Agency Friends: Why do we start?

Taxonomy and Naming Convention Compliance is quickly becoming a critical area of focus for savvy agency leaders mindful of the shifting ecosystem sands where privacy, incremental measurement, and performance are concerned. 

And brand marketers are holding their agencies’ feet to the fire more and more in this area. In fact, it is with increasing frequency that brands are even going so far as to write compliance goals into contracts with their media buying agencies. Want to get paid? Run a disciplined practice.

Taxonomy Compliance within Media Ops is, by all rights, a complicated and sometimes chaotic undertaking, with multiple, typically loosely aligned teams handling critical stages of a production journey that touches distinct (and not necessarily interoperable) technologies across booking, trafficking, and buying, for starters.

If we presume a degree of taxonomy or naming convention maturity at point of origination can we fairly say that the series of disjointed processes that come next – the operationalization of taxonomy and naming conventions – is equally mature? Emphatically no.

The typical “process” involved is a patchwork of de-centralized activities that are particularly vulnerable to an often-volatile human element. Organic occurrence of errors as the campaign production journey proceeds are to be expected. As are rogue or compartmentalized behaviors that bear no relationship to any centralized stated standard.

The risk here, by definition, is immense, with often millions of media dollars in play and an array of downstream responsibilities – insights & optimization, reporting, BI – all corrupted by upstream disorder. This is not a strong recipe for client satisfaction, growth, retention, and, by extension, new business wins.

Yet, encouragingly, more and more agencies seeking to be leaders in data integrity are effectively asking themselves certain crucial questions regarding existing practices. If you’re not already asking these, it’s time to start:

  • What is our average client taxonomy / naming convention compliance rate across our portfolio? (the reality here is typically alarming)
  • Is it an organizational imperative to improve that number? (Hint: it should be)
  • Can we readily identify potential flashpoints that predict churn and / or client dissatisfaction?
  • In cases where the rate is relatively high, how is that success achieved? Through onerous manual lift that is reactive in nature?
  • Is there a tool or software that can systematize the consistent application of client taxonomies and naming conventions? (Hint: yes)
  • What does the net effect on downstream business activities look like in a scenario that involves materially greater Data Integrity upstream?
  • Can we quantify those potential gains? (over time, yes; it will make you – and your clients – happy)

Bottom line: marketers are awakening to inadequacies in the above described areas and acknowledging that just because something has been tolerated as a marginal cost of doing business for a decade and half doesn’t make it any less irresponsible today.

The moment to say no to inertia and stimulate a new maturity in campaign / media / creative ops is now.

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