What are major advertisers buying these days?

(From the Future of Business Media Conference) At the Future of Business Media Conference, Andy Sewer is interviewing Sarah Faye, the CEO of media buying ubber-agency Aegis Media. The following are rough notes, not direct quotes.

Sewer: Recession? Depression? Ready to call it?

Faye: Not yet. (That’s a short version of her longer answer.)

Sewer: Traditional media vs. new media?

Faye: We’re getting to a point where marketers are thinking about them correctly. Marketers are wanting to understand “the consumer journey.” How each media is going to work together. We now hear marketers say, not, what do we want the customer to see and hear, but “What do we want the customer to do?” We now have to bring all of the media opportunities together and consider “an architecture” of how the customer will walk through the program. It’s an integration of “brand strategy” and “direct marketing.” So, it’s hard for marketers who are dealing with one agency for brand strategy and other agencies to carry it out. They don’t typically work in a way where everyone is at the table.

Sewer: Are we still where marketers are saying, “get me digital opportunities”?

Faye: I wouldn’t necessarily say they are at the point where there is a lot of integration. But they are looking for “efficiencies.” Marketers now know online work. The next step is to make sure that when you’re running a TV advertising campaign, to consider what kind of “keyword” searches those ads will generate.

Sewer: Metrics?

Faye: Marketers have gotten used to using digital media and the metrics they get are addicting.

Sewer: Google? What’s your Google strategy?

Faye; Google is a huge partner of ours in search. We use them as a paid search partner and we have a huge SEO operation. We’re also using Google TV and some of their other properties. We believe YouTube is a force to be reckoned with. Google — so far — has not created a dominant position outside of search. And that will grow throughout the next decade. Google TV is interesting, but there are several other companies going after that space. Google is not dominant. There’s lots of innovation going on at Google, so who knows what will come out of it.

Sewer: Google/Yahoo deal?

Faye: I’m not a fan. I like having competition in a market. The idea of the biggest and second biggest search advertiser getting together is necessarily good.

Sewer: Is print dead?

Faye: I think magazines are still very important and plays an important role. People still like to hold onto a magazine and read it. It’s a good jumping off spot for an integrated program. I will say, newspapers roles are changing. I’m becoming more skeptical of “controlled circulation” in the B2B media arena. The content in those magazines is available online. The “resource for buyers” role is being changed by the Internet.

Sewer: TV?

Faye: There’s a gap in pricing and efficiencies of network TV. Network is still expensive — it’s like beach front property. However, there is lots of “cheap” long tail of TV out there. The gap has to narrow at some point. Broadband is differently than the rest of TV. It is bought and measured differently. We are bullish on it. You can’t skip the advertising. It creates a high impact.

Sewer: Race to the bottom of TV? Is content a commodity and distribution a premium? If you go to network TV and can’t tell which reality program you’re watching, does it matter what network it’s on?

Faye: We’re following the consumer as to what’s popular with them. I think will see the quality productions go the HBO model.

Faye: Viral is huge. We’re looking to find “the voice in the consumer.” Getting the consumer to create or participate with the brand, is where you’ll get an extension to your media budget. If you can get the consumer to talk about your brand, there’s a new kind of authenticity.

Sewer: Social networking?

Faye: Gotta me a model there, because the time sure is being spent there. For me, I hope Facebook gets there with their business model. For us, it’s about the creation of the community and then using the traditional media to point people to that community.

(Sewer and Faye are talking about people on Facebook as if they are talking about people on Mars.)

Question from the audience about digital acquisitions for Aegis

Faye: Yes, we’re still bullish.

Question about online search vs. display

Faye: We have the ways to analyze “click stream activity” that show that display advertising drives search activity. So, you can’t dismiss — no matter how much you want to — display advertising.

Faye: The business reader need better servicing. It’s important that business to business media companies evolve. From the marketers we work with, they know that they need an integrated approach. The question is are the media companies in their sector servicing them.

Question about bypassing advertising agencies:

Faye: The challenge agencies and clients are having…there are specialists in all these different areas. That’s one thing we’re trying to address. We have an “open source” approach — because we’re more of a “media (buying)” company than a creative driven company.

Question to Sewer re: how the business media is covering the financial crisis — are people running out and buying magazines.

Sewer: The end of August (Fortune) newsstand is up 30%. The traffic across our business websites is up 80% at Fortune.com. It’s an incredible period.

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