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Bridging startups’ advertising gap with skills and matched funding


TV might be the most popular medium for equity deals, but outdoor and print media owners have also staked a claim.

In our second live talk at Media Capital show with JCDecaux's Nurture team - Joe Hills and Connie (Constanze) Zehentmeier, we discussed bridging startups’ advertising gap with skills and matched funding in other words - JCDecaux’s specialised investment programme Nurture. JCDecaux is a global industry leader in out-of-home advertising. Their startup programme, Nurture, works cross sectors and industries with clients ranging from FMCG brands such as Minor Figures to B2B clients such as Superscript and everything in between. Their main focus is startups from the seed stage to post-Series B.

Joe is the Head of JCDecaux’s Nurture programme. Connie is the Lead Partner in this programme for startups and scale-ups which has supported over 250 of the Uk's fastest-growing in the last three years. She is passionate about giving those brands a voice in the real world through the power of Out-of-Home advertising, growing brand awareness, trust and importantly sales. 

  • Nurture has been around for 6 years, working with hundreds of startups. For anyone that hasn't heard of Nurture before, can you tell us a bit more about the program and how you partner with these companies? (01:40 - 04:19)
  • Do you think that such an initiative is for every company? I haven't seen or haven't heard of other digital out-of-home companies doing this. So I'm curious what you think and why don't we see, for example, other companies potentially doing this or kind of dipping their toe in the world of venture? (04:34 - 06:08)
  • Where do you start and what that process looks like, from an initial meeting with the startup to negotiating the campaign, potentially booking it and kind of seeing the rewards after that? (06:10 - 10:52)
  • What could Nurture bring to investors or a VC? What are the tangible things you've seen from running campaigns in the past that really helped these companies and implicitly their investors? (11:02 - 14:49)
  • Are there any other examples of less typical founders or business models or industries that you've worked with, and you felt like you worked particularly well for them? (16:09 - 17:39)
  • How do you approach a company? How do you know, for example, how much a startup should be spending on a specific campaign? How do you price essentially that media value? (17:40 - 19:54)
  • What would be the minimum or maximum amount that you would allocate to a campaign? Is there such a thing as a ticket size? (19:55 - 22:21)
  • Are there any specific channels, you've seen that work far greater when combined with digital out-of-home, or in fact, the other way around? And also, are there any, immediate implications or impacts on digital spend? For example, we've seen with TV, sometimes it actually could lead to optimization of costs on digital spend. (22:24 - 25:34)
  • Are there any industries that you don't necessarily look at or feel like it wouldn't necessarily work for out-of-home? (26:17 -27:30)
  • Was there any example where you've done a cross-country campaign? Can you tell us how that went? Another question is - if there is a company that would fit, for example, the French market better or other markets - how is that synergy between your teams? How does it work? (27:40 - 30:17)
  • Let me give you an example: A marketplace ran a media for equity campaign in Spain, although their headquarter is in France. The campaign helped them with the search engine, optimize that search and position in search. They've seen an uplift in France, although they essentially didn't run that campaign. Have you received any similar feedback from founders that you’ve worked with? (30:43 - 34:18)
  • I want to move quickly to what is happening right now in venture because obviously, you work with startups. These companies - the majority of them do rely on venture capital investments. Joe, what's your view on the market right now? Have you seen any impact? Or have you got any feedback from the current portfolio of companies that you're working with? What are your expectations, essentially, from this market in the months to come? (35:11 - 38:10)
  • Is anything exciting coming up this year or do you have a specific target number of companies that you would like to work with? Are any specific initiatives that you feel like they're specifically important for people to hear about? (39:50 -41:54)
  • What kind of areas, technologies or sectors excites you most and potentially, you might be looking at partnering with in the months to come? (42:24 - 44:12)
  • What are the biggest mistakes that you've seen founders make, either when they work with you or when they come to you in the first place? (47:10 - 50:00)

Diana: Joe, why don't we start with you? Nurture has been around for 6 years, working with hundreds of startups. For anyone that hasn't heard of Nurture before, can you tell us a bit more about the program and how you partner with these companies? (01:40 - 04:19)

Joe: Sure. Nurture is our referral lead data and scale-up program at JCDecaux - the world's largest outdoor advertising company. We have billboards and digital screens, in cities in over 80 countries worldwide. 

