Pernod Ricard, O2 and Samsung on the next level of programmatic

As programmatic continues to gain momentum, Thibaut Portal, media lab leader at Pernod Ricard, Dan Michelson, innovation and capability lead at O2 and Andrew Wynd, head of media at Samsung, share their forward-looking strategies

Andrew Wynd at Samsung, Dan Michelson at O2 and Thibaut Portal at Pernod Ricard
Andrew Wynd at Samsung, Dan Michelson at O2 and Thibaut Portal at Pernod Ricard

Define your approach to Programmatic?

Wynd: We have been exploring programmatic since 2012 with encouraging results and we expect it to be the majority of display spend by the end of 2016.  We have worked together with our agency partners to establish a roadmap for this, as part of the wider digital excellence initiative alongside integrated search and mobile innovation.

Last year we automated our search buying and this has had significant benefits to the efficiency of our media spend here.  Building on this, we have invested in a DMP [data management platform] and we see this as a key plank in our programmatic strategy. The DMP is already giving us added efficiency for our media investment, especially in display.

Portal: At Pernod Ricard, we think about programmatic in two key ways: the first is what programmatic is able to do in terms of real-time capacities to advertise. The second is how accurate we can be – through leveraging data – in targeting the people we want to go for. It is crucial for us to drive the right messages to the right people at the right time. We operate in 65 markets from Colombia to Australia and have more than 50 brands, so from a digital marketing point of view it is very important for us to have strong strategies and positions regarding programmatic.

Michelson: Programmatic gives us an opportunity to target specific groups around things we want to shout about. We are working on building an agile production process to fit our goal to become hyper-relevant to the consumer.

What are the particular benefits of programmatic for your brand?

Portal: The first obvious advantage is the capacities of programmatic for immediate and performance-led media buying and mixing that with data and consumer profiling. The second is the capabilities of programmatic to be geo-localised and to be super flexible in terms of activation of campaigns. It gives us the opportunity to enable what we call ‘moments of conviviality’, those special times of the day when consumers are most likely to have glasses in their hands, most likely to have the opportunity to connect with our brand.

Wynd: We have been able to give consumers better experiences by personalising ad copy and landing destinations. In the long run this personalisation will only grow, making experiences more personal and our brand more relevant to our consumers, which in turn should drive equity. We are also gaining greater understanding of the consumer and this is having a benefit for how we communicate across the board and not just in channels where we can buy programmatically.

What are the challenges of taking programmatic to the next level?

Portal: Firstly, there is the internal challenge around education, training and redefining the ways of working internally [between brands and markets as well as between the marketing and the sales teams].

Secondly, working with media agencies. Again, there is a new mindset to implement because programmatic is not just media buying. It is also data and consumer insight. It is about moving from a traditional media approach to a data-driven media approach so those skills are required.

It is also a question of working with the big media owners: the Googles and Facebooks and what the common added value we could have with them. So it is really about redefining the whole ecosystem in terms of media.

Michelson: The media agencies are all over programmatic but when it comes to creative agencies, they are still yet to get to grips with what programmatic is and how to deal with it from a programmatic point of view. The industry needs to start getting creative agencies thinking about programmatic in a very different way to just standard assets.

We want to be able to get to a point where we have an infinite amount of creative variants that can be completely relevant to every single consumer every time we advertise to them rather than having to serve out generic messaging. The only way you can have those one-to-one communications with consumers is if the creative vehicle that you have allows you to start communicating on that basis.

Wynd: There are a few challenges, not least what the industry defines as ‘programmatic’.  We need greater transparency into where our ads are running, whether they are viewable and who is charging what for the ‘buy’ and what the margins are.  We also need to be careful that the personalised communications that programmatic allows doesn’t lead to fragmentation and therefore inefficiency.

The key for me though, is the human sitting behind the computer and the programmatic buy and what he or she chooses as ‘the metric’.  This is where we are spending our time over the next six months, making sure the computer is automated against the thing we care about, rather than an inadequate proxy for the thing we care about.

Where does programmatic go in the future?

Michelson: In the immediate future, we are considering how you start opening up additional inventory sources in a programmatic way. The home page takeovers and more traditional assets that media owners keep back is the first stage here. Then the next stage is looking at the topics of how do you get first party data coming into the programmatic space. Further afield, how do you start buying things like TV and press programmatically?

Wynd: The opportunities are huge and we have seen some great efficiency savings from programmatic in the short term.  The really exciting area is what it delivers in terms of audience insight and the opportunity to tailor messaging.

Portal: Programmatic is starting to answer the marketer’s goals of the right messages at the right time for the right consumers. Before we were somewhat blind. I don’t think we have 20/20 vision now but we are starting to see and it’s super exciting. We are getting so many learnings and insights and, through personalised messages and added-value messages, we are in a position to show consumers that we really care about them.

Dan Michelson, Thibaut Portal and Andrew Wynd will all be speaking on ‘Taking your programmatic strategy to the next level’ at Marketing Week’s Get with the Programmatic conference on 29 September.