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In Situ Media Case Study

Describes the work of Lucidity London, a marketing consultancy, in turning around the fortunes of the ailing leisure centre media proposition on behalf of management at In Situ Media.

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In Situ Media Case Study

  1. 1. CASE STUDY Responding to High Value Customers A small sport & leisure media specialist needed to raise its own game to meet the changing tastes of Britain’s biggest advertisers Insight. Strategy. Implementation. Lucidity London Inspiring Growth
  2. 2. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 2 of 15 MODERNIZING THE UK’S NO 1 LEISURE CENTRE MEDIA COMPANY Executive Summary At the end of 2010, management at In Situ Media were facing challenges on multiple fronts. Revenues had been falling since the UK first entered recession in 2008 while competition was intensifying as advertiser’s diverted expenditure online and towards a growing number of Digital Out-Of-Home formats. Furthermore, In Situ had failed to invest properly in its products and systems over many years. If management were going to re-ignite growth in leisure centre media, they would need to modernise the company’s offering to meet the needs of Britain’s biggest advertisers much more closely. About In Situ Media In Situ Media is an out-of-home advertising contractor which sells display advertising space to major brand advertisers inside 550 leisure centres across the UK. Launched in 1991, the company now has long-term contracts with 8 leisure centre management companies, 12 local authorities and 98 individual leisure centres. It employs seven people and generates revenues of approximately £1m a year. Table 1 - Media formats available inside Leisure Centres: Format Location 6-Sheets Poolside, foyers, walkways Changing Room Panels Male, female and mixed Banners Poolside and sports halls Stickers On walls, mirrors and lockers Sampling Reception, studios
  3. 3. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 3 of 15 Situation In Situ was once the small friendly place where media professionals went to buy large family, teenage and health-conscious audiences on behalf of Britain’s biggest advertisers. They knew they could get what they needed because there were relatively few Out-of-Home options available to extend the reach of their campaigns into these demographics with such precision. By the end of 2010 though, the advertising landscape had changed dramatically. Massive investments in digital were transforming the media industry and giving advertisers more choice, flexibility and accountability in their media selections. Large multi-nationals built online display advertising networks capable of reaching massive youth audiences, while the Out-of-Home industry developed digital networks rotating multiple campaigns in the same space every 2 weeks targeting people on the move in shopping centres, supermarkets, railway stations and the London Underground (see Appendix A for more details). With so many options available to advertisers, In Situ’s leisure centre media proposition began to lose its intrinsic appeal. Revenues began to decline as advertisers moved expenditure into digital media formats, relations with an influential channel to market came under strain and one of the company’s most valuable customers (the Government’s media buying unit the Central Office of Information) closed its doors. A shrinking panel network gave further cause for concern. In Situ lost scale and quality from its panel network when, in November 2010, one of Britain’s biggest leisure centre management companies awarded its media business to a rival, believing their network in private gyms offered ‘a better fit with our brand’. Truth was, In Situ’s products and systems were showing signs of a lack of investment. Its panel network was visibly ageing and its systems were undermining the team’s ability to deliver a modern customer experience. The company hadn’t tackled and resolved transparency and accountability issues which the industry at large had dealt with 10 years earlier. These events occurred in a period of increased competition which began with the ‘credit crunch’ in 2008. Advertisers’ responded to the financial crisis by making massive cuts to their budgets, and expenditure in out-of-home products took a particularly hard hit, down 17% in 2009, before growth resumed in 2010. Fig 1 - UK Ad Expenditure, % change on previous year Source: Advertising Association/WARC In Situ’s management needed a new plan to modernize its core proposition and raise its quality standards if it was going to adopt a more competitive posture in a fast- changing environment. -20% -10% 0% 10% 20% 2008 2009 2010 2011 All Advertising Out-Of-Home