But as I say, Nurture is our referral lead startup program. It's a program we launched in the UK six years ago. We have launched it for many reasons: the main one was that back in 2015, what we're beginning to see was lots and lots of startups show an appetite to want to use out-of-home advertising to build their brands, but they often lacked the resource to get the most from what it can deliver. There were many startups wanting to use it, but they weren't necessarily getting it right precisely when they couldn't afford to get it wrong

And at the same time, what was happening was companies like Zoopla were coming into the mix and suddenly spending millions of pounds on things like outdoor advertising. But they'd only been around for a few years and we'd only just heard of them. So we wanted to find a way to work with Zoopla and deliver the ruse of tomorrow but at a much earlier stage, to make sure that they get the most from the outdoor advertising and to make sure that it works as hard as it can for much earlier stage businesses. 

The other thing just to add on that - we really wanted to get our solution right when it comes to supporting startups, is that whilst JCDecaux goes in over 80 markets now, we remain a family-run business. 

We were founded by Jean-Claude Decaux, hence the name. When he was just 18 years old, his parents owned a shoe shop. One day they left him in charge for a couple of weeks, and he began to put up posters around the town where the shoe shop was, to try and drive footfall to the store. It worked so well that he began to do that at scale. However, the French authorities made it illegal. So like any good entrepreneur, undeterred, this prompted him to invent the first-ever bus shelter. The concept was simple. He would build bus shelters to keep citizens dry for the right to be able to advertise to them. 

This is how the JCDecaux business model, which still operates today, was born. And the reason I say all of that is because one of the main reasons we created Nurture was to reflect this entrepreneurial DNA and give back to early-stage businesses.

Diana: Do you think that such an initiative is for every company? I haven't seen or haven't heard of other digital out-of-home companies doing this. So I'm curious what you think and why don't we see, for example, other companies potentially doing this or kind of dipping their toe in the world of venture? (04:34 - 06:08)

Joe: It's not without challenges, but it has been a rewarding journey. We've worked with over 300 startups from all sorts of sectors and different stages. I think you will begin to see more and more media companies across all channels, considering: what is their startup solution and how they start to work with earliest-stage businesses in a more meaningful way. 

As we enter a recession or a potential recession, it is always an opportunity, when more startups are built than ever. I think more companies across the media landscape are considering what is their solution to work with the Zooplas, the Ubers of tomorrow. I think there will be more. 

But for me, I guess the key to the success of Nurture has been that we have put the needs of the startups first. And that's how we've built the program ground up: we consulted founders and CMOS, and I worked with startups to figure out what can we do that makes a difference.

Diana: Where do you start and what that process looks like, from an initial meeting with the startup to negotiating the campaign, potentially booking it and kind of seeing the rewards after that? (06:10 - 10:52)

Connie: I think we should first touch on who we work with and then go on to more detail about what we do with Nurture. We work with a broad range of companies. But Joe touched on the fact that most of the startups and scaleups who work with us come from referrals. 

Often those referrals come through VCs, our partner network, or founders we've worked with. If a VC invests in a startup, usually it means they've done a lot of due diligence. So in a way, we don't need to do it anymore. But secondly, what's super important is: those startups and scale-ups already have product market fit, they've probably already done a lot of digital marketing, they have tested a few different creatives on social media, they got to know the audience and they now want to look at really changing up their marketing mix, and maybe testing above-the-line for the first time. 

The program we've come up with is super educational, but most importantly, it is built on the feedback that we got from these companies who are at the right stage of testing above-the-line. The right stage can mean very different things to different brands. We work with anything from the seed stage to post-Series B and across different sectors: tech, fintech, FMCG brands, and B2B businesses. It's super broad.

