Imagine you are in a private train thundering along a super monorail twisting its way around the globe. Would you stay seated in your chair in the same carriage, looking out the same window for the entire journey?  Or would you look out at the changing landscape from every imaginable perspective?

The train is your brand travelling in a digital world. Brand professionals know they need to understand every different destination’s individual inhabitants, their age, lifestyle, needs and desires as they arise in the moment with continuous touch points with which to revisit and engage with them. With the speed of messaging and a need for display bidding happening in milliseconds – faster than any train could muster – automated media buying does the engine work of converting a brand’s message and call to action into a personalised format for every set of eyeballs – circuiting past them again and again if necessary – until they finally climb on board.

“Brands should consider a broad approach to ad placing,” says Chanel MacKay, MD of digital media agency Atmosphere Orange. “A broad and comprehensive view of the customer journey, from their first engagement to purchase and then to loyal brand advocate across multiple devices and touch points establishes a series of collaborative partnerships with your customer.

“It is an inclusive approach for one brand identity that is served at all points of the customer journey. It’s an integrated cross-channel communications strategy that is customer-centric and can start with a brand’s customer relationship database and reach further than any type of standalone television campaign could ever achieve.”

When did mass messaging become a personalised conversation delivered at breakneck service speeds?  Programmatic marketing’s tracking of digital data which delivers a 360 degree view of a brand’s customised marketplace. It creates a fine-grained outline of each individual customer’s appetites.

blow the whistle Blow the whistle, because there is more. You discover the train is not on a monorail after all. It is a virtual reality craft able to travel anywhere it wants through any device the person chooses to be looking through. It can shoot through people’s living rooms, visit stadiums, enter shopping malls, dip into family holiday times and corporate offices burning the midnight oil. Why would you want to stay on a monorail when it can transport you in the very hands of your perfect customer?

With over 7 billion people on the planet today, you might be forgiven for being overwhelmed by trying to manage what makes up the perfect customer. That is why we have super computers chewing up and spitting out data so precise they can collate each individual’s hundreds of interests and activities, gathered from multiple different sources over numerous devices at different times and places in each of those different destinations in their digital journey.

Your audience model just supersized itself and yet at the same time your message just got more direct and specific to the individual. Suddenly you are no longer a train thundering about on a monorail. Your brand messaging is responding to your customer through conversations that understand and speak to their preferences, actions and intentions in the moment they are thinking or doing it. As customer’s increasingly get their needs and desires met, so too do they become loyal brand custodians in pointing others to your brand. And is it word-of-mouth that is always the most powerful form of referral.

So how can a brand leverage a 360 degree view of its customer in order to continue retargeting and providing rich user experiences and cultivating repeat buys?

Step 1 – Start with a marketing strategy formulated from 1st party data. This is owned data collected from past customer purchases, loyalty programmes, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, merchandising, logistics and inventory sources and website publishers about their site visitors or customers online behaviour.

Step 2 – Use insights taken from 3rd party data in order to target new and look-alike audiences with tailored advertising offers. These insights require quantitative analysis of large complex data sets provided by digital media planning and buying agencies such as Atmosphere Orange in Cape Town. This is further influenced by factors such as precedent and intuition as your campaign is guided to grow new tracks on the digital platform.

Step 3 – Formulate an integrated advertising campaign that serves the same brand message across multiple media channels. These are on interchangeable cross platform formats designed specifically for internet, mobile, television and radio. This approach includes customer communication, outbound email, inbound lead nurturing, social, content, website, search engine optimisation (SEO), and pay per click (PPC). This is where creative agents work closely with data analysts to ensure that as further information is gathered about the audience, so the message can be further enhanced for more personal engagement.

With such a diversity of population in Africa, digital media buying today is innovative, automated and precise. It is a solution that every brand needs to be embracing in order to stay relevant. The prize is that together with its leverage and efficiency, it saves on budget and delivers more transparent marketing deliverables. As a new medium of advertising – and one that is growing dynamically – it makes sense for a brand to evaluate the power of programmatic marketing’s 360 degree approach.


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