CASE STUDY

HORNE Creative Group

HORNE has been in business for over 26 years and is known for their award-winning work. As a leader in communications and integrated marketing, they are committed to producing results for their clients with an omnichannel strategic approach.

Roxanna Pautienus
Vice Pres. of Client Services
HORNE Creative Group

HORNE expanded capabilities and quadrupled media spend with Bionic

The Challenge

Cloud-based tool that can aggregate data

When Roxanna Pautienus, Vice President of Client Services, took the lead of the media team, they were using spreadsheets for media planning. Knowing an Excel-based media planning “system” put her agency at a disadvantage, Roxanna set out to upgrade her system to better serve her growing roster of clients.

She started by sharing a Google drive spreadsheet with one format. The remote team was able to access the same document, but it quickly became too cumbersome.  Roxanna explains, “We would create a flight next to the publication with colored squares of status to try and map out what was running. The spreadsheet was getting gigantic.”

Every time the team had to change a dollar amount; it was a labor-intensive process. The biggest challenge was pulling data for purposes such as targeting, metrics, or costs. “It was becoming harder and harder to establish what we were spending and how the allocations broke down,” Roxanna recalls.

Holes in the marketing technology stack

As the media team examined their workflow processes, it became apparent that similar challenges extended to their communication with the account management, creative and financial teams within HORNE. Tracking budget approvals, creative asset delivery, and billing are just a few of the areas that were managed via spreadsheets and email.

HORNE had systems and platforms around account management, creative assets, and project management. They did not have a platform around media management.  Roxanna knew there were workflow challenges from a management perspective that spreadsheets did not solve like enforcing naming conventions and tagging rules, aligning work effort and status updates, and media plan task management, just to name a few.

The search and objectives for the right tool

HORNE started looking at cloud-based platforms that would help improve workflow, team collaboration, and transparency. After doing online research and speaking to other Media Directors, Roxanna created a spreadsheet of Media Planning tools capabilities pros and cons.

The objective was to have a shared platform to house their historical media plans and a place to capture their client’s metrics. Price was a significant factor, along with features and customer support. Bionic was on the list and made the final cut for a new media planning tool.

Roxanna felt, “Bionic was very cost effective and had way more capabilities than what we were doing in spreadsheets. I compared Bionic to bigger, more expensive software tools that were not receiving great reviews from other media directors. We decided to go with Bionic.”

“Bionic was very cost effective and had way more capabilities than what we were doing in spreadsheets. I compared Bionic to bigger, more expensive software tools that were not receiving great reviews from other media directors. We decided to go with Bionic.”

Immediate benefits after implementing Bionic

Roxanna and her team jumped in and quickly learned how to leverage the features of Bionic to maximize their workflow. In addition to achieving their initial objective to house their media plans and data, the team was surprised by how much they love the Allocation and Task Management features of Bionic. What HORNE’s clients love are the Flowcharts.

According to Roxanna, “They totally get it! When clients look at a large budget, it seems like a lot. But, when you break it down, month by month, they can see the spend is reasonable per tactic. Being able to put it in bite-sized chunks for the client to understand where their money is going is really helpful.”

Flowchart

“I think we have added to our capabilities. Bionic has made us look at the data in a better way so that we can really truly optimize campaigns. I think that it has made us smarter and made our strategy stronger. I’ve been able to show the improvement of our strategy year over year with clients which has added to our client’s trust to expand their media buys”

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The Solution

Reporting and KPIs

HORNE’s philosophy is to evaluate their client’s metrics continually. By doing so, they can optimize target audiences and creative to improve results. Each client wants to review the results from a different perspective. Some like a high-level overview, while others get down in the weeds. HORNE can efficiently service the individual needs of their clients because the data is in Bionic and readily available to pull in different formats.

Dozens of metrics and columns are available in Bionic, which makes it easy to get up and running on the platform. The flexibility of custom columns within the media plan – including KPIs, financial calculations, tasks, and open date, text, and picklists – allowed HORNE to drill down to what matters to their clients and capture information as part their workflow. Roxanna feels, “The more I’m in Bionic, the more I am confident in our choice. You don’t know what you don’t know until you see the benefits. I set up a column for channels, and by looking at the Allocations, I know that we are achieving an Omnichannel approach. Is doing planning in spreadsheets, giving you ways to aggregate the data so that you can see that your strategy is working? Not so much? You need Bionic.”

