07. Thomas Palugan, Data Consultant

Data consultant for Ogilvy, Thomas Palugan has several years experience in researching and using social media platforms and mobile apps to help companies organize their branding strategy and communicate with their consumers. 

What’s your job’s role in advertising? The creative and commercial departments contribute fun ideas and viral videos. Data consultants contribute mathematics and data collection techniques. Data consulting is a small but important part of advertising. For companies in general, I’m involved in strategic branding:

  1. Determining how companies want to talk to their consumer, and 
  2. How companies can use Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other social media platforms, and mobile apps to get their message across.

I help companies manage their back-office (what data is available, how to create a database, from long-term how to use data to be more relevant, how plaforms interact and fit into global campaign and brand strategy…).

Why is this important? Because for strategic branding to be successful in the long-term, companies need to know:

  1. How to use the various social media platforms to collect and analyze data on each platform the company is represented on,
  2. How to make this data relevant to be more attractive for their consumers, and
  3. How to talk with their consumers using a 1-to-1 strategy. 

As companies collect data, they will be more efficient if they interpret and use that data correctly. This isn’t just linked to one advertising campaign, but for advertising in general.

What’s a misconception people have about the industry? One mistake a lot of brands make is thinking that social media strategy is easy to set up, but thinking it’s easy is not good. As soon as you have a facebook fan page, you suddenly have to handle important issues like:

  1. “What is my community management style?”
  2. “What is my conversation calendar?” 
  3. “What is the real value for the consumer of becoming new fan?”
  4. “How can I distinguish between fans who are merely fans and fans who are also buyers and owners of my product, service, or royalty program?”

As soon as you have a fan page, you also have to have a crisis strategy. Because as you’re opening a page, you’re letting the possibility for everybody and anybody to talk with you, but also to critique or insult you. You need to find a way to be reactive and manage this kinds of situations.  Opening a facebook page and simply posting things isn’t a safe solution.

Also, considering which and how many social media platforms you communicate on is also an important decision that depends on:

  1. Your demographic/target audience.
  2. The market you’re in. For example Pinterest has a real impact in the US market, but in France it’s still a relatively new platform. Therefore creating a Pinterest platform in France, you need to have content, pictures, movies to animate the platform, and think of what is the real interest in having a Pinterest account if you already have a Facebook fan page. Again, what’s the added value for the consumer of following both social media platforms?

Finally, it’s really difficult to have a consolidated view of your market. If you’re a brand and you have 20 platforms, it’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to have a consumer-centric view.  It’s also very important NOT to have a vertical strategy for each social media platform, but to link them all together. If you’re going to have that many platforms, you’re going to need an approch to help you organize all your data into one easy-to-read location so you can collect and analyse the data from the different social media platforms.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from advertising? Don’t neglect form over content.  Even if you have strong ideas and very good solutions, one of the issues you need to deal with is the way you’re presenting your ideas. It’s one thing to have a good idea, but you also need to be good at explaining and presenting them. 

You’re losing your audience if you’re unable to deliver a clear approach. It’s really easy to lose 90% of the people who are listening to you.  For example, you could have the best content in the world, but with an ugly website, people will leave your website because it’s ugly.  

What websites do you often go to for ideas/inspiration? Forrester and TNS-Sofres offer a lot of market analysis, consumer satisfaction barometers, brand health trackers, data, and insight into the French, European, and global markets.  Some articles you must pay for, but some are also free. 

I also use my colleagues. They all work with different clients and I don’t know them all. So in some cases if I’m dealing with an issue, perhaps a colleague has already had a similar issue 6 months ago. So for me it’s really a strength to work in an agency with so many benchmarks and so much experience from all the different projects. You’re probably not the first person to have the problem that you’re having.

What is one of your favorite advertising campaigns? Here are two:

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? If you haven’t got a heavy budget, then use a 1-to-1 approach on a very targeted demographic.  Make clever parternships with other brands and exchange consumer contact details to send emails to them and bring you visibility to a specific audience. 

