Cocktails & Conversation with Marketing Executives: What is the Future of Programmatic Media Buying?

With programmatic spending expected to reach new highs in 2017, advertisers now more than ever before need to leverage their data and their digital media dollars for optimal results. This leads to an important discussion marketers are having around the growing demand for programmatic solutions and how they need to be more proprietary to their market or brands.

On Tuesday, Digilant held their 6th event covering the topic of ‘Why 2017 Is Going to be The Year of Custom Programmatic Marketing.Digilant’s Global CEO, Alan Osetek, alongside panelists Cynthia Austin Smith, Head of Global Digital Marketing at Bose, Beth Ringer, Director of Media at CVS Health, and Tom Hubbard, Global Head of Digital Marketing at Kaspersky Lab, sat together for 50 minutes to discuss the reasons.
Boston Programmatic Panel

The evening was kicked off by Alan asking everyone to define the word Programmatic.  Tom from Kaspersky Lab was the first to respond by saying that to him “Programmatic is the automation of marketing activities from humans to machines.”  Cynthia, from Bose defined it as the ability to leverage data insights and ultimately be a smarter marketer.  She buys many types of programmatic media, including email, direct mail audio, and said “it’s a way to buy media.

Then Alan kicked off the questions by asking Beth, “how does CVS Health use programmatic buying to reach their consumer?” The response was that CVS Health approaches DSP buying in a couple of different ways.  First, having always on campaigns.  The majority of their digital media buying is focused on campaigns with one campaign goal that combines all the channels, including search, social as well as programmatic.  Cynthia at Bose follows a similar strategy with two or three always on campaigns running in market, as well as leveraging their programmatic data to feed other digital media channels like search.

At Kaspersky Lab, all the digital media buying is centralized though one in-house team.  One pool of money with one target, same ROI and a team that works together.  With the idea that by using one tool they could more easily make budgeting decisions and move money between channels and their results have proved that centralizing their DSP buying was the right decision for them.

Next they moved onto the subject of marketing personalization.  Alan asked them how they see programmatic and the idea of personalization or customization coming together?  Cynthia from Bose was the first to respond by saying that “they try to make everything they do at Bose more personalized.”  The digital marketing industry is getting to a place where we can leverage data to understand where customers are, through all their touch points, so that we can personalize their customer journey.

Beth said that CVS Health has been trying really hard to achieve the goal of making it about one customer at a time.  But since they are a large corporation, the data lives in different places and it’s hard to put all the pieces together.  So far, where they have seen success is with the extra care reward card because all the ads and offers are based on that person’s data.

Tom at Kaspersky Lab said that form him “programmatic is a means to personalization.”  One of his challenges is that they have a low engagement product since their consumers essentially buy a contract.  Their challenge is to find the right cadence of offers so that they are not showing you an ad at a time you are not ready to buy.  This is how they are using programmatic data, to find the right moment to get you to buy.  The purchase process is measured in hours so it’s important not to annoy your prospect but to get in front of them at the right moment when they’ve decided to purchase.

Next the panelists were asked “what programmatic trends and developments they feel have had an impact on their business today, versus those that are on the horizon?”

Cynthia from Bose said that you have to be really smart about how you use your programmatic data so that you can leverage it for things like: understanding the consumer’s intent, finding people that look like your consumers, real-time messaging and figuring out if that’s even the right consumer to go after? As for the future, she sees bringing programmatic up the funnel and trying new channels like audio.
For CVS Health, Beth said that programmatic has become one of the major marketing channels with the same expectation to drive in-store sales.  “It’s great for lookalikes, rather than finding the same people again and again we can also find new ones.”

Tom from Kaspersky Lab is looking forward to programmatic moving towards commoditization, where everyone can buy the same inventory.  “In the future the advantage will be the data layer, using first party data will give you that leg up over your competitor.”  He also said that everyone is on the same path but on a different point of it in different countries.  Being international they have the ability to run advanced tactics in certain countries and get ahead where their competitors lag.

“So beyond lookalike how are you using first party data to make your media smarter,” Alan continued.
networking“Well, for us,” Tom said, “there are three ways to become a customer: direct buy, trial, or freemium product.  The problem for us is trying to predict to which of these you will respond to.  Media efficiency will be better for us when we know which message you will likely respond to and buy from.  Our goal is to make strides on different types of messages so that we can crack the purchase type using our data.”

At CVS Health they are lucky to have a 20-year-old loyalty program with 80 million extra care members that they can tap into.  Beth said that they just started going outside that audience to not just drive incremental sales and actually look at non-customers.  They are using data to unlock new customers.

Lastly, Alan asked the panelists their thoughts on Brand Safety and what they were doing in their respective companies, on top of using third party verification partners like Integral Ad Science ?
Beth said that at CVS Health they have what they call a Disney filter and that they are super strict about it.  They are vigilant about their blacklists and YouTube is working really hard to get their money back!  Both Tom and Cynthia talked about private marketplace deals and knowing more about the inventory you are buying as being very important to them.

Overall it was a very good discussion that could have gone for longer, but we promised our panelists that they could have a sit-down dinner.  As a marketer I gained a lot of insights into different areas of programmatic and am excited for what the future will bring.

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