Real process improvements drive results

It is more incumbent on Marketers today to not only show measurement KPIs but how they are driving performance results and ultimately conversions. This is an ongoing struggle for most marketers and with the volume of digital placements, an impossible task without a cloud-based tool. HORNE has been utilizing Bionic for their client’s campaign for a couple of years. One HORNE client considers a successful conversion to be submitted job applications.

Roxanna explains, “While other metrics are important, what they really what to see is how that results in conversions. When you can tell your client – that Click-Through-Rates have increased, Cost-Per-Click has decreased, AND the Conversions have increased – that is a good story to tell. It is because, with real-time data, we have optimized the creative to perform better.”

HORNE was able to show their client the actual data, and ultimately, the return of their advertising investment. Their media spend has scaled in the last 3 years and quadrupled due to effective, proven results.

HORNE was able to show their client the actual data, and ultimately, the return of their advertising investment. Their media spend has scaled in the last 3 years and quadrupled due to effective, proven results.

Integrated Marketing has Evolved

Instead of just creating a brochure and a website, HORNE’s clients want a digital targeted media campaign, a whole social media campaign, a public relations campaign, and an earned media campaign. They used to do just the first two. “Integrated marketing, as a whole, has completely evolved. You really need to understand the data underneath, what the channels are doing, and what they are targeting.

“Now, at this point, if I didn’t have Bionic, I would not be able to build effective strategies. There are too many possibilities and too much information,” Roxanna exclaims. More importantly, she adds, “I think we have added to our capabilities. Bionic has made us look at the data in a better way so that we can really truly optimize campaigns. I think that it has made us smarter and made our strategy stronger. I’ve been able to show the improvement of our strategy year over year with clients which has added to our client’s trust to expand their media buys”.

Using spreadsheets in a digital world

Before Bionic, HORNE’s media team would go back and forth with the accounting team to create Insertion Orders (IOs) by hand. With their omnichannel approach, that encompassed many vendors and platforms to keep track of billing and orders. Some budget items were invoiced, some costs were spread across clients and charged to a credit card. It was challenging not to cross wires when managing the variety and volume of placements with multiple spreadsheets by hand.

After implementing Bionic, HORNE worked with their Client Success Manager to customize the Insertion Order that Bionic automatically generates as a by-product of the media plan. By customizing the output document with everything from terms, branding, and data, the accounting team was able to include the information they required to align with their financial systems and workflow.

In addition to gaining hours spent in tedious meetings, accounting can claim, “Last year we were completely accurate to the dollar for what we were getting billed, projected revenue and costs going out the door.” An Insertion Order for every vendor in the media plan is created by simply clicking download.

Not all project management is equal

“We do all media management in Bionic. These tasks have to be with the media buy, and I run media like its own little shop. It is just a separate piece. You can do your overall schedule and budget in something else, but in terms of the day to day tasks, I use Bionic.” The team customized tasks to integrate into their process and allow for remote collaboration.

Once you understand your process, it takes minutes to name the tasks in a way that works. The team feels, “We have figured out a way to use the task feature to track placements, insertion orders, and creative deliverables. The tasks are one of the most important tools.”

Roxanna adds, “Now I know that I can sleep at night. My team is going to get reminders for placements that are running next and what IOs need to be updated.”

Task Management

Working with the Bionic team

It is essential to know that you really have the support you need to be successful. Roxanna can attest, “Your customer service is amazing. We come with good ideas and ask a lot of hard questions. Our client success manager always takes it back to the development team. I think that is invaluable and there are a lot of products out there that will not do that.”

Ultimately, she feels, “I knew we had to invest in our business and process to grow. As we have grown in the last two years, I can see now that if I hadn’t established Bionic, we would not be in a stable place to grow. We would not be benefiting our clients working from spreadsheets. That is not how you can do media anymore and doing what is best for the client is our number one priority.”

“I knew we had to invest in our business and process to grow. As we have grown in the last two years, I can see now that if I hadn’t established Bionic, we would not be in a stable place to grow. We would not be benefiting our clients working from spreadsheets. That is not how you can do media anymore and doing what is best for the client is our number one priority.”

Request a Demo to learn more about scaling your media buying workflow.

Request a Demo