An Englishman in New York: ‘Global’ heads of media have too much local bias
Global approaches are supposed to standardise ways of working, but in standardising, advertisers are going to miss huge opportunities to drive home competitive advantage.
I was recently back in the UK for a week and aside from enjoying a proper cup of tea, catching up with family and the overcast weather, I got to meet with several of my industry friends. In every conversation we discussed our perspectives of the differences between the US and UK media scene.
The origin of perspective interests me, why does someone in North Carolina think so differently to someone from Manchester? I guess because digital media is a nurtured endeavour, and as such we create our opinions from those around us.
In essence, whether you’re an advertiser in the UK or in the US, you want to ‘reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message for the right price’. A globally consistent mantra. However, the trade press, substacks, podcasts and opinion pieces often transcend geo-location which can cause confusion. I.e., when I’m sat at my desk in the US, I read articles on The Media Leader which are European weighted, but when I’m sat at my desk in the UK I read articles which are US weighted.
CTV – there is significantly more media fragmentation in the US which means there’s an entirely different approach to UK
Retail Media — there is far more scale in the US than the UK which means the opportunity of a retail media network is considerably different
Privacy — privacy application is in a vastly different moment (the US is a wild west, Europe a bit more buttoned down)
In-housing — much more prevalent in the US and located across the country given the multitude of ‘media hubs’
In my career I have dealt with lots of global heads of media who have been based in the US and/or UK and I feel for how they need to consider the local nuances from their central locations. It’s a near impossible job and not just because of timezones (I’ll save for a post on how challenging this is for another time!) The perspectives can be wildly different so aligning on an approach often means they default to what they know, from their own market.
For example, in recent times I’ve seen global heads of media based in the US trying to rollout a global CTV strategy, but they have no idea on how little AVOD inventory there is in some European markets so it’s mainly a pointless endeavour. And vice versa, in Europe, they’ve taken a stringent of an approach to data use in the US which means they’re missing out on some opportunities that operating in a wild west can provide. This more often than not creates friction in the marketing departments.
Global approaches are supposed to standardise ways of working, but in standardising, advertisers are going to miss huge opportunities to drive home competitive advantage by maximising what local markets can offer.
The solution? A considered market-by-market approach to see where synergies exist.
Wayne Blodwell is founder of TPA Digital, an online advertising consultancy. ‘An Englishman in New York’ is a monthly column reflecting on time setting up a business in the US and what media Brits should know when deciding to find success stateside.