Joe: Can you go into a bit of an overview of how we actually help the companies on a practical level, Connie?

Connie: Once they come to us: we have conversations about figuring out if it's the right thing to do for the brand because we want to work with the right brands at the right time. 

Concretely, we offer support in 4 ways. The first one is with the creatives because we have realised how important the creative is for a successful campaign. We have a lot of guidance on how to do creative for out-of-home but we also offer access to a very specific tool that we developed called the visual measurement tool, which allows companies to run several different creatives through this tool, which is designed to look at where people's attention would land if it was a billboard in the real world. So it's all about optimising that creative to grab attention if it was to be a real campaign.

Secondly, it's all about planning, insight and data. As JCDecaux is a huge global company, we have a lot of datasets: both general datasets that understand how people behave, where they live, where they work, and then specific datasets that allow us to plan for out-of-home. We give this to all startups and scaleups. We work with access to those datasets to make sure that we plan really audience-driven campaigns, of course, alongside the data the startup might have offered to existing customers.

And then thirdly, we investment-match. It's one of the biggest parts of the program, slightly different to media for equity is that we double whatever startups' media spend with us, and crucially, we do so without taking equity. The reason is that we see the value in working with startups and scale-ups in the long term. We hope it gives them a chance to invest in out-of-home, for the first time, maybe do a test, learn from the medium, see how it works for their brand, and then scale over years to come. We do that for 12 months of working with a startup. 

Lastly, the fourth pillar is referrals to our ecosystem. Over the years, we built a strong ecosystem of VCs, who mentioned other ways of funding, as well as partners with office space and data. We've got a varied network, and the whole idea is to make introductions and add value to the startups.

Diana: I think this type of investor is quite a rare breed across both the UK and Europe. What could Nurture bring, for example, to investors or a VC? What are the tangible things you've seen from running campaigns in the past that really helped these companies and implicitly their investors? (11:02 - 14:49)

Joe: I think from an investor perspective, ultimately, by matching the startup's media spend with us, we make their investment go further. That's it in its purest sense. If a VC is investing in a startup and a large percentage of their investment is going on marketing spend for that startup, we'll make that spend go a lot further. We'll make that spin work harder.

Taking it a step further: we have relationships with over 40 VCs in the UK that have referred at least one or two of their portfolio through to Nurture, and some have referred many more. For the ones with whom we have a close working relationship, we've hosted portfolio days alongside other media owners, for example, to take that education first approach, to make sure that the marketing teams or the founding teams within their portfolio are well-versed as to what to look out for when they begin exploring above-the-line marketing. 

That's how we can work with VCs. And in turn, we've helped VCs with their deal flow, because we're exposed to really promising startups and scale-ups every single week. And so we refer them back through to our network of VCs when they're looking for investment. So the whole thing with VCs is this reciprocal circle of referrals. 

On the startup side, perhaps we share a few examples of tangible results we've seen. From an FMCG perspective, that would be someone like Minor Figures, the oat milk brand, we worked with them when they were a much smaller business. We worked with them, just as the first lockdown was easing. And we did a small-scale test in Hackney, as they pivoted their business and built a DTC site to their business to deal with the challenges of lockdown. And they saw a three-fold increase in web traffic during their campaign and their rate of sale in retail more than doubled. That would be an example on the FMCG side.

More on the tech side, companies like Weezy. We worked with them when they were a team of about five people. They were a tiny business at the time, they ran on 10 posters. They were so small that one of the team members was featured as the main character in the poster, holding a bag of groceries. I love the example of Weezy because we worked with them from this point to when they were acquired by Getir. Getir was valued back in January at 12 billion pounds. So that just shows the journey that that we have been on, but it was great to work with them from that very beginning stage and to see some of the results that we were able to achieve for them.

Diana: These two examples, I think there are more consumer-facing companies. Are there any other examples of less typical founders or business models or industries that you've worked with, and you felt like you worked particularly well for them? (16:09 - 17:39)

Connie: I've got a good example of a B2B company. Generally speaking, out-of-home was mainly used by direct-to-consumer brands. When we started Nurture, that worked a lot. 

