I recently moderated a panel as part of DMAC’s Think & Disrupt Digital Marketing series where I joined Ted Boyd, AAM chairman and CEO of Current International and Magnifi, and Phillip Crawley, AAM Canada’s Board Committee chairman and publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail, to discuss new ways for marketers to improve returns on their media investments, why it’s critical for marketers to drive media assurance, and the connection between accountability in advertising and accountability in journalism.
The event was full, and the conversation was lively, so I wanted to share my five favorite moments from the discussion.
1. Quality Audiences Exist in Quality Environments
Early on in the panel, Boyd delivered a passionate statement that helped drive our entire conversation. He focused on the connection between the digital audiences marketers hope to reach and the quality environments with quality content in which they exist.
“Audience is about environment,” Boyd explained. “This notion of buying audience as a standalone concept has led the industry into places that aren’t good. The value of environment is extremely high. As we sort out digital, environment will become far more important. Quality of audience, quality of journalism and quality of inventory are inextricably linked.”
2. Trust Drives Business
Crawley explained how the largest part The Globe and Mail’s revenue comes from subscriptions—120,000 print subscribers and 110,000 digital subscribers—and credited those numbers to the newspaper’s credibility and the relationship they’ve built with subscribers as a trusted source of news.
“The business of subscriptions depends on people’s desire for insight, and they want that insight with a sense of trust,” said Crawley. “They will not keep buying you if they doubt your integrity, if they think you’re not being straight or if they think you have a hidden agenda. Trust is the basis of our business.”
3. Trust Does Not Exist Without Accountability
Crawley continued by explaining that a lot of people are turning a blind eye to the fakery, falsehoods and lies occurring in digital advertising and the need for audits.
“It’s very frustrating when you’re sitting in a room full of publishers who are saying, ‘We don’t need to have audits anymore. Nobody asks for them. The advertisers are not interested in them,’” he said. “In our industry, there are a lot of people just putting out their own numbers and saying, ‘Here they are. Trust us. Believe us.’ There’s a lot of turning a blind eye to what’s going on in our industry and we all need to face up to it. Why aren’t we delivering trust to the same degree in advertising and measurement? Why are we asking people to pay for advertising blindly?”