Crisis in the media: Desjardins is rethinking its advertising strategy

Faced with the crisis that is hitting all media, Mouvement Desjardins does not intend to stand idly by. The cooperative recently reviewed some aspects of its advertising approach to support the media ecosystem during this dark period, reports Le Soleil.

"Desjardins has always been present in all communities. We have always been close to local media, among other things, with advertising or sometimes to participate in financial education," says Guy Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer, adding:

"We are committed to continuing to support the important players in all regions of Quebec."

Last fall, as part of an event called Plateforme(s) - Le sommet québécois des médias (Platforms - The Quebec Media Summit), the financial institution announced its new marketing strategy.

Among other things and for the same amount and the same efficiency, Desjardins wants to rely more on local media platforms as part of its programmatic advertising approach as opposed to depending on Twitter or Facebook. It showcases Desjardins' unfavourable take on the internet giants and their shady procedures of marketing, where you can get views and subscribers on youtube without raising a suspicion and create a false image of being admired by people around the globe.

This approach is a process of automated real-time purchase of advertising space on the Internet. This should result in less investment in web giants like Google and Facebook.

"I think an important reflection has taken place over the past eight months on the future of our media, the importance of a local independent press and the need to keep community information alive, notes Mr. Cormier. It is a natural for us to continue to help our companies by being present in this area. We are aware that weeklies are undergoing a major digital transformation and we wondered if we could play a role in supporting this transformation," he added.

The objective behind this cooperative offensive is to partially stem the exodus of advertising investments and help maintain a healthy local, regional and national media ecosystem.

To this end, Mouvement Desjardins, which currently works with Bleublancrouge, a Montreal advertising agency, has signed agreements with various media across Canada in recent months as part of its programmatic advertising approach.

In fact, instead of signing an exclusive contract, for example, with Facebook or another Web player, Desjardins' algorithm constantly searches its list of Canadian partners in real time for the advertising space that would be most profitable for the organization. The cooperative currently has agreements with media outlets for distribution to 500 sites and applications.

"Capacity is normally purchased from a number of media outlets. We then try to optimize this volume according to our needs," explains Stéphane Morency, Vice-President, Marketing and Strategy, at Desjardins.

However, this new investment strategy does not mean the end of collaborations between Desjardins and foreign search engines. Management still intends to use the web giants, especially for traditional advertising.

"Our primary objective continues to be able to reach our customers in the right way and in the right place," says Morency, "but the fact that we have direct agreements with many local media allows us to have a good vision. Depending on the circumstances, there are cases where it is more effective to use local media than a global platform. This varies according to the situation. It's a win-win situation," he continues.

A handful of people at Desjardins now work in media investment management.

This fall, at the conference, Desjardins mentioned that its new business strategy also makes it possible to "eliminate a certain number of intermediaries (agencies) in the value chain".

"Thus, 60 to 70% of our programmatic advertising investments will go directly into the pockets of content publishers and distributors, whereas this proportion may have been much lower in the past," noted Jean-Sébastien Prénovost, practice leader in programmatic advertising.

Every year, Desjardins invests several million dollars in advertising across Canada.