Residual Media: Media Investment Beyond Media Metrics

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The rapid rate of change in the world of media continues to see brands and agencies scrambling for meaningful metrics.  Most are quick to measure what they can, which is not always the best thing to measure.  (Admittedly, it is easier than measuring what you can’t.)   Media investments should be focused on generating value.  Reducing your cost per click or increasing your CTR does not necessarily drive value.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a key metric meets three criteria.   It is directly tied to financials, it is part of the organizational culture (not a top down directive), and focuses on the now, not forever.  I believe this last one is key to creating value when it comes to media investments.  What current challenges or opportunities are relevant?  What aspects of our business would drive the most value.

Whether or not good will could classify as a key metric, we will leave open for debate.  Residual Media focuses on the overall return on the investment, not just the marketing achievements.  For example, the budget for the Walter Mitty film trailer was spent entirely on helping hurricane victims in The Philippines.  (They created a traditional trailer as well.) The production budget was spent on food and aid.  The project was filmed and edited and then shared on YouTube, laying out what was done with the budget for the trailer.  This example focuses more on the production budget being used (vs. media budget), but it still results in creating an additional asset.  In both cases a video product would have been created, however in this instance there was the addition of good will.  By focusing on something that people could relate to, that stood for something, and yet still echoed the essence of the film, the studio could achieve something deeper with the audience.  And while deeper, more meaningful connections with the audience may still fall in line with marketing metrics, the non-traditional execution allowed for innovation, and was not confined to the traditional approach.

Brands focusing on traditional campaign metrics and evaluating short term sales growth will often fail to account for the long term value of building a strong social media base that increases media efficiency, owned and earned media impressions, and most likely loyalty.  The sales focused organization will forego the value of building a loyal base which should be key to a more sustainable growth trajectory.

The real benefit of a Residual Media approach is to focus on value creation, which can come in many different forms. Seek not to create a marketing campaign, but a marketing property.  Know the value of sponsoring content versus content creation, and most importantly leverage the value of your intellectual property and seek to unlock greater value that can accompany your investment.  Evaluating value creation along with marketing metrics provides a broader spectrum in which marketers and brands can operate and opens up new opportunities for growth and innovation.

Residual Media is where Wall Street meets Madison Avenue.

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