  4. 4. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 4 of 15 Task Lucidity London were commissioned to help management reverse the decline in sales, and return the company to profitable growth. To this end, our strategic objectives were articulated as: 1. Assess customers current perceptions of leisure centre media, and the company’s overall service 2. Build consensus around a new strategy which aligns the core proposition to the needs of Britain’s biggest advertisers and their intermediaries 3. Remodel inefficient business processes to support continuously rising quality standards 4. Begin modifying the set of associations surrounding the In Situ brand and focus on building ‘quality’ attributes 5. Achieve gross media revenue of £1.5m in 2013-14 Action External Reality Digs To understand customers’ perceptions of In Situ and their leisure centre media proposition, we asked senior planners and buyers who knew the business well to participate in a process we call Reality Digs. Among the sample, we found the most commonly-held perceptions of leisure centre media were somewhat downmarket: ‘council-run centres’, ‘C2D audience’ and ‘not illuminated’ were among the more frequently recalled top-of-mind attributes. And in private health clubs, advertisers had an easy way to compare the attributes and performance of both the media and the contractor. This assessment revealed more downmarket perceptions though - there had been relatively few similarities between the development of private health club and leisure centre media over the years (see Appendix B). These customers also told us that leisure centre media presented specific problems for advertisers, including:  a low quality panel network (“not illuminated”, “no regeneration of sheetage”)  difficulty understanding which sites offered genuine impact and long dwell-times to advertisers (“too many parallel panels”, “clutter in the environment”)  lack of investment in media self-bolstering activities (“poor photographs”, “lacks research”, “no new case studies”)  sales and marketing presentations that “haven’t changed for years” Exhibit 1 - Example of a low quality poster panel
  5. 5. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 5 of 15 Delving further into customers’ frustrations, we arranged to interview decision-makers at an influential out-of-home specialist with whom relations had recently become strained. For them, leisure centre media was surrounded by a constellation of unhelpful attributes associated with In Situ rather than the format itself, including:  management which lacked commitment to the industry’s drive for greater professionalism  observable lack of investment in product, sales, marketing and operations  comparatively low product and service standards They went on to describe a modern media environment in which greater creativity had driven agencies to consult more closely with media owners and work with clients to match new technologies with innovative executions. The relationship between agencies and media owners, which once may have been considered adversarial, had become far more collaborative. Without digital, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities in the network, In Situ had missed out on this trend. Internal Reality Digs When we assessed the company’s service delivery model, we discovered a proposition that was being undermined by flaws in the design of its processes and systems. For a while now, management had ignored critical issues related to buyers’ assessment of quality in both pre- and post-sales service (see Table 2). Table 2 – Key Processes and their Impact on Quality Stage Process Quality Assessment Criteria Pre Panel Assessment what is the presentation like Posting how are ads put on display Audience Estimation how many people will see my ad Post Proof-of-Posting what evidence is supplied to prove my ads are on display as specified Campaign Evaluation how many people saw my ad See Appendix B for a more detailed description As the reality of the challenges facing the management team became clearer, so too did the root cause of the company’s decline. In the absence of a formal planning process, In Situ had responded to the credit crunch by drifting towards a strategy of cost minimisation. This was driving a general perception that the company was unresponsive to customers’ concerns. And, to people for whom winning in their own business was about caring more than other companies (about customers, about colleagues, about how the organisation conducts itself in a world with endless opportunities to cut corners), In Situ had fallen way behind. New Strategy, New Direction Having persuaded In Situ’s management to recognise the enormous changes taking place across the industry, and take an honest look at the company’s operations, we needed to build consensus around a new plan to revitalise the business. After all, national advertisers were still looking for places to interrupt consumers to deliver commercial messages. And public leisure centres were still being visited by millions of Brits each week.