But over the last 12 to 18 months, we've seen a huge increase of B2B companies starting to do out-of-home or above-the-line in general, and one that we've been working with for the past three years in Nurture is Superscript. It's a B2B insurance business that offers flexible insurance, mainly to SMEs in the UK. What they've realised is that out-of-home was all about driving brand awareness, ad awareness and consideration, but really what it also drives is their online channels. 

They used that out-of-home with quite a bold creative because it's all about getting the customers curious about the brand. At the same time, they normally run a digital campaign that gives more information about their product because, with something like insurance, there's quite a bit of consideration involved. This way, by having the two channels combined they saw great results, so they keep coming back to out-of-home as well.

Diana: How do you approach a company? How do you know, for example, how much a startup should be spending on a specific campaign? How do you price essentially that media value? (17:40 - 19:54)

Joe:  I think in terms of how we approach them, as Connie mentioned, like the vast majority of the companies that we work with, almost all of them come by referral. And the vast majority of referrals come from either VCs or other founders that we have already worked with. We are usually approached, it's that way around.

In terms of how we figure out what is the right solution for their business - it's entirely bespoke and one-to-one. It's not a one size fits all approach. We try to get under the skin of where is the business at right now, where they need to get to and what role should marketing play within that. Then what we will advise them on - is a realistic level of spend marketing, spend that they need to put behind any given campaign, which we will then match to achieve what they need to achieve. How we come up with what that spend level is based on experience. 

As I said, we've worked with over 300 startups now. We've got much better at understanding how we plan startup-focused campaigns. To be honest, that's been a real journey for us from the very beginning stages when we just wanted to work with everyone and try and help everyone regardless of budget, but we didn't know that maybe a 5000-pound investment wasn't enough, even with us doubling it to produce a return. We've got much better at that. Experience and planning campaigns with measurement in mind have enabled us to do that. We can plan campaigns in a way that it's much easier to measure. We can test, learn and scale with our approach.

Diana: What would be the minimum or maximum amount that you would allocate to a campaign? Is there such a thing as a ticket size? (19:55 - 22:21)

Joe: Firstly, it does depend on what the objectives are because you can do something clever and tactical, that costs a few thousand pounds. It could be a handful of locations directly outside someone that could be your biggest customer. 

I often use the example of Welwyn Garden City train station where Tesco's head office is. If you're a new food brand, that's desperate to get started at Tesco, you could take a handful of sites at that station, and that's going to cost very little. 

But in terms of a brand awareness driving campaign, sort of pure standard sort of use case for out-of-home, then you're looking at an investment of 20K+ somewhere in that region, which we would then match. 

In terms of maximum, fortunately, we haven't hit that point yet. I think that we're pushing on it, with some businesses, which is brilliant. But ultimately, if we see the long-term benefit in supporting a business through all of the value that we provide, through Nurture, if we believe that they're going to make it big globally, then we're prepared to match whatever they spend with us in that first four-month period. So there is no maximum.

Connie: We witnessed great examples. Some brands were running slightly smaller campaigns, first outside of London, measuring the results with brand tracking, and then they ran a bigger scale campaign in London, later on, with more budget. I think that's a good approach for startups to take.

Another thing more brands are doing is thinking a bit more long-term. After that initial test, startups start thinking about a yearly plan: how it ties in with all other marketing activities and whether will there be three or four bursts throughout the year. That allows them to plan better, build the brand and help with the budgeting.

Diana: Are there any specific channels, you've seen that work far greater when combined with digital out-of-home, or in fact, the other way around? And also, are there any, immediate implications or impacts on digital spend? For example, we've seen with TV, sometimes it actually could lead to optimization of costs on digital spend. (22:24 - 25:34)

Joe: All media channels are complementary. In an ideal world, you'd be running a 360 campaign across all channels all the time. 

