumer being able to do exactly what they want to do, when they want to do it. I can guarantee that our children will be demanding a completely open proposition when it comes to media consumption. They will want and expect it in a non- linear fashion as well.

A prime example of this was DISH, who is trying everything to help us do that. First they allow the recording of every primetime network channel automatically on to your set top box and then they have enabled the transfer of this content to your iPad for later viewing on the go. A brilliant idea which fully utilises the tablet / PC and TV.

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Intel and Comcast are working to make sure that the average home can have a number of different devices wired up so individuals can watch and do whatever they like in whatever room of the house they are in. This allows the consumer a seamless movement of viewing / playing around the house.

And with Intel’s Microsoft Windows 8 laptop come tablet devices users can play with based on their mood – laptop for work, tablet for play. There is no one device that has come to the fore here and I am sure the best route will take a while to play out, but it will.

Samsung’s interactive TV’s continue to delight with the ability to talk with friends via Twitter, Skype etc… and indeed there are now competitors challenging the idea that adding these interactive services does not need to push up the price tag so considerably. Hisense is democratising these services and has entered the market with an affordable Smart TV for everyone.

Interestingly, the superstores in the US are also trying to push this out of the preserve of the lucky few. Both Walmart and Bestbuy will now only sell Smart TV’s, trying to drive further adoption of these ever connected devices. Intrinsic to growth in the connected TV area (there are 35 million connected TV devices in the US) is just that, getting them connected.

The Wi-fi revolution has meant that it is now so easy to connect a new device and adoption rates are high in the Smart TV market. All of this means we are very quickly going to arrive at a world where the lines between your TV and mobile devices are seamless.

This is being accelerated by a need to can the wires, a greater desire for social TV and a realisation that the TV can be a great central hub for all content wherever it comes from, and indeed can be the starting point for finding content and sending it outwards. In addition, on demand services and social apps also mean that people will be looking for Smart TV’s as a matter of course. Driving further adoption.

The key issue, however, is that the devices are seamless but the content is not. Broadcasters in particular are trying to manage a market that is shifting rapidly around them. In my home where I don’t have an aerial and the digital aerial does not work I turn to Apple TV. Apple TV is great for streaming to the TV, but who are the people that won’t let you do it – C4, ITV, Sky etc. How limited and short sighted are they? What are the alternatives? I don’t watch their programmes, or I do?

My Samsung TV has no 4oD, the result is I don’t watch this channel as much as I would. Comcast in the US is not letting people stream programming from the likes of HBO Go, it is being artificially restricted. This strangulation by these broadcasters needs to adjust and fast as viewers will not put up with it for much longer.

One huge irritation I have is the fact that Sky won’t let me have unlimited devices to watch SkyGo on – we live in a world where people often have an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod and perhaps even a Nexus 7 – I want to watch SkyGo anywhere I want,  at any time – that drives loyalty.

How technology will impact advertising

So, we have a seamless technology ecosystem developing, let’s look on the bright side and suggest that broadcasters do give up their old school methods and let us all do what we want. There will be two implications for the advertising business. The first is that measurement of viewership will become an impossible task without some improvement in the technology tracking it – a big ask. And that leads neatly to the second – addressable TV advertising.

DISH is currently piloting zipcode targeting – basically they download ads to the set top box and then fire them to the appropriate household and hopefully in time, person. How can they do that? Well, if a household is governed by a central console like a Comcast box, then we could be in a position to more easily identify who is watching what content and serve them relevant advertising.

Simulmedia recently released numbers that suggest that as much as 75% of TV ad impressions are reaching just 20% of their target audiences. If this data becomes verified, advertisers will be looking to alternatives and addressability will be paramount.

So, after a few days in Vegas we did not see a great deal of change, more a rapid progression of technology that was present last year – more tablets, more Smart TV’s, interchangeable laptops and tablets, sharing technology, social technology. As a result our industry also needs to rapidly progress. The consequences for the media will be far reaching and affect all of us.

Marco Bertozzi is executive managing director of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi

My 2012. Perpetual motion.

Perpetual motion in more ways than one. Change is the only certainty in life and we certainly experienced it this year. Travel wise it was the year of going to the US, Palo Alto, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles. But let’s not forget the best that Europe has to offer with Madrid, Moscow, Milan, Cannes and Monte Carlo, Paris x 10, Amsterdam, Prague and on it goes. It is something I love to do and simply the best way of getting to know the network but can also take its toll.

I got a new boss this year and said goodbye to my first VivaKi boss in the form of Curt Hecht who left to join The Weather Channel. Curt was an entirely new kind of leader to those I have had in the past. He inspired me to look at our media world differently, he was himself in perpetual motion and seemed to never run out of energy for this business of ours. He pushed me, supported me and at times put a few European noses out of joint on his visits, importantly he taught me that travel, events, meeting bright people is worth something, it makes you more worldly, and helps you form a different view to those who listen to only those around them. Curt will and I know already is doing a great job. Enter stage left Kurt Unkel. Old Curt, new Kurt as they were for many months!

Thanks in part to all this change I was invited to Paris, Publicis Groupe HQ to meet Maurice Levy for a brief one to one. It was the very pinnacle of my career, if you would have told me as a TV buyer in 96 that I would get to meet Maurice I would have laughed – in fact I would probably have not known who he was! It’s funny how some of my external colleagues in the likes of Google meet him all the time (relatively) and yet it is so hard as a part of his organisation, but anyway, it was a privilege.

