David Owen of oOh!media

Out-of-home outfit oOh!media is taking its smarts to the next level with the appointment of a new Research & Insights Director. Tasked with understanding the evolution of oOh!media’s consumers, the former Research Manager at TVNZ talks up the strengths of the sector and shares how he’s helping marketers overcome its challenges.


What does a Research & Insights Director do?

A bit of everything, hopefully. The beauty of the role is that you have a wide range of data at your fingertips. Whether it’s consumer insights, movement behaviours, market-trend data, measurement tools or media insights, there’s usually a data set or insight you can use to support decision-making across the business. I’ve always viewed the research and insights function as a consultancy within businesses, where we can provide the smarts to help support decision-making at all levels.

What insights are you bringing to oOh!media from TVNZ?

Being one of the largest media companies in New Zealand, TVNZ was a great place at which to expand my knowledge of the media industry and audience behaviour. It placed a significant emphasis on understanding consumers, which meant there was always a wealth of research and data to dive into. Learning from some of the best and how they tackled problems using data is something I’m looking to add to my role at oOh!media 

What excites you about working for oOh!?

The oOh! team have been recognised as leaders in the out of home [OOH] sector, through innovative campaign solutions, data and audience products, and the quality of their relationships in market. Stepping into a new role in the business, I’m excited to bring my understanding of consumers and insights, and leverage the wealth of knowledge that we already have in both New Zealand and Australia to help drive the business forward.

What are some challenges you see yourself facing in the next 12 months?

With the launch of Calibre and robust measurement being relatively new to the market, making sure that advertisers and agencies get the most out of the tools is one of the key challenges, while also future-proofing measurement and tapping into relevant datasets, so that Calibre continues to deliver for our advertising partners.

What challenges do you think marketers face in understanding their customers’ needs?

As audience behaviour continues to fragment across multiple channels, trying to get a singular view of the consumer becomes increasingly difficult. I think it’s incredibly hard for marketers trying to grasp all the different metrics and tools, the pros and cons of the different ad units, and how all of that relates to their product and brand. This coupled with increasing time pressures to actually pull this information makes the media-planning process very difficult. The more media owners can come together to provide a singular view of audiences in their channel, the easier it’ll be for marketers to make informed buying decisions.

How much has the way we consume media changed in the past year?

Covid-19 definitely threw a spanner into the works and had a pronounced effect on consumers’ media consumption. At TVNZ, we saw massive audience growth across both linear and digital as people tuned in for the Covid-19 updates and news, while the whole OOH sector was impacted by the drop-off in population movement. But as always with consumers, we’re habitual creatures and have generally shifted back to traditional media consumption behaviours. The same audience trends we were seeing in 2019 will continue, with the lasting impact of Covid-19 being that it helped accelerate the continued shift to digital or usage of particular brands.

Why is OOH such an important channel for advertisers?

OOH is a really important channel to add into the media mix, and there are a huge number of studies that prove how effective it is when combined with other media. The beauty of the medium is that unlike other media, it doesn’t require consumers to actively choose to engage with it, and from a reach perspective, it’ll always be growing as the New Zealand population expands. Being everywhere outside the home allows advertisers to effectively reach consumers when they’re on the go, and it’s increasingly being backed up by smarter data integration to provide the granular insights into audiences that advertisers need. 

What does it mean to be audience-led?

To me, it’s about putting consumer behaviour at the core of everything we do. I think that all too often in media, we put our products/brands and our own habits/behaviours at the centre of our decision-making, without truly taking into account what consumers want and how they engage with our brands. By understanding how consumers move and behave, you’ll naturally uncover insights that help advertisers reach and engage with consumers.

What’s innovative about customer targeting in OOH?

I’ve been really impressed with the data and smarts that the OOH industry is tapping into to understand audiences. Rather than relying on consumer surveys or small panels, they’re aggregating large pools of data not only to understand how consumers move when they’re outside the home, but also the brands they use and buy. As an industry, we’re playing a bit of catch-up in the measurement space, but the data road map for the industry and oOh! is really exciting.

What is oOh! Behavioural Targeting?

oOh! Behavioural Targeting is a unique way to understand the different types of consumers that are travelling past our sites. By tapping into Landmarks ID, we’re able to understand category and brand affinity against every single one of our sites. This allows advertisers to cut OOH audiences into different segments, to provide more granular planning and targeting against their desired audience.

Aside from OOH, which media channels should marketers be seriously considering?

The channels where their consumers are, and as many channels as the budget allows. For me, it’s about striking the right balance between reaching consumers and engaging with them with relevant messaging at a high frequency. I think all too often people fall into the trap of thinking all impressions are equal, without taking into account the consumer mindset and how they’re experiencing the impression that’s delivered to them. It goes back to understanding the consumer, then aligning this knowledge with business goals and what you want to achieve from the marketing activity. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for any campaign.

This article was originally published in the June/July 2021 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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