“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 Dina Zelikson, senior marketing manager at Intuit.
The ad industry is abuzz with all things programmatic, yet despite the diversity of channels and the interconnectivity they present, the focus of conversation has centered on biddable media.
While concentration on the economics of advertising media fuels the adoption rate of programmatic principles, long-term success depends on bringing the user experience to the forefront of programmatic marketing.
Programmatic marketing lies at the intersection of data and technology, where big data is leveraged across channels and platforms to optimize a digital experience via dynamic decisioning. It represents the mindset of enterprise-level marketing solutions. Despite the opportunity this convergence presents, programmatic principles have been largely restricted to the task of yielding efficiency.
It is no wonder there is so much apprehension around the quality of programmatically traded media -- the user experience has largely been ignored in favor of efficiency. To carry over this mentality into the next phase of programmatic would be a huge disservice to the digital ecosystem.
Our challenge, therefore, is to reevaluate the structural and executional practices that have been carried over from earlier digital years. While piecemeal adjustments have been made to improve the user experience, a much larger opportunity takes shape when marketing initiatives are considered holistically from the vantage point of the user.
Let us first consider a few simple truths:
1. Too many points of interaction become overbearing and annoying
2. Inconsistent communication is confusing
3. People engage with what is of interest
4. People prefer businesses that are easy to work with
Understand And Qualify Your Brand Touchpoints
Understanding user intent is imperative to the marketer’s ability to optimize the user experience. It’s a given that a recently converted user shouldn’t be treated like someone who is in the research or consideration stages of the funnel and yet, executionally, that happens.
The missing piece to solving these types of puzzles is usually lack of actionable first-party data. If a customer comes to the site but isn’t recognized, they fall into a blanket approach or last–page-viewed retargeting tactic. Leveraging technology such as data-management platforms to build up an actionable, centralized repository of first-party attributes is a key step in optimizing the experience of user interaction with a brand.
Knowing the regularity of communication is equally important to qualify the user experience. Frequency of advertising media is often managed in a silo or on the campaign or program level. What is the total frequency of touchpoints when you include prospecting and retargeting display tactics, email, affiliate emails, social, search and site visits? What if you add traditionally offline activities, such as print or TV, to the mix?
In many cases, reducing the number of vendors performing media buying is a good start to managing frequency, especially with retargeting. Taking touchpoints from nonpaid media channels into consideration would be the next step. The horizon broadens further with the integrative power of programmatic technology. Since DMPs are data- and media-agnostic, they can be plugged into many systems, including an email service provider platform, a content-optimization tool, an open exchange, a private exchange or a specific vendor’s video-inventory pool to create a centralized media platform. Meanwhile, porting offline behavioral data that’s synced via an anonymized identifier can bring add another level of insight while fully adhering to online privacy standards.
Build Consistent Communication Across Channels
A good place to start when addressing communication consistency is to ensure that your brand has internal consistency across print, email, display, social and Web properties. Given the typical organizational fragmentation in marketing, it’s not unusual to find branding inconsistencies across channels and different marketing teams.
To further communication consistency across media channels and devices, there needs to be a way to centrally choose content and media in real time. A DMP plugged into other platforms provides the technology to achieve this. Relying on this technology, for example, a marketer can personalize a promotional offer that a user sees in an email but does not click on, and then reinforce that same message when the same user arrives days later on the site.
Programmatic marketing is powerful in that it enables the marketer to use first- and third-party data to identify a group of users as a custom audience. It can then programmatically curate media to tell a consistent story across channels and devices and over time. Technology that enables programmatic marketing increases site recognition of the user, whether the user is a prospect or a customer who is not logged in. That alone is a big, yet simple, win in the attempt to optimize the user experience with a brand.
Engage And Delight Your Customer
We now see how applying the principles of programmatic marketing can provide value to the user. The ability to connect and act upon informational, behavioral, transactional and customer-service-level data can unlock the potential to do some pretty amazing stuff. The most obvious opportunity is to personalize content and messaging to align with user interest.
For example, enabling relevant platforms to trigger an “open customer-service issue” identifier can trigger a live chat check-in, allow you to shorten the user path to customer service, set a temporary suppression from a pesky retargeting tactic or simply alter your messaging to the user.
Technological advances that enable programmatic marketing have already improved the online user experience. Consumer expectation for an enhanced user experience is inextricably linked, and synchronous, to technological innovation.
A positive brand experience is crucial to the long-term success of marketing strategy. Failure to place the user experience at the center of programmatic marketing strategy paves the way for a subpar or frustrating user experience with the brand.