New Kurt as my boss can’t receive too many positive comments here for fear of brown nosing abuse, but suffice to say that he is a good guy, smart and looking forward to working with him in 2013. It’s been a crazy work year so much growth and development, part of a team of people now overseeing the new VivaKi proposition I am expecting no let up in 2013. But 2012 has seen us grow to 11 markets live with Audience On Demand in EMEA, the latest being Russia in December. We have worked tirelessly to create this EMEA wide expertise so that our advertisers can have a genuine centre of excellence wherever they are, it has been down to a lot of hard work from the VNC leaders across Europe – particularly Bea, Lothar, JB, Sara, Danny, Geoff as well as Becky for getting me around!

I reduced the sitting on Exchangewire panels of 2011 in 2012 and did some interesting and varied panels and presentations. I presented a digital overview at the IAA earlier in the year. A session at the FT around B2B comms and the future developments. A fantastic panel at Monaco Media Forum with Brian from Digiday – you can see that here. and have actually written more solid content for media publications. My first one of those was a sum up of CES and the impact of connected TVs..it’s long but if you want it – click here.

As usual I got into the odd scrape, although a lot less. My blog on the Dataxu purchase of Mexad called ‘Mathmen just turned back into Madmen’ went down well with some and less well with others. Siding with the Google view of ‘a frictionless Web‘ also brought a few a google haters out but as we showed in December with the World first search retargeting campaign, it was a great development.

Google Zeitgeist, Client Advisory Board in California, Monaco Media Forum, Cannes, CES – all great locations and events and yes you can and do have a lot of fun but at the same time, I have learned so much from so many bright people through these events, it is a very fortunate and a not to be taken for granted opportunity. The pace of change right now is break neck and these events help us stay in touch or at least try to.

Just as you think you are in a groove enter VivaKi 2.0. New structures, new propositions, all change again, but it is exciting and nerve racking at the same time, 2013 starts very quickly when we are back and I have a feeling won’t stop until that last working day of 2013. The team I work with and for is an incredible bunch, so bloody bright and enthusiastic. If anyone can create and steer change it is them and that gives you a lot of confidence. The guys I sit with right now in London have all worked their skins off and done a great job, it is these guys that make it happen and I look forward to a new year with them all.

Perpetual motion, managed by my awesome PA Becky has been mainly work focused but just to add a bit more into the mix we moved to Beaconsfield from Balham in May, another life change for us, one we have enjoyed thoroughly, not least it allowed me to buy that Yamaha T-Max 500 scooter I had been coveting! I grew up in the country and so I return (sort of). Sad to say one advantage is being near Heathrow!

The last icing on the cake came with being asked into Campaign A-list in December and judging Media Week Awards both for the first time (late developer!) but one question I was asked was ‘how have the last 12 months been for you?’ My answer was that they have been the best of my entire career. I am so pleased that after 16 years of work I have been given the opportunity to say that and I will be working doubly hard next year to make sure I can say it again this time next year.

Thanks to everyone in my team, to friends and colleagues and to all those companies we work with, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

It’s late. Good night and HNY.

VivaKi and Audience On Demand take first mover advantage on Google’s DDM

The thing that most inspires me in this role is the constant ability to innovate ourselves, as well as work with leaders in the technology space. As of this quarter, VivaKi and the Audience On Demand team in London are paving the way and entering a new era of activating search advertising data in the display ecosystem intelligently. Below find our internal release.

 

A collaboration between VivaKi and Google sees a global first for the organizations – the launch of a remarketing from search ads campaign. Audience On Demand (AOD), the market-leading addressable media buying practice for VivaKi, leveraged Google’s integrated technology suite to deliver a display remarketing campaign optimised around traffic on search ads on behalf of their client, a leading automotive services provider.

 

“As the leader and one of the first entrants in the RTB marketplace we work tirelessly to ensure our clients benefit from first-mover opportunities” says Marco Bertozzi, Executive Managing Director for the VivaKi Nerve Center. He continues: “Since launching AOD we have worked closely with Invite [now DoubleClick Bid Manager] as our primary partner and it has been an incredible mutual growth story. We saw back in 2010 the amazing opportunities for AOD and our clients in the Google product development roadmap and display remarketing from search advertising was absolutely top of the list.”

 

This feature enables the use of search ad clicks as a signal in optimising client’s display campaigns, re-engaging consumers with display ads across billions of ad impressions available on global ad exchanges. The integration between DoubleClick Bid Manager and DoubleClick Search 3 provides the ability to split referring keywords into specific groups based around different levels of interest and exercise bid strategies appropriately, re-igniting the potential of clicks that did not deliver an outcome in the first instance. This maximises the efficiency of search investment and boosts the performance of display campaigns.

 

Geoff Smith, Head of Activation for AOD comments: “This technology allows us to identify and differentiate consumers with greater intent to purchase, depending on their behavior with search ads. This granular insight allows us to alter our bid strategy accordingly, thereby maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall campaign.”

 

This will add yet another layer of power to our offering and shows that Audience On Demand has yet again delivered innovation in the exciting marketplace. We had a choice – follow the pack and let