“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Adam Kapel, senior vice president of marketing and insights at Taykey.
Advertisers use technology to sharpen targeting, measure results and be more efficient and economical. How about using it to win?
The current trend toward automatic, programmatic ad technology certainly has its benefits. But does it help companies win new business? Does it take market share and mindshare away from competitors? Does it insert you into the most important conversations of the day?
Advertising can be a weapon for offense, and it should be a mechanism that puts a brand right in front of customers. It should disrupt competitors, while at the same time align with the ever-changing interests of a target audience. It should be a strategic tool that allows a brand to beat its competitors to the punch. These offensive and proactive advertising efforts are called real-time competitive conquest campaigns.
Competitive advertising does not have to be disrespectful, misleading or overly aggressive. Instead, consider how advertising technology can help cause disruption. There are three primary models to use well-placed media as a competitive advantage.
Target Competitors Directly
One of the most direct ways to manage a competitive campaign is to place ads against competitor models, brands or products. For instance, Coca-Cola could employ real-time technology to discover daily trends that are specifically associated with Pepsi. As a result, Coca-Cola’s ads will appear alongside content and conversations including Pepsi, such as social media conversations about its latest flavor or YouTube replays of popular ads. This often delivers some of the highest response rates of an entire ad campaign.
Target Competitor News
Rather than target competitive brands, advertisers can also target competitors’ news. Here you may play a competitor’s weakness into your strength. For example, if a wireless carrier hypothetically received bad press for a customer service snafu, a competitor could create a presence alongside the related news stories. As a result, consumers would not only read about the first carrier’s frustrating customer service, but they could also learn more about the competitor’s services and positive customer support.
Target Industry Issues
The third way to think about these techniques requires targeting industry issues that are not necessarily associated with a specific competitor. Here, the intent is to go after high-value, but likely limited, ad inventory before the competition does so that your messages are associated with the news. As an example, back-to-school content and conversations naturally arise during this time of year, and there is often fierce competition among retailers to buy up as much ad inventory around these trends as possible. Target could, therefore, actively discover and target advertising based on those news items and social conversations in an effort to secure valuable, relevant ad space before competitors like Walmart pick it up in its contextual ad targeting campaign.
It Is All About Relevance
Although slightly different in their approaches, these three competitive conquest techniques share a single foundational element: They require the ability to detect and act on the most relevant trends of the day, and do it in a timely manner. These competitive trends, whether brand-, news- or industry-based, are often impossible to predict and plan. They do not live in silos of ad inventory or even in data warehouses. They don’t even exist – until they do. Therefore, today’s competitive conquest efforts require advertisers to think differently about how they use media to disrupt their competitors and win over consumers.
This is a bold approach and one that recognizes that the competition for market share requires more than the same old tactics we have been using online for years. It requires us to prepare for the unplannable, listen to what our audiences are talking about every day and employ the systems that allow us to act on a moment’s notice.