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How Agencies Sell Risk to Brands | Digiday

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“Once you start getting the small wins, then you can go after the bigger money.”

I can understand why brands wonder what they get out of digital:

“It’s not hard to sell TV commercials or print, or things that brands understand,” said Steve Babcock, executive creative director at Evolution Bureau. “But brands see digital differently for some reason. There’s sometimes this ‘I don’t know what I’m getting out of this’ mentality.”

It's very hard to measure return on investment with digital right now.

If there's no tangible return on investment, then what exactly are they buying?

Digital programs can often prove hard to measure, especially if they’re using new technologies or platforms or genuinely are “industry firsts.” TV advertising is relatively easy to benchmark, for example, and most major advertisers have been buying it for decades. But the majority of marketers still don’t really understand the effects channels like social media really have on sales and other hard business metrics. As a result, many find it difficult to justify investment, not least because they’ll have to explain that decision to their superiors.

When it comes to selling work in unproven channels, it’s, therefore, about clearly setting client expectations, Babcock added. Though certain pieces of work might never be traced directly to revenue, agencies should at least do a better job of communicating exactly what a campaign is designed to do, and why.

Reminds me of Netflix and House of Cards.  Digital is probably best explained as supplemental, and a modifier on existing reach.  Then again, so many things happen on purely digital terms.  Social Media Interactions are qualitative, to me.  But I hang around young people, so that's just intuition.

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