Microsoft on why programmatic ‘doesn’t make marketers want to jump out of bed’

Marketers are not getting excited enough by big data and programmatic because they are not using it creatively enough, according to Paul Davies, Microsoft UK’s director of marketing comms.

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UK programmatic digital display ad spending will grow by 66.2% to reach £1.8bn this year, accounting for 59% of the UK display advertising market. By 2016, spending is predicted to reach £2.5bn.

But despite this growth, Davies, speaking to Marketing Week at Quantcast’s Supernova event today (21 October), insisted that programmatic isn’t a form of marketing that gets marketers excited.

“Marketers are too obsessed with marketing science nowadays. They are dazzled by big data and programmatic but the reality is that it is driving very few of them out of their beds in the morning,” said Davies.

“It’s easy as a marketer to fall into the trap of being led by driving efficiencies but programmatic, to truly succeed, has to become truly emotive and the data men must be married with the deep creatives.”

Injecting creativity into programmatic

Last year, Microsoft received press coverage after its response to a customer complaint on Twitter went viral. Glaswegian consumer Chris Carey tweeted the software giant by taking a pop at their latest OOH personalisation campaign for the Lumia phone’s personal assistant app Cortana.

Microsoft subsequently changed the bus stop’s message to talk directly to Carey.

“It could have been risky speaking to him directly or seen as an element of public shaming but he took it fantastically and we worked hard to ensure the message was just right,” explained Davies.

“Above all, it showed that you can inject creativity into a programmatic-based customer service channel. It doesn’t have to just be functional, you can be creative too.”

Davies believes there is a marketing shift internally at major brands such as Microsoft, which is empowering the young and tech savvy.

“Marketing training has traditionally been structured around the least experienced but we’re finding this is turning on its head and the younger marketers are leading the more experienced marketers,” he added.

Pointing to Zoella’s nine-million plus YouTube subscribers, Davies highlighted that technology means young people are now “much more empowered” within marketing.

He concluded: “Influencers are still in their infancy, they will explode further as youth audiences mature.

“Above all, technology is empowering young people and I very much see second screening, and making sure advertising resonates across multiple screens, as the next big thing. We don’t have a mobile strategy, we have a screen strategy.”

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