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How Does Your Technology Deliver on the Promise of Programmatic?

June 12, 2014 — by Edwin Lee    

Programmatic is the future of digital advertising, empowering marketing teams to be more effective and efficient than ever before. The true promise of programmatic technology is in its unique strategic advantage for your company; programmatic technology is a catalyst for change across the organization.  The benefits will be different for every company, and the promise is the eye of the beholder. For the vast majority of companies, that promise is tied to lowering the cost of media while optimizing that media to more effectively drive customer action.  How can programmatic achieve this? Through the automation of media execution, activation of data, and optimization of interactions across all online media.

Now, about that “eye of the beholder” bit.  How can you deliver on the promise of programmatic that uniquely benefits your business? In order to create a strategic and competitive advantage for your company, you need to start by identifying and capitalizing on your company’s core strengths. For some, this may be customer service.  For others, it will be a strong and beloved brand.  And for others, particularly direct marketers, it will be their existing aptitude for modeling and messaging to prospects and customers.  Whatever that strength is, it should be the defining characteristic of their customer strategy and the first point of engagement for customers.  This strategic viewpoint should guide marketer’s decision making as they delve into programmatic technology.  Just because they are venturing into the programmatic world doesn’t mean they should lose sight of who they are.

For major retailers and catalogers, for example, this strength lies in their customer data.  These companies own data about their customers, how and why they shop, and what motivates them to visit a store or ecommerce site.  Retailers can effectively use that information to reach customers with persuasive messages across digital media. CPG brands like Unilever have been using their data to target consumers buying competitors’ products, and offering discounts as an incentive to change brands.  Similarly, programmatic leaders like AT&T and Verizon  – two of the biggest spenders in real-time bidding for display – can zero in with local offers, like free iPhones or family data plans, as a quick search on MOAT reveals.  Coca-Cola seems to be more focused on engagement than coupons or win-backs in its approach to programmatic, focusing on interactive content like games within its ad. Coke is also targeting consumers on the go with mobile RTB in some markets, which is in sync with the brand’s strategic view of a shopper’s “trip missions.”

The marketer’s task from there is creating an interconnected ecosystem to deliver on the particular programmatic promise they’ve identified.  This will involve a combination of internal and external resources, and may include one or more of the many digital technology companies and point solutions available in the market today.  As there are so many players in the field, it would impractical — if not nearly impossible! — for you to know them all and how they may fit together for your unique purpose.  Focus on your business strategy — that’s what’s important to keep top of mind. Allow that to guide you.  From there, ask yourself and your media teams these key questions:

●    How much of our media is being bought programmatically today, and for which products, services or campaigns?

There are ad networks who purchase all of their media programmatically, but sell it to you as a flat CPM.  Uncover all the programmatic media within your current spend.  With that knowledge, you can make informed decisions about whether you can save time and money by consolidating these into one marketing operating system.

●    Which media is not bought programmatically today?

The industry is innovating at a rapid pace, and it’s now simple for traditional guaranteed media to be bought programmatically.  Challenge yourself and your teams to purchase all media programmatically.

Ultimately, you will need to increase your confidence in this brave new world, but don’t sacrifice your core business principles.  By tying your organization’s competitive strengths to programmatic technology via a proven marketing platform, you can deliver on the promise of programmatic — whatever that promise means to you.

This post is the seventh in a series for marketers with an understanding of programmatic technology who are looking to step it up.

Keep up with this series to further educate yourself on how programmatic technology fits into the bigger marketing picture by following the Step It Up Series on the blog.

Do you have what it takes to integrate programmatic technology more deeply into your business strategy? Take our quiz to identify your level of programmatic sophistication and get to the next level.

Edwin Lee

Edwin Lee, VP of Global Retail, leads MediaMath’s retail go-to-market strategies. He employs MediaMath technologies to meet global retail business and marketing objectives, developing new programmatic advertising products and custom solutions. Edwin is responsible for global sales and product solutions in the retail vertical. Edwin brings over 19 years of client service, and over 14 years in digital marketing and media, working with global Fortune 500 companies. Prior to MediaMath, Edwin spent nearly 11 years at iCrossing / Proxicom where he lead strategy, creative, web development and digital media teams. Edwin’s interest in technology and media stems from days as a technology management consultant where he transformed companies to act faster and more efficiently through the use of technology.  Prior to that, he got his MBA in General Management from USC and a BA in Quantitative Economics from Stanford. Outside of work and having played competitively at Stanford, Edwin can be found on the golf course, preparing for his Sr. PGA Tour debut.