Get With The Programmatic – The five key takeaways

Marketing Week and Econsultancy’s first ‘Get with the Programmatic’ brought together brands, agencies and technology companies to discuss trends, share best practice and growth opportunities.

Programmatic advertising

Here are Marketing Week’s 5 key takeaways for marketers. The second ‘Get with the Programmatic’ takes place 29 September in London. For more info and to book your place click here.

Focus on the customer journey not the process

Mondelez International’s UK and Ireland media manager Derek Luddem said for brands to get the most out of using programmatic they need to focus on the entire customer journey.

The company will be testing ways in which it can unify the data in the consumers’ journey from watching TV to stepping into a store. “There will be a tipping point once we get a unified data layer”, he added.

Luddem said Mondelez does not directly own all of its offline data as most of its products, such as Oreo, are sold in major stores. This does not allow the group to see the end journey for customers, which “is the greatest value in the consumer journey”.

Test and learn

Starting small and testing programmatic was offered as one of the best ways to start using programmatic.

Danny Spears, head of The Guardian’s data unit Response + said one of the ways he convinced management to begin using programmatic was by using a small proportion of inventory in the beginning and with first-party data to reduce risk.

He added: “Define your needs and make a plan around those needs and use your own data as a first step.”

In a session detailing the role programmatic has played in Argos’ digital transformation, the retailer’s performance marketing manager Ed Lovelock said that its performance objectives for programmatic were developed over time.

“From our point of view, we wanted to understand what programmatic could do first,” he said. Argos initially used first-party data that it had accrued on its website.

Programmatic doesn’t need to be complex

People make programmatic needlessly complex according to Philips’ global head of media Sital Banerjee, talking on a panel debate with World Federation of Advertisers’ director Robert Dreblow.

“[Programmatic] has to be made simpler for marketers and everyone else because the moment you talk about complexity people stay away from it,” says Banerjee.

Speakers were consistently asked by the audience to define and clarify what they mean by programmatic, a fact that most on stage acknowledged highlighted the need for more education and simplification in the area.

One definition offered by Graham Wylie, senior director for EMEA and APAX marketing at AppNexus was: “Put simply, the opposite of programmatic is manual”.

Speaking on the WFA panel, Mikko Kotila, media investment consultant, said programmatic is being overcomplicated when in fact it is just automation of what was previously done manually.

But advertisers do need greater transparency

Banerjee singled out three areas for particular attention: cost, data and results.

“First of all it’s about cost transparency… We understand there is a cost to better targeting but what mark ups are being made? [Research shared earlier suggests just 40% goes to the publisher] but I hope that is not the case as it is not a viable investment for us. [We need to know] who in the value chain is making what and in return for what,” he adds.

The second level of transparency is around data; how is data being gathered, what choices are consumers being given, how is data being used and stored, and is privacy top of mind?

“As an advertiser that is something we don’t want to negotiate on. Consumers must have the ultimate choice on how they share their data,” he adds.

Delivering results is the third area where transparency is needed.

“It is absolutely critical that we are transparent with each other on what these investments are delivering in terms of results and how those results are being reported back to us.”

The need for more transparency was repeatedly mentioned. On a session debating the role of the agency Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising at advertiser trade body ISBA, said that it is not always clear what people mean by transparency.

According to Wootton it could mean three different things: The transparency for the end user/viewer, for financial disclosure between agencies and brands and on what is being handled during the process.

Agencies need to act as ‘Sherpas’ to brands

In a session discussing the role of agencies in programmatic, Christian Armond, general manager for digital marketing at TUI, said media agencies need to act as “guides through the landscape” adopting more of a planning than buying role. “We should be involved in more conversations [with agencies], more shared learning but brands should take more responsibility to learn. Agencies, should act as Sherpas to guide brands through,” he added.

On the same panel, the IAB’s executive business adviser Alison Fennah, echoed Armond’s thoughts suggesting agencies help brands “see the wood through the trees”.

“Brands should keep large perspective over their brand and their marketing but agencies can help bring the bigger picture,” she said.

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