Another idea is to adopt a local approach. For example, if you have a store and only one in France, just make posters in your neighborhood and have visibility for people in your street.  Use a geographical and very targeted approach for people who are interested in your business.

Also, data is the future of advertising. If you understand the importance of and utilize data collection, treatment, and how to incorporate it into your branding strategy, then you have a strong chance of becoming a leader in the next few years. 

Advice for someone who wants to do your job: Don’t just study marketing, also study mathematics.  A lot of people want who work in adverting and they mainly study marketing in schools of commerce. But for our job, you must study scientific engineering.

09. Hervé Thevenard, Fin Controller for Ogilvy

Financial Controller for Ogilvy, Hervé Thevenard has over 8 years experience monitoring advertising agency finances in running campaign projects.

What is your job’s role in advertising? I’m in charge of all the finances of the agency in the running of campaign projects and other corporate-related business – reportings, profitability, budgetary problems on projects, etc.

What’s a misconception people have about advertising? Not everyone appreciates this, and so it’s easy to neglect, but the everyday mundane paperwork of keeping your schedule planning and timesheets accurate and up-to-date are very important for the profitability of an advertising campaign as well as the future of your company.  This is because this information allows you to monitor all your expenses and time spent.  Financial controllers work with this information everyday, and many financial reports that companies use to make strategic decisions have precise deadlines, and thus rely heavily on this information. 

For example, to reconcile time spent on your advertising project or to see if a project is profitable or financially feasible, you need accurate information from everyone involved in the advertising project. If that information is incorrect, it reflects on the financial reports, which influences your advertising direction.

An important factor in evaluating the worth of an advertising campaign is on the amount of time necessary to complete the project. If you allot 10 hours for a project and you complete it in 5 hours, that’s great. But if it takes you 20 hours, then you’ll have lost time and money on the project.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in advertising? When pitching to a client, or when preparing for your own advertising project, prepare a VERY detailed project outline. It’s safer for you to put a lot of details of what you’re offering because if the client later wants something additional you can show them that what you originally agreed upon and that what they want isn’t included in the originally agreed upon deal.

For example, if you agree to ‘sell a website’ to a client at a set price, then afterwards the client wants more and more functionalities and options, if your project outline wasn’t very detailed as to exactly what the website would include based on the set price, then you have no choice but to say yes. This is a very common problem, especially for small projects and clients advertising on a limited budget. If you estimate a project at $5K, and then decide to include additional functionalities that may take 2 days more, then you’ve lost money in the project.

What is one of your favorite advertising campaigns? I like the Louis Vuitton website because it is so complete.

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I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Find something to create buzz. Without money you can’t go to an agency, so find freelancers. Spend it wisely.

10. Laurence Maas, Int’l Coordinator for Y&R

International coordinator for Young & Rubicam, Laurence Maas has +14 years experience exporting advertising spots between countries.

How does your job fit into the marketing process? As an international coordinator, I don’t work directly on marketing campaigns. Instead, I step in after the spot is live. Once the spot is live I negotiate advertising transfers from one country to another.

For example, an advertising agency creates an advertising campaign for Client X in Spain. Once launched, client X in England wants to use the campaign in their country. So client X in England contacts me and I act as a liaison between the client X and the advertising agency in Spain to negotiate the use the spot, request usage rights and material costs, and sometimes even negotiate the price.

If accepted, the advertising agency sends Client X in England an international version of the spot.  It’s possible to only request permission to use part of a commercial from Spain, France, Poland, etc. and then mix everything and do their spot.

I facilitate this process to ensure everything goes correctly and without problem. Additionally, I maintain inventory of all the commercials for all of our clients. I gather all the ads from around the world into a single database so that clients and advertising agencies can browse them and choose if they want to use them in an advertising campaign.

What’s a misconception clients have about the industry? Time constraints. Local clients may urgently request rights to use a spot from a foreign country without realizing that it can take weeks to negotiate the transfer depending on usage rights.

