The incredible advance of digital technologies has taken marketing light years from where it was a decade ago. The industry today is bolstered by more powerful analytical tools, greater target precision and programmatic delivery of content that can accomplish in milliseconds what once took weeks. We are in the space age of marketing, surrounded not only by new opportunities but also changes that necessitate some adaptation.
This is exemplified by programmatic, with its impressive scope and ability to place the individual at the center of marketing. It is a needed response to the shift that has occurred with the rise of social media. While making a brand famous was once the key to a strong and growing customer base, it is no longer effective in today’s multi-screen, multi-device, multi-platform world in which consumers – not advertisers – call the shots.
Programmatic allows companies to deliver their message to very specific target groups, but automatic success cannot be guaranteed. Anchoring people’s attention is near impossible with the inundation of brands and messages from every side. The analytics can seem promising – 3 million YouTube views, 7k Facebook post likes, 12k retweets – but these merely represent a fleeting moment of attention given before a person moves on to something else. Companies must not mistake such numbers as indicators of lasting impressions or true engagement; the kind that develop meaningful relationships that sustain an upwards sales trajectory.
So what drives marketing success in this new era? A human strategy. Instead of solely focusing on numbers, considering who consumers are as people brings clarity to what messages will resonate. While juggling work, social life, relationships, family and innumerable other facets of life, individuals will only give attention to something that enables and adds value. If a company’s message demonstrates it can help consumers meet their goals – whether professional or personal – then your audience will become engaged brand advocates.
Audience data makes this possible – rich targeting segments built from online browsing behavior and offline research companies such as GfK. It provides insight that brings both relevancy and context to advertiser communications, along with making possible interpersonal partnerships between the brand and consumer. This is the foundation of campaigns like Nike’s “Find Your Greatness,” Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings,” Beats by Dr. Dre’s “Hear What You Want” and Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty.”
Data does not have to be analytical, cold and robotic; rather it empowers brands to show their human side and convey messages that people pay attention to and embrace. Instead of doing all the talking, it lets a business listen and respond to its audience. Above all, it inspires trust and respect – both of which are priceless in the crowded marketplace of competitors vying for enduring loyalty.
In this new age of marketing, it is important to apply timeless values to the technology being adopted. Programmatic makes so much possible, but it is most beneficial when used to deliver a message that is meaningful to the recipient. In this way, it will support long term growth of both the client base and reputation of a brand, taking it to infinity and beyond.
The original version of this article appeared here.
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