But a few examples that we see work well, time and time again, are mobile and out-of-home. We often refer to mobile as the private screen and out-of-home as the public screen. The beauty of digital art fame, in particular, is that we're able to ensure that you display your advert on the public screen when people are spending more time out-of-home, and in turn, you can optimize your mobile campaign when people are consuming more mobile. What that enables you to do is ensure that you're always displaying on the optimum channel to reach your customer at the right time, at the right place, and with a relevant message. 

The synergy between the two is mega. We're seeing the two planned in a swap smart way increasing now, where people are making the most of the flexibility that digital out-of-home provides.  

TV and out-of-home - they've always worked well together. Again, similarly, when you're watching TV, you're at home, aren't you? Whereas with the out-of-home, that's when you're outdoors. They always produce incremental results when working together as opposed to in silos.

Connie: We've done a lot of research on how seeing out-of-home first affects the time you're looking at an ad on your mobile phone. 

Very interestingly, it means that people who have seen your brand run out-of-home, when you retarget them on their social media - they pay more attention, they look at your ad for longer and that translates into increased brand awareness and consideration, etc. So it's a powerful tool to combine both of those.

Diana: Are there any industries that you don't necessarily look at or feel like it wouldn't necessarily work for out-of-home? (26:17 -27:30)

Joe: From my perspective, out-of-home works when you're trying to target lots of people. So if it's B2B, it works if you're targeting freelancers or startups or SMEs, but it doesn't work if you're targeting the enterprise. We wouldn't recommend out-of-home for B2B companies targeting enterprises as potential customers - it doesn't make sense. The main thing that we look for is scalable companies. We support startups but not local SMEs. We're looking for either startups at their inflexion point or scale-ups that are going to go national and international quite quickly, as opposed to local SMEs that might open a branch of whatever it is in one specific town. That's not the type of company we're looking to support.

Diana: Was there any example where you've done a cross-country campaign? Can you tell us how that went? Another question is - if there is a company that would fit, for example, the French market better or other markets - how is that synergy between your teams? How does it work? (27:40 - 30:17)

Joe: Nurtures live in 12 markets across three continents. We have a lead in each market - a local lead operating and leading each market. For example, if in February, a client wants to go live in another market, then we would refer them to the lead in that market. But also, we ensure that if it's a multi-market campaign, and we have numerous examples of multi-market campaigns, then we're all planning cohesively. The plan and the campaign in the UK in supporting the campaign and the strategy in France, Germany, the US or wherever else. Connie, could you give a couple of examples, of international campaigns?

Connie: I think there are two very good examples. One was in Europe, and that was Ecosia. It's a search engine that plants trees. So every time you search the internet, trees get planted automatically. We run a campaign with them in the UK, France, Germany, in the Netherlands. It wasn't just the multi-market campaign, it was also multi-channel, not just digitally, but also on TV. We've done a lot of research on how out-of-home and TV work together. The result was that if you have both together, it's really powerful. You have greater results than if you just run either TV or out-of-home. 

Another one was Yubo. We ran a campaign with them in the UK, Australia and the US. They're a social media app for teenagers. They did some smart campaigns in all the markets, both in terms of targeting, in proximity to schools and colleges and then also choosing a certain time of the day - the beginning and the end of the day when kids go into school or leave school.

Diana: Let me give you an example: A marketplace ran a media for equity campaign in Spain, although their headquarter is in France. The campaign helped them with the search engine, optimize that search and position in search. They've seen an uplift in France, although they essentially didn't run that campaign. Have you received any similar feedback from founders that you’ve worked with? (30:43 - 34:18)

Joe: You mentioned earlier that Nurture removes the barrier to entry. It makes out-of-home more testable, more scalable, and more trial-level. What we've seen and heard as feedback from founders, and normally what we see is that they will test a market first. How we plan and advise on testing, enables them to rigorously try and understand the role that out-of-home plays in one market first and then scale that approach internationally. 

Connie: A lot of the campaigns do go viral online. Sometimes we indeed have an effect that is not just visible in whichever city or country you've gone live in because a lot of times campaigns are taken, images are taken and put on LinkedIn and social media.