  6. 6. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 6 of 15 We recommended the company adopt a customer focus and a generic strategy focused on quality improvements. By concentrating resources on delivering continuous improvements to product and service quality, we felt we could boost the appeal of leisure centre media among Britain’s biggest advertisers. The strategy had two distinct phases. The first phase prioritised the modernisation of the static 6-sheet proposition and the company’s systems. The second would focus on the development of a digital network. Re-Modelling Operations Responding immediately to concerns over the quality of the company’s network, we initiated a panel audit to quantify the scope and scale of any problems, and set a baseline for a panel replacement programme. We immediately ran into problems operationalizing the audit though. No-one at In Situ was routinely visiting their leisure centres so, unless we spent 2 months travelling around the country ourselves, how were we going to assess the condition of almost 3,500 poster panels in 550 leisure centres nationwide? A solution arose as we considered how to respond to concerns around accountability in the posting process. At that time, In Situ were sending posters to leisure centres by courier, together with instructions to display them at a specified time and location. The sales team then telephoned leisure centres to check that the posters were on display at the right time and place. This process had two major flaws. Firstly, there was no ‘hard’ evidence that campaigns were on display – it was theoretically too easy for someone to tell us that posters were on display even if they weren’t. And secondly, the company had no direct contact with its panel network; they lacked a clear view of its (deteriorating) condition. We recommended outsourcing the final leg of the posting process to regional posting contractors, along with a mandate to provide time and date-stamped ‘proof-of-posting’ photos from each individual posting event. With each new campaign, we’d receive images of panels which the operations team could assess for signs of wear and tear, and take action where necessary. As the panel audit progressed, so the panel replacement programme began. Within 2 months we’d received images of 80% of In Situ’s panels, and identified sites which urgently required repair or replacement. When management selected a new high spec poster panel to introduce into the network, the rejuvenation of the physical network began. Exhibit 2 – Example of a new poster panel
  7. 7. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 7 of 15 Lifting Sales & Marketing to Higher Standards With a revitalized panel network in development, we began assessing opportunities to improve In Situ’s sales and marketing competencies. In interviews, customers had informed us of the need to refresh the company’s sales collateral (see Appendix C), while also highlighting the need to:  excite planners about leisure centre media  articulate key media facts and figures clearly  socialise case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of leisure centre media  take better photographs  arrive at meetings informed about brand advertisers and their communication strategies We drew up a sales and marketing plan which prioritised and co-ordinated the delivery of these and more customer-inspired quality improvements on a timetable which would maximise their cumulative effect. Signalling the start of change, we created a fresh new visual identity for the company, quickly followed by a user-friendly website designed to meet the information needs of busy planners, buyers and clients. Content highlighted new product and service quality attributes, and a download library minimised the time required to access PowerPoint, PDF and JPEG files for circulation among larger decision-making groups. Exhibit 1 - In Situ Media’s new logo Exhibit 2 - New company website Pre-Sales Service Enhancements To present the new quality-based narrative directly to customers in group presentations and face-to-face meetings, we created a library of PowerPoint slides for the sales team addressing key topics, such as:  media opportunities inside leisure centres  geographic coverage and network configuration  leisure centre audience facts, figures and images  analysis of leisure centre users using TGI survey data  new proof-of-posting services  new post-campaign research services  client success stories and case studies  glossy images of client campaigns
