For most brands, digital advertising has reached a level of complexity that can make even the most sophisticated executive’s head spin. It has many shapes and forms, runs across numerous channels simultaneously and uses multiple creative executions, all trying to build brands and convince targeted audiences to take an action.
While some may relish the complexity–and to some extent, it benefits a cottage industry of third-party “solutions”–more and more brands are finding that they are losing money and potential customers due to flawed, disjointed uses of data and poorly executed creative.
This is why brands are beginning to return to their roots, seeking unified omnichannel messaging and creative campaign executions.
In 2018, brands like Johnson & Johnson, White Castle and Bud Light have consolidated agencies, and this trend is set to continue as companies recognize the need to break silos and unify data and campaign creative executions in display and video across programmatic and social channels.
This move is poised to drive campaign performance to higher levels than can’t be achieved via audience targeting alone. It will improve the user experience and reinforce brand equity throughout the customer journey. This vision is being fully realized with omnichannel dynamic creative optimization.
Where did advertisers go wrong?
The concept of omnichannel advertising is the right direction, but it is only the road: You still have to decide which vehicle you are going to ride. Using different data sets with unsynchronized creative executions and delivery across different channels (programmatic vs. social; display vs. video) is limiting brands’ understanding of consumer data and performance, hurting brands economically with inefficiencies and wasted budgets and damaging their brand equity in the eyes of the consumers.
This is unfortunate and unnecessary, because the technology to solve for these issues exists and is readily available.
It is time to break silos and realize that we are truly at the dawn of a data renaissance. Ad formats and channels are irrelevant in terms of a holistic marketing strategy, whether it’s a display or a video ad in programmatic, Facebook, over-the-top or YouTube–it doesn’t matter to the consumer (unless your execution is flawed). All that matters are the data and the way you, as the marketer, optimize your creative ad execution to personalize the experience for the consumer at any touch point in their journey. It is not just about understanding what message resonates best: It is about understanding the behavioral context of the viewer, wherever they see it across channels.
Breaking the silos means that communications with consumers and prospects should be unified through data and creative. It means combining the production, insights and power of video, display and social and creating agency and partner relationships that execute regardless of the channel. It’s about creating one data set of consumer profiles, behavior, audiences and performance insights, as opposed to creating a data set per provider and its execution channel. It’s about being more cost-efficient in terms of time and money via automation, machine learning/optimization and brand quality control. Most important, it’s about marrying data with creative to personalize the creative experience and result true performance outcome.
Breaking silos means creative becomes just as important as the data driving it
A study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions has proven that creative has the most impact on sales contribution (49 percent), compared with media (36 percent) and brand (15 percent).
Creative has always been the crucial point where the marketer meets the consumer. When the data is unified and it feeds the creative dynamically in an omnichannel approach, that’s when brands can finally, truly begin to understand their consumers and personalize the ad experiences for them, at any given moment. Until then everybody will continue talking about personalization, how they must have it, how it’s an integral part of their plans going forward—but not actually doing much to make it happen in their actual campaign executions.
The authors of Nielsen’s recent 2018 CMO Report—senior vice president of marketing and strategy Eric Solomon and vp of product marketing and strategy Brett House—put it succinctly in an interview with CMO.com: “Invest in the right technology to better integrate your stack, and invest in the right data, particularly the quality of the data and where it is coming from. Do the best you can to break down internal silos to have a true omnichannel, customer-centric approach.”
Enough talking: The stage is set, and everything is ready for brand marketers to act. There are no secrets or shortcuts to true effective omnichannel personalization: You have to break down the silos, or become irrelevant.
Oz Etzioni is CEO of personalized programmatic creative technology provider Clinch.