Billboard Insider – A Special Interview with Howard Greiner, President of Buntin Out-of-Home Media

Agency Profile: Buntin Out-of-Home Media

Buntin Out-of-Home Media is a privately held out-of-home agency headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The company was founded in 1987. People think of Buntin as “the Cracker Barrel agency,” but it’s more than that, as you’ll hear in today’s interview with 28-year-out-of-home veteran and Buntin Out-of-Home Media President Howard Greiner.

Howard, how did Buntin get involved with the out-of-home business?

We were born out of The Buntin Group, Tennessee’s largest Brand and Communications firm and a leading Southeast agency recognized for their work. They had a client who managed the out-of-home business themselves and needed help. We were created from that opportunity.

Give us an overview of Buntin Out-of-Home Media and its clients.

Buntin is known as the Cracker Barrel out-of-home agency, and we are very proud of that. Very few agencies have a Hall of Fame winner, 18 years of uninterrupted client relationship, were there at the very beginning of the company’s growth, created the company logo, led strategic execution of one of the largest OOH programs in the country, and is recognized for helping to drive sales and traffic to more than 643 Cracker Barrel restaurants in 44 states. Other client categories we represent beyond restaurant include retail, gaming/lottery, travel/tourism, insurance, healthcare, financial and services.

The platform we created, GeoTrak®, and the tools therein, empower our ability to continue to optimize Cracker Barrel’s nationwide program in an ever-changing OOH environment. The data and market intelligence we have gathered over 17 years is invaluable to our success. We can deploy the tools we have created for all of our clients across diverse OOH plans.

We were OOH agency of record for Burger King for six years, planning, buying and executing multi-format promotional OOH campaigns in more than 80 DMAs. The quality of our work and the confidence gained from the franchisees earned us a seat at the planning table to secure front-end budgets, not post-broadcast/digital leftover funds.

We plan and execute promotional, branding and experiential campaigns for our clients. We support grand openings, competitive blunting strategies, new product launches, retail-centric OOH strategies as well as large-scale directional campaigns.

We created our own version of SQAD seven years ago, called BOARD™, or “Buntin Outdoor Advertising Rates & Data.” We have pre-negotiated rates across formats and DMAs stored in our GeoTrak® database that are updated. We can plan multi-format OOH campaigns across dozens of DMAs with a few clicks of the mouse. The entire GeoPath ratings database is integrated within GeoTrak®. For Burger King, our plans were submitted to the client weeks before the rest of the media… a distinction not lost on the client.

How do you think out-of-home buying will change over the next five years?

OOH buying will change significantly in two areas over the next five years, as it has for us over the last five.… the speed of business and data integration. And the thing is you can’t have the former without being able to leverage the latter.

The integration of mobile data and other client and third-party data into OOH ratings will elevate the medium to compete for media budgets through data. The ability to geo-target is compelling, but this very definition sells the OOH opportunity short. Through data integration and GeoTrak®, we have elevated our use of data to deliver what we call “Geo-Behavioral Targeting.”

You’re developing an interesting product to automate out-of-home buying. Talk about it.

We developed GeoTrak® 17 years ago to do then what the out-of-home industry is doing today… improve the speed of business through data integration. In its earliest phases, GeoTrak® contained mapping, exit services data, client location and POIs, and vendor locations secured directly from OOH companies and through our monthly market rides. This data allowed us to understand the OOH landscape with hyper-accuracy and improved the speed of business by not being reliant on the vendors for the inventory data. Other tools allowed us to develop proposals, issue contracts, order and manage production, manage posting, maintenance and post-buy reporting – all through GeoTrak®.

Fast forward to today, and GeoTrak’s® data integration engine serves as an import tool for any geo-spatial / shape-file data set to be integrated into the mapping software. Whether its custom sales or CRM data by trade zone, third-party, demographic or purchase data, these, along with mobile data to validate audience exposure likelihood to inventory; we can target “geo-behaviors” with precision and bring confidence in the contribution of OOH to KPIs through exposed/unexposed geo-behavioral attribution studies. We’re in the middle of a test with one client right now and seeing very good attribution results based on our approach. We also have developed an API data feed with one major OOH company that removes significant friction in the posting/post-buy stewardship. Rates and availability are currently fed into GeoTrak®.

The sophistication and functionality of GeoTrak® has allowed us to expand from our core offering of OOH only to add a broader channel strategy capability of mobile, digital and print to deliver a holistic hyper-local channel strategy expertise.

Our new business pipeline is evidence of the recognition by advertisers that data-driven OOH plans can be an important component of a diverse channel strategy. It’s the latest iteration of how we’re innovating our capabilities to deliver on our mission of “Precision Placement That Moves People and Business.”

Buntin Out-of-Home Media

Headquarters: 716 Division Street, Nashville, TN 37203

Phone: 615-244-5720