  8. 8. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 8 of 15 Exhibit 3 –Sales and marketing presentation (2011) Sales proposals also drew from this library, and were further enhanced by the development of a robust new Audience Delivery model, which blended fresh footfall data supplied by leisure centres with TGI consumer survey data and In Situ’s panel location data. An Audience Estimation Toolset facilitated access to this dataset, helping In Situ’s operations team design bespoke packages to suit client’s objectives and/or budget. It also gave the sales team ready access to estimates of a campaigns reach and frequency at different weights – all critical inputs to most clients’ media evaluation and planning software. Exhibit 4 – Audience Estimation Tool To help the sales team add value to individual customer interactions in face-to-face meetings, we developed a system to acquire, summarise and distribute facts about advertisers’ strategies. We subscribed to media industry databases and news websites discussing brands and their media strategies, and assembled Summary Briefings focused on individual advertisers’ news, their communication strategy and recent campaigns. We also analysed the habits of Frequent Leisure Centre Users in great detail using TGI consumer survey data. Investigations were undertaken and findings socialised which described their demographic profiles, centre visiting behaviour, category purchasing repertoires, brand preferences and main media consumption habits. Exhibit 5 – Analysis of Leisure Centre Use, by Lifestage
  9. 9. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 9 of 15 Post Sales Service Enhancements Customers had also told us that In Situ needed to do more to assess the effectiveness of client’s campaigns, and prove leisure centre media works in an integrated media mix. We responded by creating a new Campaign Research Service which initially provided clients with key advertising performance metrics such as awareness, consideration, persuasion and intention to purchase. We appointed an independent media research specialist to help us design and implement a robust research methodology and deliver an objective assessment of each client’s campaign performance. Fig 3 – Early campaign effectiveness results Source: Clark Chapman 2011 While the initial results showed impressive levels of campaign awareness, we were also building a body of evidence to help us describe how different segments of the audience interacted with advertising inside leisure centres. For example, a campaign for the Twentieth Century Fox film Mr Poppers Penguins delivered spectacularly high levels of unaided recall among mums, who told us they were always on the lookout for ideas to keep their kids entertained during the school holidays. Another opportunity to modify the company’s post-sales service proposition arose alongside changes to the posting process. Regional posting contractors were now providing time and date-stamped images from each posting event showing a client’s campaign in place and on time. To present this to clients in a modern context, we decided to organise all aspects of the company’s post-campaign reporting activities around an easily accessible, password-protected client microsite. We called the system Verify and it provided ‘hard’ evidence of a client’s campaign in the form of a ‘site visit’ from their desk! Posting images were presented alongside posting reports, high quality photographs of the campaign (another known client bugbear) and research studies. Exhibit 5 – Verify: proof-of-posting microsite 13% 38% 17%17% 56% 29% 36% 67% 46% Nokia 20th Century Fox E45 Spontaneous Prompted Recognised
  10. 10. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 10 of 15 Reaching Out to Media Planners and Buyers To broadcast In Situ’s revitalization story among the wider population of people with responsibility for or influence over large advertisers’ media expenditure decisions, we developed a series of tactical campaigns promoting product and service quality enhancements. The company’s customer database was analysed and segmented by value and a ‘Platinum List’ of customers identified on whom we would concentrate scarce resources. Targeted Direct Mail, Email and Personal Selling campaigns showcased the modern leisure centre media experience, and featured major brands currently showing ads in leisure centres. Exhibit 7 – Extract from Email When we’d accumulated fresh campaign imagery, audience profile data and post-campaign research results, we designed a new media pack which reflected the enhanced quality of the new proposition and the characteristically ‘time-poor’ nature of media life. A minimalist design approach was adopted, giving imagery a high level of salience in the presentation while copy was kept to a minimum. Exhibit 8 – Extracts from new media pack
