Read on iMedia

September 8, 2014 – Consumers today are erratic when it comes to communicating. They jump from chatting with a friend on a social app on their smartphone to their laptop to answer a work email and then back to their tablet to add something to their shopping cart at their favorite retailer. This seismic shift in digital communications has marketers rethinking their existing strategies. The evolution of digital communications has disrupted the traditional marketing funnel and shifted what was once a linear path to purchase into an infinite loop.

This new consumption paradigm means that brand marketers should be rethinking their existing media models. Marketers can no longer rely on the age-old marketing tactics of nurturing leads into a customer database with the hopes of converting them into customers in a customer lifecycle timeline. Brands that want to reach new audiences and convert these customers need to embrace the technologies of today to deliver targeted, real-time messages to in-market buyers. This can be accomplished by understanding five trends that require the rethinking of existing media models. They are as follows.

Automated guaranteed

Automated guaranteed is an automation of the existing direct buy process, allowing marketers to leverage the impact of top-tier placements on premium publisher sites automatically in the way that required direct sales in the past. This gives marketers the ability to control where and when their campaigns run along with the advanced reporting. This allows for true media buying optimization with the same level of quality that working with a direct sales agent once promised. This automation of workflows helps both buyers and sellers increase the efficiency of the buy by lowering the operational overheads needed to discover, activate, and spend against reserved buys, and also track performance in their buying platform. Marketers should be taking advantage of this automated format in order to make the most of their media buys and ensure that their ads are running on premium sites in front of highly valuable audiences.

Premium programmatic

Premium programmatic allows advertisers to transparently bid on top-tier inventory (once only available in a direct sold method) in an automated fashion. This emerging trend combines the best of both worlds — access to the best inventory on leading publisher sites with real-time data insights and the ease of automation offered by demand-side platforms. Gone are the days of buying ads on an ad network and hoping that the message shows up somewhere that consumers are visiting.

Nowadays, marketers can buy placement on top-tier sites in front of premium audiences in an automated fashion using real-time bidding (RTB). By leveraging premium programmatic media buying technology, marketers can access audiences ahead of the open exchange and bid on premium inventory. This gives marketers the benefit of being able to target more users and do so in advance of some of the competition.

Private marketplaces

Private marketplaces allow marketers to access private pools of inventory across every inventory source. By using private marketplaces, marketers are essentially creating bespoke pools of inventory that offer high viewability, while at the same time guarantee against fraud. New technological capabilities are allowing advertisers to buy media from these pools using demand-side platform tools. Private marketplaces help publishers expand their direct sales efforts and reach more advertisers in way that is simply not humanly possible through a direct sales team. This means more affordable ads for advertisers and greater reach.

Cross-channel experiences

The digital media landscape is more complex than ever, with consumers jumping seamlessly across devices. Marketers are often working with a number of different suppliers and different data sources and accessing information through different formats and portals. The differences don’t have to mean siloed, uncoordinated media buying. New tools are available that allow marketers to create a seamless cross-channel experience and take advantage of these new consumer behaviors. Brands should be thinking holistically about how they reach consumers in these cross-channel efforts and coordinating their efforts through a centralized dashboard and database so as to deliver a truly one-to-one experience for consumers.

Doing away with the funnel

The funnel is dead. Marketers should stop thinking about the traditional marketing funnel, which no longer accurately reflects a consumer’s journey in the path to purchase. Instead, marketers should be thinking about a goal-based marketing approach. Programmatic technology facilitates this KPI-based effort, which illustrates a consumer’s path to purchase as a repeating cycle that is best represented by an infinite loop. Brands should stop thinking about the customer linearly and start thinking cyclically.

With new technologies in hand, consumers have embraced a new way of communicating. Brands that rely on old ways of marketing their messages will not be able to reach these 21st century consumers in an effective way at scale. It’s time to rethink your media strategy in order to ensure that you are getting your message in front of the right consumer and doing it efficiently. This will give you the peace of mind that you are identifying your customer accurately and that you are using the right tools — automatic guaranteed, premium programmatic, and private marketplaces — to ensure that your ads are running on premium sites. Otherwise, your ad dollars are just going to waste.