Now is what’s next.
That is how Ben Jones, creative director for Google’s agency team, ended his presentation on creativity in real-time at the 4A’s Transformation conference.
Jones went on to explain that reacting quickly to tent-pole television events with creative yields strong results, and a strong mobile strategy is what will increase brand recognition and loyalty with consumers. Long gone are the days when people would talk about social and mobile as “nice to haves” or “the next big thing.” Mobile and social took a front seat this year for all major brands and agencies.
Like many conferences over the past year, there was a lot of discussion about programmatic and the increasing need for automation within these platforms.
The topic attracted debate, and the question was asked, “Is programmatic ready for prime time?”
Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Starcom USA, drove the point of addressability and targeting the audience. Richman posed the question: “Does programmatic get to poor results faster, due to a lack of human insights?”
People need to understand what programmatic means for the future of the industry. Programmatic is merely the automation of buying and selling inventory but there are multiple types and platforms pushing the boundaries of the industry to make processes more efficient. The new challenge that marketers face is that the same programmatic solutions are being used for desktop and mobile. This is not efficient for the industry because these platforms differ so much in terms of targeting, users and environment. Solutions and terms such as programmatic direct (also known as automated guaranteed) have become an industry buzzword due to its high transparency and brand safe environment. These solutions ultimately produce and use sophisticated insights for marketers to target their audiences. This whole discussion of targeting came straight back to the context of content.
The discussion of consumers always being connected, and not limited to events and seasonal spending seemed like a healthy conversation. That is where automation helps the most in terms of being able to utilize programmatic solutions to target audiences on a daily basis.
Dave Campanelli, senior vice president and director of national television at Horizon Media, explained how “you can’t use data if you’re not using automation.” The opportunity to optimize campaigns comes from data, and being able to manage some of that, through algorithms, patterns and human insights brings efficiency to the business.
Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising sales for Hulu, reminded the room that “people need to focus on the art of advertising.” That is precisely what Capital One is doing. Marc Mentry, managing vice president of brand marketing for Capital One, explained how custom content is a big winner as a way to be relevant and connect with fans, particularly during timely events like March Madness. The “Barles Charkley” ad featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley and Spike Jones ties in nicely and benefits beyond paid media as fans locked into March Madness, incessantly checking in on their brackets, share the ad on social networks.
The theme continued, as Brandon Rhoten, vice president of digital and social marketing at Wendy’s International, made a strong point for why they decided to focus on mobile by using Twitter when launching a burger that had a limited run. Rhoten said that “Twitter is a place where the conversation is changing every day.” That is arguably the best sales pitch for Twitter, but quickly gets to the point of why it is relevant.
The story of collaboration among agencies, brands, publishers and technology vendors was a rich one. We live in an ever-changing environment, and where we can leverage efficiencies in data, media buying and delivering dynamic creative allows us to do more and have the bandwidth to look to the future.
It was perhaps Deanie Elsner, former EVP and CMO at Kraft Foods Group, that said it best: “You can’t win by reaching the cheapest consumer. You can only win by reaching the best consumer.”
And there lies our challenge. Let’s go find them, together.