  11. 11. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 11 of 15 Results When we arrived at In Situ, we found a company which, through a combination of misfortune and mistakes, was struggling to adapt in a rapidly changing environment. In the 6 months prior to our engagement, the company had lost a major customer, the support of a key channel to market, and a large leisure centre operator from their network. Reality Digs revealed how decisions taken cumulatively had eroded the appeal of leisure centre media. A focus on cost-minimisation had resulted in an ageing network, relatively low service standards and a perception that the business was unresponsive to customers’ concerns. Within six months though, there were visible signs of improvement. In listening and responding to high value customers, In Situ’s team and its proposition were undergoing a transformation. The physical panel network was being upgraded, and their systems had been successfully re-modelled to the point where the changes were now embedded in day-to-day operations. Most importantly, quality was driving decision-making. In Situ were heading in the right direction. Their strategy of boosting the appeal of leisure centre media through incremental improvements was beginning to drive buyer preference once again. The core proposition, supported by value added service enhancements, was attracting interest from Britain’s biggest advertisers and their intermediaries. Sales leapt by more than 1200% immediately after the proposition was re-launched, followed by an increase of 152% in the next quarter. Seasonal effects contributed to a decline in the Q4 comparison before growth resumed again in Q1 2012. Source: Internal Accounts, April 2012 The quality of the brands choosing leisure centre media was striking too. Advertisers’ with a vast range of choice in their media selections were selecting leisure centre media to extend the reach of their campaigns. In Situ and leisure centre media were back on the path to growth. Exhibit 9 Major Brands choosing Leisure Centres, 2011 -33% -53% 372% -74% -93% 152% -64% 74% Q1 '10 Q2 '10 Q3 '10 Q4 '10 Q1 '11 Q2 '11 Q3 '11 Q4 '11 Q1 '12 Fig 4. In Situ Media Income, 2010-12 % Change in QuarterlyGross Media Revenue Re-launch Mar 7 2011 1206%
  12. 12. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 12 of 15 APPENDIX A Source: Outdoor Media Centre 2012 Source: Outdoor Media Centre 2012 Source: AA/WARC Expenditure Report 2012 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 Fig 5. Growthin UK 6-Sheet Universe Members of the Outdoor Media Centre 897 933 976 939 782 881 886 3% 3% 4% 7% 9% 11% 14% 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Fig 6. Rise of DigitalOOH Out-of-Home Revenues,£m Out-of-Home Digital as % of total 1,367 2,016 2,813 3,350 3,541 4,097 4,784 8% 12% 16% 20% 24% 26% 30% 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Fig 7. Rise of Online Media Revenues,£m Internet Advertising Internet as % of All Advertising
  13. 13. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 13 of 15 Appendix B Table 1 Comparison between Private Health Clubs & Leisure Centres: 6-Sheet Products Private Health Clubs Leisure Centres Panel Specifications ……………………………..… Illuminated, Scrolling, Static Static Main Panel Locations ……………………………..… Inside Gym, Foyer Foyer, Poolside, Walkways Basis of Audience Data ……………………………..… Membership, Footfall Internal Estimation Posting Process ……………………………..… In-House Courier Medium Self-Bolstering ……………………………..… Regular independent research Intermittent Marketing ……………………………..… Simple, Clean Busy, Data Rich Table 2 – Operational Processes and their Impact on Customers Assessment of Quality Process Design Flaw Impact on Assessment of Quality Panel Assessment Leisure centre staff telephoned in if a panel was a danger to patrons; panel assessment was 100% re-active Hygiene factor Posting Posters sent to leisure centres by courier along with posting instructions informing staff when/where to display posters Lacks transparency and accountability Audience Estimation Footfall data supplied by leisure centres on an ad hoc basis quantifying use, frequency, activity and customer profiles Data recency and accuracy Proof-of-Posting Sales staff telephoned leisure centres to ask if a client’s campaign was on display Lacks ‘hard’ evidence Campaign Evaluation Infrequent assessment of the impact of clients’ campaigns Lacks evidence
  14. 14. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 14 of 15 APPENDIX C Exhibit 10 - In Situ Media’s previous logo Exhibit 11 - Media Pack Cover2009 Exhibit 12 - Sample sales presentation (2010) Exhibit 4 – Samples from In Situ’s previous website 1994-2010
  15. 15. Lucidity London | Case Study | In Situ Media Page 15 of 15 About Lucidity London Lucidity London is a marketing consultancy which provides research, strategy and programme implementation services to local, national and international clients. We combine in-depth customer insights with practical expertise in marketing and operations to help our clients evolve and grow. Our home page is Copyright © 2014 Lucidity London All rights reserved. Lucidity London and its logo are trademarks of Lucidity London.