Joe: That's a good point. We're seeing more campaigns than ever go viral. I think that's one of the unique points with out-of-home - its real-world presence, the cut-through and stand-out that it provides brands as a result of that, it is arresting when you see good artwork in the real world.

Startup teams are often really proud when they see their business in the real world for the very first time take photo sharing, particularly when there's a provocative message, a message that means something behind the campaign. We're seeing campaigns go viral time and time again because it's the best channel when it comes to really making your voice as a brand heard and standing for something. We see more of that now.

Connie: And those results sometimes are super surprising. Some of the brands going viral can mean so many things. For some, it meant starting conversations with brochures they maybe want to be stocked in; for some media picked it up, so they ended up being on Sky News and talking about the campaign; for some, it's a meeting with an investor who maybe seen it and then got in touch. Of course, we don't plan those campaigns for that. We plan them for the campaign objective, whatever that might be. But it's amazing when we see those added results. I guess that just happened because out-of-home is everywhere and you never know who sees it.

Diana: I want to move quickly to what is happening right now in venture because obviously, you work with startups. These companies - the majority of them do rely on venture capital investments. Joe, what's your view on the market right now? Have you seen any impact? Or have you got any feedback from the current portfolio of companies that you're working with? What are your expectations, essentially, from this market in the months to come? (35:11 - 38:10)

Joe: I think now it's a challenging space for startups looking to raise investment, but it's a challenging space for investors as well. As a result, what we've seen is investors and VCs are perhaps more risk-averse than they have been for the past couple of years. They're more likely to be investing in follow-on rounds, investing in their existing portfolio. 

We've seen the effects of that directly. We've seen customers of ours, brands that we work with that have already raised investment, about doubling down on their spending with us once they recognise and see the role that out-of-home plays, but there are fewer new customers, perhaps coming forward, new brands trialling out-of-home because the startups at the earliest stages of the journey are struggling to raise investment to begin with because startups as their investors are favouring investing in their existing portfolio as a safer place first. 

That's a trend that we've seen translate directly into the types and stages of companies that we've seen coming through Nurture. But I also think it's a really interesting opportunity for alternative finance. That could be Nurture or media for equity because all startups are being challenged now more than ever to extend their runway, but at the same time, they need to demonstrate growth in an increasingly competitive investment landscape. 

What we offer is an alternative route whereby, we've removed that barrier to entry we provide real efficiency and cost efficiency when it comes to growth, marketing, and brand building through Nurture, and also the media for equity program. The role that both Nurture and media for equity play, is more crucial than ever, because of what's happening in the investing landscape, but also because brands need to stand out more than ever when consumers are watching their pennies more than ever. 

In my mind, it's a challenging market right now. But I think it's potentially a bit of a perfect storm for alternative finance if we want to call it that.

Diana: Is anything exciting coming up this year or do you have a specific target number of companies that you would like to work with? Are any specific initiatives that you feel like they're specifically important for people to hear about? (39:50 -41:54)

Connie: I think there are some events that we're pretty excited about. Maybe Joe can touch on that. But otherwise, our main objective is always to work with the right startups at the right time. What we want to do is support them where we can rather than forcing it on them and then later see them go out of business. So absolutely, that's our priority.

Joe: The event is Blue Earth Summit, taking place in Bristol in October. We're excited to partner with the organizing team of Blue Earth Summit. It's going to be a huge summit bringing together 10,000+ influential people all focused on how can we improve the impact that we have on our planet and businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

But for me, the slightly off-the-wall KPI for this year is to try and catch as many selfies of founders in front of a billboard with their business on it for the first time as possible. I want to see as many of those as possible because, for me, that's the magic of what we do. That's hard to quantify. But it is magic. 

That moment gets me out of bed in the morning and an 18-month-old baby. If we can capture loads of those and share those, I think they really speak for themselves those moments.

