Have you ever seen a data schema for a sophisticated data marketer? I mean, have you ever really seen one? It looks like the pipe system underneath Manhattan. The larger the brand and paid media spend, the more complicated the data feeds to track a consumer across paid/owned/shared properties. The data feeds into a DMP from various ad tech platforms looks like a live action Lumascape all connected by acronyms like API, FDI or OL. The data feeds are monitoring a consumer’s behavior on owned properties with web analytics platforms like Omniture, Google Analytic,s or Coremetrics or from buy-side paid platforms like Tubemogul or Vindico. I could go on.
Capitalizing on Consumer Intent
A smart brand marketer will seek to understand the behavioral activities of a consumer (whether prospect or existing) across the various intent-based, transactional or behavioral paid properties. This requires some serious stitching of the data stack and a cross-match of ID’s that could range from 10-20 for each different platform not to mention any homegrown solution a brand may have. Having a centralized data strategy that brings together the data in these various siloes allows for streamlined understanding of the consumer, but more important, it powers a truly personalized, smart and dynamic content/creative strategy to capitalize on the consumer intent they may indicate in their journey. It is more than right person, right time, right place – it is acting on the right intention, at the right second, with exactly the right creative.
Brand Promiscuity in the Age of Variable Content
Let’s dive a little deeper on a changing dynamic for how larger brands are approaching media investments, especially in the digital platforms. While every year, the death of the upfront/newfront is hotly debated, networks are still bragging about their haul for the year. NBCU claimed they hauled $6B this Summer in the 2015 upfront. However, what we’re seeing is that brands are more open to being promiscuous and allocating more to variability vs. getting married early and locking up the media dowry. As publishers offer more sophisticated omni-channel products it gets more exciting, however the non-traditional content channels, like VICE and others, are making a case for brands to stay flexible on their investments throughout the year.
With the shifting sands in data integration and media variability, every agency, especially the large holding companies, are sending out data evangelists to preach about the power of data and push their DMP wares (most of which is vaporware, let’s be honest). I posit they are leaving out the silver bullet – the content.
The Need for Speed
When the media investments become more variable, it forces the creative agency to follow suit. It puts pressure on the content pipe that needs to feed all manner of programmatic – whether digital video, display, TV, print or now DM. No longer can a creative agency take 6 weeks to produce a :30 TV spot then bastardize it for use on pre-roll and other video platforms. The model has to adapt against 75 years of existence that the insight and the idea take time or as Don Draper once said, ‘Creatives aren’t productive until they are.” Rapid ideation and production while having a killer idea is the norm. Agencies are scrambling against years of agency behavior. Just follow the hashtag #setlife to see all of the agency folks on set. Or how do we deal with SAG when we are moving fast and creating instant content? A brand’s content vault has to go from a dozen pieces to hundreds. Align this agile content strategy with the data schema needed to connect the dots and serve the right content and it is enough to drive any CCO on a bender at Burning Man.
So far from what I’ve seen, the only way this happens accurately is if your media, data, and content engine are unified: the case for one company handling the investments across all channels, engineering the data flow along with the in-house IT and/or personalization teams to map the ecosystem of data and content. Align this with the brand strategy, creative ideas, and agile production methods and we have the recipe for a modern marketing approach.
It is time for creatives to understand the underlying data that will drive their creativity. Hard to take, but the most advanced creative teams are cracking this code and are embracing the madness.
Paul Marobella is CEO of Havas Chicago Group & Head of CRM/Data for North America.