You wake up one day and everything you thought you knew about marketing is obsolete. Welcome to digital age disruption in media buying and consumer messaging as marketing processes undergo a massive data-driven transformation.

You sit in your office buried under a mountain of data, but what does it mean and how do you analyse it? The biggest challenges advertisers, brand managers and publishers are facing is how to interpret all the data we have access to. Internet technology has made it possible to receive huge amounts of data about customers and expect more to keep coming. According to researchers at Cornell University have developed algorithms that can learn by merely observing human behaviour, these are computers so advanced they can detect and act on patterns in real time without having to understand them.

According to a 2015 survey, digital marketing is expected to grow by 14.7% next year compared to a negative growth rate of 1.1% for traditional advertising. Marketing spend will see mobile triple from 3.2% to 9% of marketing budgets over just three years and 126% on social media over the next five years. This will see marketers spending more on marketing analytics. Currently analytics accounts for 6.4% of marketing budgets; this is expected to increase 83% to 11.7% in three years.

Don’t panic. You don’t need to go back to university. If you are stuck in a traditional style of marketing and decision making, you are going to feel challenged by data technology. This is when to call in the experts.

“We find that brand developers and advertising agencies often find themselves with simply too much information to handle. It is the old needle in a haystack conundrum; they know that somewhere there is something of real value but don’t know how to find it in order to manage or manipulate it. This is where programmatic media buying’s automation comes in to save the day with time efficiency, costs and meaningful results,” says Chanel MacKay, MD of digital media agency Atmosphere Orange.

prospecting with programmatic

The Pro Shop, which has been in operation for 40 years, had just this marketing challenge. Says Marketing Manager Trevor Rebello: “At one stage, we did dabble with online advertising but found we had to think hard about which websites would work for our products and where our market would be visiting. We were stuck with outdated thought processes which focussed mainly on traditional forms of media and on an older LSM as we felt this was where spend was. Working with Atmosphere Orange changed our approach. We moved away from a static product information focus to new product launch initiatives instead. We now have 30 000 – 40 000 unique visits to our own website each month and are probably one of the biggest golfing websites in South Africa. When customers want to buy golf clubs they come directly to us. As a result, we currently set aside monthly budgets for our online advertising. Atmosphere Orange finds the golfers for us,” says Rebello.

MacKay confirms that much of their role involves an educational factor: “We introduce brand managers, CMO’s, CIO’s and CEO’s to programmatic media buying, we manage the data and audience targeting for the brand and guide the brand’s marketing strategy along an effective online communication strategy that will quickly transform their business model.”

Another leading company on the marketing fast track is Cape-based agency Tag 8. “We currently partner with Atmosphere Orange on the digital aspect for two of our clients, and we have seen a real boost in business for both our clients,” says Belinda Taylor, Media Mind at Tag 8. “Programmatic marketing in the digital space has reach and offers such a defined target market across a variety of sites. It’s affordable and it’s trackable and it delivers on a brand’s campaign objectives. When a client has clearly defined objectives and KPIs they need to meet, we always motivate for RTB if it aligns with the campaigns goals.

As advertising technology continues to develop new marketing processes, the automation of buying and selling advertising online has progressed beyond that of human capabilities. Technology is a useful tool when you know how to use it. If you don’t, hand it over to the experts. Data gathered regarding consumer behaviour must first be translated into technical metrics for programmes and machines to understand it.

It is marketing professionals that drive innovative campaigns that speak to consumer emotions. It is digital media buyers who must still make decisions on where to reserve inventory and how to remarket the message back to consumers, supported by the skills of the brand’s creative teams, to execute a cross channel communication strategy.

What will success look like?
1) A new world of informed decision making.
2) Increasingly more effective creative and brand messaging.
3) The automation of processes that were previously time consuming and repetitive. 4) Swift execution of one brand message across multiple channels.
5) Effective measurement of campaign success.
6) Further optimisation of your brand message as more data is gathered following interaction with individual consumers in real time.
7) More effective use of marketing budgets and better returns on investment.

What will you have gained?
Improvement of your skillsets, efficient marketing processes, and the use of  intelligent data to promote your brand. When marrying your marketing and communication strategy, your brand is elevated towards a more interactive customer-centric offering.

“Programmatic marketing takes a brands marketing strategy and transforms it into a cost-efficient communication strategy. Today, it is how you deliver marketing ideas that count.  With consistent messaging across all channels of mobile, display and video, programmatic media buying provides the influence required to make the sale,” says Chanel MacKay, MD of Atmosphere Orange. “Our job is to ensure efficiency in the buying and selling of advertising in the digital space.  We are able to demystify the newest technologies and show non-technical marketers how to use them to precisely target each message to each individual.”

Whether a brand wants to prospect, brand or convert, a programmatic communication strategy decides on the ‘how’ as well as the ‘where’ of the best medium to apply the marketing plan. “We sit on the execution side of selling,” says MacKay. “We are all about the relationship function. We understand the tactics needed for the technology and time-sensitive value propositions required for   potential customers spending time on the digital platform.”

The rules have changed. Online display ads are routinely bought and sold through automated exchanges. Demographic data is just the first step on the programmatic marketing journey in finding and reaching your target audience on a one-to-one and personalised brand communication basis.

If your key focus for your brand is not on the impact technology has on a new way of doing business, you run the risk of lethargy. One of the greatest obstacles to innovations in companies is executives who fear change and remain anxious about their technological limitations. But responds Mackay: “Where in life are you expected to know everything. If you have a toothache, you book an appointment at a dentist. If your car needs repair you go see a mechanic. With big budget campaigns, you want to know that you are receiving high returns on your investment, that your campaign is transparent, that it is reaching exactly who you want to be talking to in any given moment.”

What conversations are you having with your customers on their digital journey? Do they know you even exist?


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