It’s a golden age of mar­ket­ing. Tech­nol­ogy gives un­matched reach and mea­sure­ment – and it’s only im­prov­ing. But is cre­ativ­ity keep­ing up?

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION -

“Mar­ket­ing fun­da­men­tals have re­mained the same, but the way they are de­liv­ered has changed”

“One of the tasks for our in­dus­tries is to re­alise the po­ten­tial of cre­ative,” said Mars Pet­care chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Jane Wakely on the im­por­tance of bridging the gap be­tween cre­ative and pro­gram­matic.

Pro­gram­matic ad­ver­tis­ing found it­self in the spot­light at Cannes, as the dis­ci­pline that has dom­i­nated head­lines took cen­tre stage once more. At a lunch hosted by Cam­paign and pro­gram­matic spe­cial­ist The Ex­change Lab, se­nior mar­keters and pro­gram­matic ex­perts dis­cussed how to progress pro­gram­matic to­gether in an hon­est and for­ward­think­ing de­bate.

The im­por­tance of pro­gram­matic to the mod­ern mar­keter can­not be over­stated. Some 80% of dig­i­tal dis­play ads are now run via pro­gram­matic ad­ver­tis­ing.

Pos­si­bil­i­ties cre­ated by new tech make this the “most ex­cit­ing time to be in mar­ket­ing”, ac­cord­ing to John Ru­daizky, part­ner of global brand at EY. “We are liv­ing in a su­per­fluid world where overnight mar­kets can shift in an in­stant.”


David Ro­man, CMO and se­nior VP at Len­ovo, agreed that to­day is the “golden age of mar­ket­ing”. He said: “The role of the mar­keter has re­ally changed thanks to the com­bi­na­tion of the tools we have, and the at­ti­tude of our con­sumers who want to have a re­la­tion­ship with the brand.”

“The tools we have are bet­ter than at any other stage,” said Sam Fay, se­nior VP of global brand strat­egy at Guin­ness World Records. “While mar­ket­ing fun­da­men­tals have re­mained the same, the way they are be­ing de­liv­ered has changed and will con­tinue to change.”

“Tech­nol­ogy tools give you more ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but it still takes mar­keters to gen­uinely have the pas­sion for the users to trans­late the tools into some­thing use­ful,” said Ro­man. “It is easy to find data spe­cial­ists that un­der­stand the tools; our head of an­a­lyt­ics says if you tor­ture the data enough it will give you the an­swers.” But, he added, it’s the mar­keters who can pro­vide the cre­ativ­ity.

Chris Dob­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of The Ex­change Lab, said: “You are only as good as the peo­ple who pull the levers on the tech­nol­ogy. It is get­ting that mix be­tween data ex­perts and soft­ware ex­perts, and peo­ple who un­der­stand we are still in the ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness and mak­ing cre­ative that talks to real peo­ple.”


The key strength of pro­gram­matic is it of­fers “phe­nom­e­nal reach at an ex­cel­lent price point”, ac­cord­ing to Mastercard World­wide CMO Raja Ra­ja­man­nar. But he warned that, like us­ing any tech­nol­ogy, good ex­e­cu­tion is es­sen­tial.

He pointed out that ad-block­ing is in­creas­ing hugely – a Page­fair re­port high­lighted how ad-block­ing had grown 30% in 2016 (to 615 mil­lion de­vices) – and it’s not slow­ing down. “Con­sumers are telling you ‘I don’t want your ads’,” said Ra­ja­man­nar.

But this can be tack­led if the mar­keters can meld cre­ativ­ity with pro­gram­matic. Wakely agreed with the premise that pro­gram­matic can be used for brand-build­ing.

“One of the tasks for our in­dus­tries is to re­alise the po­ten­tial of cre­ative,” she said. “At its very sim­plest level, pro­gram­matic is a huge op­por­tu­nity to re­duce wastage, but the much big­ger op­por­tu­nity is in com­bi­na­tion with data, in­sights and our own DMP to build the right con­ver­sa­tion at the right time, and to link it to con­ver­sion.

“My phi­los­o­phy of brand-build­ing is, of course we want to build emo­tion, mean­ing and be dis­tinc­tive, but ul­ti­mately, if you don’t drive sales in the short term then you don’t drive sales in the long term.”