Diana: What kind of areas, technologies or sectors excites you most and potentially, you might be looking at partnering with in the months to come? (42:24 - 44:12)

Joe: The technologies and sectors that excite me the most are solutions that are designed to improve people's mental well-being. I think we've recognized now, more than ever, that looking after one's mental health is critical. I think there will be more and more technologies and brilliant startups emerging in that space. I'm always interested in hearing about technological solutions in this mental health space.

Connie: I guess somewhat similar. While we work with all kinds of startups to scale-ups, we can also choose the ones that we love and have a chat with them and try working with them. 

I love working with Femtech businesses, or just female-founded businesses. I'm a woman, and I found that super empowering. Speaking to these inspiring founders, on a personal level is just absolutely amazing. There are so many great founders out there.

I think more and more businesses realise you can make money and run a business, but also have a positive impact on the world, whether it's environmental or people or quality. We help those businesses grow, and scale and hopefully, by doing that, we make the world a little bit of a better place. 

Diana: Any big trends coming up in the world of advertising, specifically out-of-home? Anything else that you're looking at: measurements or use of AI or any other cool tech that we should all watch? (44:15 - 47:06)

Joe: The biggest development in out-of-home is the ability to buy and deliver out-of-home programmatically. In real terms, it means we can dictate what plays when and where on any of our screens based on any trigger or variable. 

An example would be Starbucks running a creative which says: "Coming out of the rain" on the digital screen when it's chucking it down directly outside one of their cafes. It's the agility of out-of-home, and that's the opportunity that programmatic provides. 

That's enabling us to move further down the marketing funnel as well. As we've mentioned, there's the perception that out-of-home is great at building brand awareness. It is, and it still does that. But when you can be reactive and implement these triggers, it can work more like a pure acquisition channel.

Connie: I don't know if it's a trend, but one thing we keep being asked about is QR codes. I do think it's worth a mention because we get that question all the time. 

There is a great desire to connect the out-of-home with your mobile screen, but we just said it needs to be a creative journey. Yes, QR codes can work, but only if you give people a reason to scan them. 

If it's simply a QR code to lead the consumer to your website, then you're better off probably just having an amazing creative. So just be careful because there is no good way of measuring it. If you think about how often people scan the QR code on a billboard, it's probably never or maybe once. So the percentage is very small, except when you give them a reason that is creative and enticing.

Joe: The only other thing to add is that cookies are due eventually to be abolished. That's going to make retargeting and targeting online even more difficult. 

I think that presents an interesting opportunity for out-of-home because of its priming capabilities, which we touched on before. That's going to have an impact on all offline channels.

Diana: What are the biggest mistakes that you've seen founders make, either when they work with you or when they come to you in the first place? (47:10 - 50:00)

Joe: The first one that I see founders make, from time to time, is not planning media and advertising strategically, but executing on an ad hoc basis. What I mean by that is not necessarily thinking: this is where our business is now, this is where we need to get to in six months, what role does marketing play within that, and then building a strategy around that - instead of just thinking: there's this opportunity to get some cheap inventory, let's go for it, even if the creative isn't necessarily the brand identity that they want to deploy in three months. 

The impact of that is, first off, if you're not planning strategically, it's not aligned with your target audience or what you're trying to achieve in terms of campaign objectives but also, especially creatively, if you haven't got your creative, right, the media won't perform as well as it could do.

If you go live with a creative just because you need to get something up and out within a week, then three months down the line you recognise that creative was poor. You have to start from scratch, again with building awareness and an ad recall. So even if you're at the very beginning of your journey, think as long term as you possibly can, rather than doing things spur of the moment because they feel like good value at the time.

Connie: The last point to add, going back to the all-important question of budget. We have realised over time that we can't and don't want to help everyone too early because it's not beneficial. 

It's been honest from our side - what can you achieve with which budgets or when we advise on not doing out-of-home too early. Realistically, if it's 5 or 10K in London, for example, it's a drop in the ocean. It's not going to deliver a huge increase in website traffic, sales or whatever app downloads, depending on the kind of brand you are. So yes, sometimes it is better to hold off and then do a proper out-of-home test that proves the concept of what the medium can do for your brand.

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