Bayer Consumer US, the pharma company, is taking more direct control of its media buying and planning through enhancing its in-house capabilities in these areas.

Joshua Palau, Bayer’s VP/media strategy and platforms, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 (and first) In-House Agency Conference.

He outlined how the pharma enterprise now boasts in-house experts who work with its brands and essentially “run an end-to-end” media strategy.

“Basically, they work with the internal subject-matter experts to figure out a bidding strategy, an audience strategy, and a search strategy,” Palau explained. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Bayer is building its own in-house media agency.)

Those tentpoles in the digital-media realm help shape the brands’ learning agenda as well as the creative executions programs that are evaluated against those plans.

In-housing media, he offered, will not prosper if its only aim is cutting costs. “If your goal is to save money,” Palau said, “I would argue it’s probably not the right foundation.

“You end up making the wrong decision based on different motivations. At some point, you’ll have to make a concession that you wouldn’t normally make, because you’re focusing on the bottom-line impact.”

When it came to planning its own in-housing efforts – which were ultimately conducted with assistance from agency MightyHive, a unit of S4 Capital – Bayer had some clear guardrails.

“I very distinctly remember the general manager saying to me as we are going through the plan, ‘Look, we just can’t lose anything. But if you come out cost neutral and you could solve our [media-buying] problems, that’s exactly what we need.’”

Alongside taking ownership of its tech stack, Bayer Consumer US has a much tighter grasp on the key partnerships that help drive its marketing.

“We have directing contracts with data providers. We have ownership now of our Google stacks; [and] not just our stacks, but our instincts,” Palau said.

“We have control of all of our [social] platforms … We took all these different data sources that we had all over the place and stuck them in one dashboard. And we now have all [our] structured data in one place.”

With the new tools in operation, Palau informed the ANA assembly “we can actually check, measure, and see how performance is going.”

Sourced from WARC