Dob­son said it is “mas­sively im­por­tant” that ad­ver­tis­ers have their own DMP rather than out­sourc­ing it, be­cause “data that quan­ti­fies the re­la­tion­ship be­tween your cus­tomer and your busi­ness is your USP. How it’s used should be top of the agenda”.


Wakely re­sponded that the dif­fi­culty fac­ing her is around tal­ent. She does not think she could “ever have all the ex­per­tise re­quired on pro­gram­matic in­ter­nally”.

“I be­lieve that strate­gic part­ner­ships will be ever-more im­por­tant and col­lab­o­ra­tion with the right part­ners is cen­tral,” said Wakely. “But at the heart of that is a phi­los­o­phy of what part­ner­ship means. To progress this you need strate­gic part­ner­ships where the foun­da­tion is trust and mu­tu­al­ity.”

And if you have the right part­ners, you have the right ex­per­tise and can build that trust, ex­plained Dob­son. He said that there’s a cer­tain “naivety” within the in­dus­try – while tech ven­dors must step up to their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, the onus is also on mar­keters to un­der­stand fully how their part­ners are spend­ing their money. “There has been a lack of un­der­stand­ing of how some of the com­pa­nies you are part­ner­ing are gen­er­at­ing profit.”

He said that a re­tar­get­ing com­pany cares lit­tle about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the con­sumer and a brand. As a re­sult, an ad for the same pair of jeans will chase a con­sumer around the web for two weeks even if the cus­tomer has al­ready bought them.

“That is fun­da­men­tally dam­ag­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween your brand and con­sumer be­cause you are pay­ing that part­ner for the wrong thing,” said Dob­son.

Dan Salz­man, global head of me­dia, an­a­lyt­ics and in­sights at HP, told how it has changed its en­tire ad-tech stack. “We pulled the lid off that can of worms and it was un­be­liev­able. Sud­denly our CPMS went down and even when you do that you still have this in­ven­tory that no­body ever sees, and yet we are pay­ing for those im­pres­sions.”


“Cannes is a lit­mus test be­cause it is a point in time where you can com­pare how things have moved on or not de­vel­oped in the year,” said The Ex­change Lab se­nior VP Penny Har­ris. “What I find frus­trat­ing in the in­dus­try is we go to all these con­fer­ences and we seem to al­ways dis­cuss the same things with­out mak­ing enough trac­tion.”

Where strides are be­ing made is the ever-grow­ing un­der­stand­ing of the con­sumer through data. Ali­son Hather­all, mar­ket­ing ex­cel­lence di­rec­tor at John­son & John­son, cited data firm Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica’s be­lief that de­mo­graph­ics now take a back seat to some­one’s per­son­al­ity pro­file, which can be built up through data.

For in­stance, if two women are the­o­ret­i­cally in the same de­mo­graphic, they still need to be treated dif­fer­ently if one is an in­tro­vert and the other an ex­tro­vert.

“If you want to speak to them in the right con­text, you need dif­fer­ent cre­ative,” said Hather­all. “The wrong ad in the wrong con­text can do you a lot of dam­age.”

Dob­son added: “If you get ev­ery­thing else right and the cre­ative wrong, then you may as well not bother.”


Ru­daizky high­lighted the ex­tra costs it takes to de­liver tai­lored mes­sag­ing as a chal­lenge. “Be­ing able to serve up in­di­vid­ual mes­sages is com­pli­cated in pro­duc­tion terms,” he said.

For Mcdon­ald’s VP of global brand mar­ket­ing Colin Mitchell, the big take­away from Cannes this year has been about the “emo­tional tar­get­ing of pro­gram­matic”, which is about find­ing peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar moods or mo­ments and is a “step be­yond hy­per-tar­get­ing”.

“Plac­ing mes­sages or ex­pe­ri­ences in very sym­pa­thetic or de­lib­er­ately in­con­gru­ent en­vi­ron­ments is re­ally in­trigu­ing to us,” said Mitchell.

Fi­nally, Dob­son ex­plained that all new tech­nol­ogy needs to be used care­fully, not be­cause it is there: “We don’t make the mis­take of the in­dus­try. We don’t get too ex­cited about tech­nol­ogy for its own sake.

Our tech is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and we pride our­selves in ac­tu­ally be­ing rel­e­vant to your busi­ness.”

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