Moving Advertising Forward: Insights from Turner’s President of Ad Sales

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You can learn a lot about the state of the industry by following leading executives on the front lines of solving the sector’s most pressing challenges. How are industry leaders taking advantage of emerging opportunities in TV and video advertising? Consider NBC Universal head of sales, Linda Yaccarino’s perspective on 2017 who we wrote about at the start of the year. Here we take a look at industry trends through the eyes of another prominent cable TV executive: Donna Speciale, president of Turner Ad Sales. What moves is Turner making to improve opportunities for advertisers? And what does Speciale prioritize as the critical elements of a successful campaign?

TV and video are closer than ever
As we discuss here on the Extreme Reach blog, many of the ad buying techniques and tools once associated with video are crossing over into TV (and vice versa). Case in point is a program called OpenAP, created by Turner in partnership with Fox and Viacom. The project aims to use the networks’ broad knowledge of audience demographics and habits to improve audience buying in the TV space. “We can’t revolutionize advertising if we are all working in silos,” said Speciale. “We needed partners like Fox and Viacom to raise their hands and understand that when this is successful, we and our partners win.”

Content, insights and data are interconnected
In today’s increasingly complex ad environment, it’s easy for advertisers to get overly focused on one specific element of their campaign. For instance, they might concentrate on having incredible creative assets. Or perhaps they are “data wonks,” using that knowledge to create smarter campaign targets and optimize performance. For Speciale, however, today’s best advertising involves a three-part approach that incorporates great creative, a thoughtful approach to data collection, and the ability to learn and evolve ad strategy based on the key takeaways. “Without content, the data and insights don’t matter,” she said. “And if you aren’t reaching the right person, that powerful creative you invested in doesn’t matter, either.”

Great creative matters more than ever
Speciale’s last point may be obvious, but it bears repeating: great advertising is ultimately about engaging creative. No matter how sophisticated the audience targeting, or the media buying approach, Speciale emphasized creative above all else. “Good advertising is culture, it’s trends, it’s knowing about new product launches. Individuals want to know what is happening,” said Speciale. “When we feature a premium environment, engage the right audience and share advertising that stirs emotion and engagement, we all win.”

There’s no question that today’s advertisers operate in an increasingly complex environment, one where they are constantly challenged to understand new ad formats, new types of data and new ad buying techniques. But as Donna Speciale seems to suggest, the industry’s future is not just about “new.” It’s about collaboration and great creative. These two factors, more than any single ad strategy, will ensure advertisers continue to thrive in the years ahead.

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