Much like all other industries who have been disrupted over recent years, we’ve seen the world of advertising change rapidly, with digital advertising overtaking traditional channels, such as TV and print. This shift has led to an explosion in content across all platforms as advertisers fight to gain the attention of consumers wherever they are. With these increased touchpoints for consumers globally, you need many more messages, many more ads and to effectively manage all assets in the process. The complexity can be daunting. But where there is disruption, there is opportunity.
The engine of the global advertising industry is increasingly powered by a new oil: data. Brands want to not only track advertising from start to finish, but analyse an ad’s effectiveness from peaks in sales, levels of awareness and conversion rates. Data on all business functions is now providing greater transparency and greater expectations.
Where brands previously had to go through agencies to buy and target their desired audiences, the rise of digital solutions has meant they are now able to target directly. This means that it’s also easier to bring creative in-house should they wish, saving costs for brands in the long run. However, it’s not all bad news for the agencies; while many have suffered over the past few years with changes to business models, due to the amount of data they can now access, whole new opportunities have opened up for them to become more creative as advertising becomes hyper-personalised.
This data that is now available must work with the assets created in order to provide complete visibility. However, data is often spread across multiple silos within a company’s ecosystem. A loss of visibility can lead to advertising investment becoming wasted spend, but knowing what is waste and what isn’t is still the million-dollar question. There’s now more pressure in the industry to account for every amount spent and generate a return on that investment. Brands want to understand what happens at every step of a campaign’s life cycle, and visibility is the new imperative; the future of advertising involves seeing the whole story.
The data that is produced at every stage of a campaign’s lifecycle has empowered brands and their agencies to be able to come up with new ways to target more niche markets. Experiential marketing has been at the forefront recently, and for good reason; with the ability to skip ads on streaming services now the norm, brands need to differentiate themselves and create meaningful connections with their audience, based on the data that their audiences are creating.
Brands and agencies face a unique set of pain points and there are many ways for innovative technology to help. It is necessary to have total visibility and control of campaigns and related data in order to reduce cost and wastage, and therefore increase Return on Investment (RoI). With RoI being so vital to the industry, there is a need to be able to react in real time and adapt campaigns based on their performance. Speed to market matters; brands and agencies all demand this. With consumers now defining expectations, brands want to be able to co-create and need to be able to adjust campaigns on the fly and respond rapidly.
The need to manage content is only going to increase. Automation and streamlined workflows are crucial, so an asset can be managed at every point in its life cycle. Production workflows must be centralised with one place to plan, annotate, store, approve and distribute content, feedback and run data analytics across the life cycle of any asset.
For brands, the challenge of seeing the whole story can come when you launch a campaign in multiple countries, in multiple languages and formats. Managing, distributing and controlling content across markets in real time, served to consumers who now demand an omnichannel experience, can be an issue if not managed correctly. With up to 40 per cent of ads used only once and in only one market, there are greater efficiencies to be had. There is also a need for more consistency across countries and to connect all the dots between brands, consumers, advertisements, how and when they are delivered, and on which platform.
So, what needs to be done?
Martech strategy: The most important first step for marketers to dismantle data silos is to design a martech strategy based on the company’s marketing, sales and product goals. Leaders in the digital marketing space coordinate their efforts to meet these goals, iterate and learn from the results.
Customer experience focus: Leaders in digital marketing build their tech and data stack around the key questions: How can tech and data improve customer experience and marketing operations? Leaders are able to innovate while cutting cost and time to market. They will assess their existing data and tech stack – including sales and service automation apps, marketing and CX technology, web and mobile applications as well as analytics – and analyse if they are fully taking advantage of it and identify the gaps.
Connected ecosystem: In the digital advertising world everything is connected. Digital leaders build digital ecosystems that dismantle tech and data silos and streamline fragmented processes. They build seamless connections of product, sales, marketing, technology and data with one single goal; creating a customer-centric ecosystem to maximise customer experience and allow marketing and product innovation.
These steps apply to agencies as well. If they are able to reinvent themselves, their processes and strategies in order to increase customer experience and develop a top-notch digital marketing skillset, it will strengthen their position and make them indispensable partners of brands for the future of advertising.
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