On Tuesday, November 14, Digilant hosted a discussion and lunch at Stock Hill KC on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. I joined local digital media agencies and brands to hear their colleagues discuss their approach to integrated planning and media silos.
During this intimate lunch conversation Raquel Rosenthal, CRO at Digilant U.S. moderated the conversation with Claire Bishop, VP of Marketing and Engagement at Children International, Lucas Cobb, VP of Integrated Planning at MMGY Global, and Pam Williams, Director of Media and Client Services at Rhycom.
Raquel kicked off the lunch discussion by addressing the following question to Claire: How are you managing – or planning to manage – digital advertising activities across search, social and programmatic? Are you merging the tactics or do they remain siloed activities?
In 2010 there were 150 ad technologies out there and now there are 5,000+, so what does that mean for our industry? It has created silos of data and silos in organizations with all the different channels like email, CRM, and search so what does that mean for the customer experience and journey?
Claire said that at Children’s International the reality is that search, social and display are all managed by external partners and that her and her team have to work at making sure that all of the channels are integrated with everything else and one another. They are definitely working hard to make sure that they leverage everything that they know to drive more effective marketing campaigns with the agencies and each other. Still there are many things that we have to solve for in order to effectively discern the impact that each of these channels have. Children’s International does a lot of direct mail and promos during the holidays and are looking for these tactics to work in combination with email and CRM points of integration along the spectrum of their marketing. All in all Claire finds this exciting grounds to cover for her brand.
Raquel also asked if Claire is looking at personalization along the customer journey?
There general answer is yes, for them with 350 thousand continuity givers talking to them through all the various channels, being able to speak to them personally is very important. And they need to understand where does personalization pay and what’s its the impact.
Pam, a question for you, How is Rhycom is managing the customer journey with all the different channels that are now available for marketers?
Pam’s response was that the customer journey is so fragmented and you need to be nimble and relevant. So how do you do that we when attention spans are so short and dispersed? You need to know your client, what they are looking, likes, dislikes and demographics so that you can segment effectively and then map back to the customer journey. Measurement is really important to us, we now know what is working, our job is to educate the clients on perceived failures and transition that into the next campaign.
Claire chimed in by saying that you have the ability to be responsive by having automation in place, thus creating your own journey and adventure. Marketers also have to have a system to smartly asses those signals in order to take advantage of the information coming back in – the landscape has widened for us.
The customer is demanding the experience that they want and we have to be careful about what we give them, Raquel concluded.
Lucas, what are the expectations that your brands have of programmatic marketing?
People expect that the programmatic marketing will be smarter than the people who do it, responded Lucas. Not every partner is going to have the same ability to reach every individual. Agencies needs to understand how the partner will fit into the customer’s marketing ecosystem. Paid search has been our closer for years, but there are new opportunities with other technologies to close that loop.
So Lucas, what new channels have you explored in digital in 2017 beyond display, native and video? And what new channels or formats do you plan to try in 2018, for example: OTT, TV, Radio or new platforms like Amazon?
I have tried them all, he said – channels like TV, radio and outdoor. Using the data to drive the decisions in every channel and making sure they use the right partner that can get there. There is now an average of eight devices per household, knowing that TV is still very important also knowing at the same time that what you put on their devices is equally as important. And it takes data to drive that connection.
Pam also added that it will be exciting to see what will happen with programmatic Out of Home and the impact on media planning.
So how have you been distributing your budget between search, social and programmatic?
For Lucas there is no ratio for every client that works but on average, 70% is probably programmatic.
For Claire the average split is 10% for search 10% for social and at least 30 for programmatic because of all the channels in programmatic is more expensive because there are so many more opportunities like native and video as well as reach even with target audiences.
Where does programmatic fit in your consumer lifecycle? are you planning to use programmatic within your overall campaign strategies?
For MMGY global, programmatic is everywhere in their campaign strategies, it helps them find new people but also exclude people that they don’t want to reach. It has also become a top of the funnel tactic, where in the past programmatic was only used for bottom funnel.
For Children’s International programmatic helps them reduce waste. By that Claire means that digital advertising introduces reams of data, so they need help to reduce the waste of just putting spend out there in the impressions we are serving, doesn’t just have to be at the bottom the funnel, it just needs to be the opportune time to capture that moment. Programmatic can be central in guiding the decision when, where and to serve the message to throughout the customer journey.
We hear a lot about “always-on” digital marketing strategies, across social, search, etc. What are your thoughts about having an always on programmatic campaign and why?
We should absolutely have an always on programmatic strategy – engagement and exposure to digital media is constant, answered Claire. In the past advertising was restricted to a certain time when you were at home watching TV or at work on the computer. Now exposure is across the board, people don’t even realize they are being exposed. For us the problem is there is a lot of waste of exposing people when it’s not relevant to them. At this time of year, the mindset of donating and giving is popping up all over the place, Children’s International has to be there, when people are ready to give a donation or gift or we are missing the opportunity. The world made up of individuals with different experiences, we have to be present when people are ready to raise their hands.
Lucas, can you give us an example of how you have put programmatic data into action?
Programmatic data for us has been more about who we are trying to reach and what do we know about them? We know a lot about the brands that we work with and who their audiences are and with programmatic we can find the people we know we want to reach. Our programmatic partner needs to make that data work harder, that piece of that programmatic model is what we really need.
So another question then, if data is so important; how do you police your partners to make sure they are using the data the right way?
You can’t, but throwing your data into a black hole won’t do you any good. We put walls around our data, we don’t share PII with clients, partners – so the protections are in place. You also make sure that we choose the right partners.
Claire also answered this question by saying that she needs smarter people than herself to apply that data, our data is out there everyone has it. Data security is a huge concern and we have folks that are committed to handling data, passing it through without PII and other ways that are really important. I agree with Lucas that it’s important to cement reputable partners, use your judgment and experience and relationships with people you can hold accountable.
Claire, one last question, given this years’ YouTube controversy and the constant battle against ad fraud, what has been your brand or agency’s POV and or approach?
Working with non-profit we stand for credibility, transparency and trust, in today’s climate, pairing those three things with programmatic is tricky. We want to show our ads in opportune and also safe places, not all those scary places that you can go on the web. Something you have to think about, like what we said earlier about data partners, who are my partners and can I hold them accountable.
The landscape has really changed, to get sales up we have to be on the right pages. Ask your partners what are they doing to handle viewablity and fraud, ask the hard questions.
Lucas chimed in to say that he hates that they have to use fraud monitoring 3rd parties, why are we paying for that and why is there no repercussion for those committing the fraud? Buy side is delivering it and paying for it. Publishers and SSPs are making money off fraud. Claire wrapped up the discussion by saying that advertisers have to stand up for themselves when it comes to fraud and address it in a meaningful way.
A lot of content for an hour of conversation, but the panelists did a good job keeping up with Raquel’s questions and Digilant appreciated their time and thoughtful answers in what turned out to be an inspiring afternoon.