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How Many Marketers Does It Take to Screw in a Programmatic Light Bulb?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 23/03/2016 Advertising Week

By Azher Ahmed, EVP, Director of Digital, DDB Chicago

The mercilessly rapid pace of consumer technology constantly forces marketers into new and uncharted waters for brand communication. The sophistication of messaging, driven by modern technology and data, is accelerating at a tremendous pace.  Now more than ever, having plan to adapt and evolve is crucial for any modern brand.

Traditionally, the “broadcast” mindset of delivering a single message across all channels is being challenged by data-driven intelligence. This manifests in a variety of ways including programmatic buying, remarketing and a plethora of interaction models driven by newer technology and media channels.

From a creative standpoint, many brands have adopted a “matching luggage” approach to ensuring brand consistency across all channels. However, progressive brands are adopting more nuanced model to drive effectiveness via smarter, more relevant placement of advertising via programmatic ad buying, or dynamic, retargeted messaging based on user context.

Few can argue that contextually-relevant content drives effectiveness, but many brands are still working out their creative messaging and optimization approach.

Repeatedly seeing the same banner ad from a brand website you visited is incredibly annoying. What if a brand changed the message based on when you were seeing it or, even better, where you were surfing? When you start scratching deeper, you can uncover a host of untapped creative possibilities, many of which can drive distinction and relevance in minds of your audience.

By the 20th time you saw that brand spokesman in a display ad, he’s probably as sick of seeing you as you are of seeing him, so why not play along and change the creative message and imagery accordingly?

This works with optimization, as well.  Go through the mental exercise of breaking down creative elements and play with variations therein.  Examine headlines, copy, art and calls-to-action help define building blocks for better-performing variants. Once you’ve nailed that, look at ways to infuse dynamic, contextual relevance based on the active and passive data available such user demographics, time of day, and type of site they’re viewing.

Keep in mind: this thinking goes beyond strictly “optimization” but unlocks a plethora of narratives derived from harnessing technology-driven media and the data it provides. These new dimensions give brands new ways to cut through the clutter and breakthrough experiences.

And speaking of dimensions, interaction models continue to grow and become more “natural” every day.  Oculus is all the rage with its immersive, virtual reality experience but will likely take a while to gain traction with users and brands.  However, technologies are available today, such as voice dictation (Siri, Google or Microsoft’s Cortana), and paving the way for more ambient, natural experiences.

How does your brands voice react to your consumers’ actual voice? You’ll never know unless your brand aligns its product/service data strategy with consumer lingo to serves them up via contextual key words and phrases.

With these new and emerging experiences, brands and marketers will continue facing challenges to serve the needs of their core brand messaging in authentic and relevant manners. Brands that get out ahead to map their current and future brand voice, however, will lead the way for their respective industries.

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