For example, if it’s an old spot, then all of the acters must be contacted and paid usage rights. Models and actors may have originally only received usage rights for Spain only, but if the spot is used in a country other than Spain, then the models/actors are due further usage rights.

If model/acting agencies find spots that were used without the appropriate usage rights, then they contact the advertising agency who created the spot, who then contacts me, and I make sure the appropriate usage right are paid. However this usually doesn’t happen very often because advertising agencies know that failure to pay results in a bad reputation with the model/acting agencies.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from your experience in the industry? Consider priorities for your job in general. When I first started I did everything in list format, but you have to choose what you’ll do first depending on priority and urgency. This depends on who the request is for, when is it due, how much time will it take to complete the request, etc. It’s a question of organization.

Where do you go to for ideas/inspiration?

Advice for someone who wants to do your job? Be good at Powerpoint. Sending information via Powerpoint is better than word documents because powerpoints are more modern, professional-looking, and they read better than word documents. Powerpoints are also prettier than a word documents.

What’s one of your favorite advertising campaigns?

I have a small advertising budget, any advice?

  1. First determine your demographic (target audience), then adapt your strategy. 
  2. Consider creating a powerpoint presentation that briefly overviews your business objective, goals, and website strategy that potential clients can see, print, and use. Also consider including a link to your presentation in your menu bar or on your press page for potential clients or jounalists who want to know more about you and your website. In the powerpint have links to pages on your website and relevant content.

11. Sidavy Chau, Financial Controller for Grey

A financial controller for Grey Healthcare, Sidavy Chau has +4 years experience working with creative and commercial teams to handle the budgeting and administrative side of the advertising agency campaigns as well as benchmarking and reporting on the campaign results.

How does your job fit into the marketing process? I’m not directly involved in advertising campaigns and I don’t work with our clients. I handle the administrative side (back office) of the advertising agency.  

I work with account managers, and all the other departments in collecting timesheets and receipts. I then compile all of the agency’s billable hours and expenditures into a reports and compare them with the forecasted budget.

Many agencies using online analytical processing software which allows the agency to track business and financial reporting for sales, P&L (profit and loss), marketing, and management, as well as data mining. I report on the campaign results – i.e. the balance sheet, and other internal reports. I then analyze the reasons for over- under- budget estimation between the originally forecasted campaign budget and the actual campaign budget and offer solutions to improve the profitability of the advertising campaigns. These reports are then used by the group’s board to provide direction for the agency and to keep the account managers up-to-date on budget limitations and objectives.

That’s the job of the financial controller – to provide new solutions to increase revenue.

What’s a misconception people commonly have about the industry? From the administrative side, I think the advertising industry is much different than any other industry, such as banking and finance. The advertising industry has a much more relaxed and ‘cool’ environment. This also means that while people in advertising also have a lot of processes and rules and responsibilities to do, the relaxed environment can cause people to neglect their administrative duties (reports, accurately filling out time sheets, etc.).

Failure to keep up with these important duties can have severe financial consequences on the project because it can cause the campaign to go over budget (not enough time spent on big paying clients, insufficient hours logged, etc.), and on the advertising agency as a whole, causing the agency to actually lose money on campaigns.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned? Pay close attention to all information because as you run your advertising campaigns you’ll have to sort through a lot of it. Be able to quickly identify between useful and non-useful information, important and unimportant information, urgent and non-urgent demands.

For the person requesting information from you, it’s always urgent and top priority for them and they want it immediately. You have to be able to manage all the requests for information and respond in a timely manner. If you try to treat everything as high priority, you’ll end up killing yourself.

A website you often go to for ideas? I use Fiducial.com to get information and to stay up-to-date with accounting laws and practices.

What’s your favorite advertising campaign?

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Make sure you do a really good job forecasting your advertising budget. It’s easy to under-estimate a budget and end up broke and with an incomplete campaign. Also factor in how much time you’ll spend on the project. The more time you spend, the less per hour you’ll take from the advertising results, hours which could have been better spent earning money or working on other projects.