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Q&A: Matt Woodford, Joint MD of Ptarmigan Media

Matt Woodford
Matt Woodford is Joint Managing Director of Ptarmigan Media, the UK’s largest media planning and buying agency dedicated to financial services advertising. Matt is speaking at our B2B Conference on 14 March - last few tickets available.

How are agencies servicing their international client bases and does it differ from the servicing of the UK clients? We believe we know and understand our client’s business because we work alongside them in the same sector and have done for nearly 20 years.  Regardless of the region our central premise is always to deliver first class service by experienced experts in their field.  We are committed to the on-going development of our international client base.  There can never be a single solution as there are regional and local differences across every market and we take all those into account when selecting the right media mix for our client’s campaigns.  Are agencies now targeting very specific regions in their plans? What are they? (emerging Vs established economies)  We are committed to servicing our client’s needs wherever they are in the globe.  We recently opened an office in Asia to more closely service a growing client base in the region.  That office has gone from strength to strength and is now billing in excess of US$5million in just over two years. We continue to see a faster pace of change and growth from China than from either Continental Europe or the USA.  Also, as there is very little by way of consistent research and insight against B2B audiences across all territories, we invest in our own, allowing us consistent, relevant and accurate audience insight across all our markets.  We will continue to service our clients and ensure that we can meet their demands, wherever in the world they happen to be.  For the financial service industry the trends are definitely still towards emerging markets and I expect Asia and Latin America to grow significantly over the next 10 years.  Saying that, the US will show the biggest percentage shift in terms of growth in 2012. Where should your B2B publisher partners be investing their time/money to develop in terms of processes, skills and sophistication in selling? We see audience media consumption from the point of view of platforms rather than strict media types.  All audiences, including B2B audiences, consume media across a range of platforms, from their morning newspapers across news updates and tweets on their smartphones, to magazines apps on their tablets.  If publishers want to offer different platforms to deliver content, their back office solutions must be able to deliver compelling and transparent commercial reasons as to why advertisers would buy into each additional stream.  In essence, cross-platform data must be more readily available.  Our own research shows that, despite the fact that a minority share of impressions are served to smart phones and tablets,  the audiences consuming media on those platforms are four times as likely to respond as those viewing from a desktop computer.  It seems that audiences are more likely to be active, when they themselves are being active!  That kind of insight can help us plan better communications points throughout the customer journey. How do you view the development of content creation services offered by publishers to agencies and clients? We are seeing more publishers move towards offering content creation in many guises; written, video, audio.  Commercially, it makes sense for all parties.  As marketing departments have become leaner our B2B clients have had less opportunity to make relevant content that meets the specific needs of their niche audiences. Simultaneously publishers have editorial staff who are used to covering that same topic on a daily basis.  Bringing that demand and supply together has been happening for some time and looks only set to increase.  But, as with all solutions, the package has to be right. As an agency, our focus remains delivering our client’s messages to the right people, at the right time. If content is interesting, relevant and compelling then it is as valid a route to that audience as a standard commercial message against a piece of news editorial.  As with all things that sound simple, the devil will always be in the detail.  Creating pieces of content that deliver unique insights and which are of a high quality can be difficult and time consuming.  Getting it right can deliver cut through and additional customer connections.  Getting it wrong can be worse than never trying in the first place.

Find out more about our B2B Conference on 14 March, where Matt is speaking.