Tag Archives: brand building

Programmatic Advertising should be Slave to The Brand and Performance

“Programmatic is gluten of advertising”

-Jimmy Kimmel

I was speaking couple of weeks back at Marketing Interactive Performance Marketing Confence. It was a really great event and I was happy that I was able to speak from creative angle which quite often gets neglected in programmatic discussion.

Marketing-Interactive Digital Performance Marketing 2017

Marketing-Interactive Digital Performance Marketing 2017

I talked about the state of programmatic, but as in this post I want to highlight three things from the speech that every brand should take into account:

  1. Creativity has to become more ingrained to programmatic advertising.

Creative variables constitute over 50% of programmatic effectiveness, but do you focus 50% of your programmatic efforts to the quality of creative? Over half of the marketing budget is at stake and still many brands are cutting corners when doing creatives to programmatic. Horrible quality will lead to bad performance and will also contribute to ad-blocking (which has exploded in Asia) When same ad reaches person over 40 times a month, sales can actually start to decline.

Also sometimes it seems that programmatic specialists have totally forgotten the importance of strong brand. You can optimize as much as you want, but if people do not recognize and know your brand that tactical tweaking amounts to nothing. Marketing automation will not replace the value of strong brand. And strong brands are built from great user experience and emotional connection.

  1. Programmatic quality will be the utmost importance.

10.9 billion will be wasted on low-quality display ads by 2021. That is over 1/3 of programmatic spend. Above-mentioned creative quality is important element in the quality, but there has been even more fundamental problems within programmatic industry:

  • Viewability (or lack thereof)
  • Ad and click fraud
  • Bots
  • And the poor creative quality (mainly horrible quality and invasive display ads have driven people to block all advertising

Many have been benefiting from ad fraud, whether they have been publishers, buyers and media agencies. Hell, even extremists have done 318K from brands with ads placed to their extreme content. Who have not benefited at all from ad fraud?

Brands and their consumers.

Within the next decade, fake Internet traffic schemes will become the second-largest market for criminal organizations behind cocaine and opiate trafficking. Media (and other) agencies would likely not push dope (maybe consume it) or kill people but they have been happily working indirectly with same criminal organizations.

Industry has to clean its act.

Luckily the quality has become a conversation topic and brands start to realize that if your placement is too cheap it is probably too good to be true. Industry giants are improving as well. Programmatic direct deals in APAC have grown more than 65%. It is everyone´s responsibility to demand and offer quality placements.

  1. Programmatic is not just display advertising

I think it’s a dying industry. The idea that buying a 250 x 250 square display ad is effective, is false, you’re more likely to get bitten by a shark than click on one of those ad units.

– Matthew Oczkowski (Cambridge Analytica) 

Display ads will not be remembered as the best advertising innovations in the world (unlike TV ads and search advertising). 60% of banner clicks are accidental and 90% of them are bots. You don´t need to be mathematician to realize that it is really small percentage of people who are really clicking. And the percentage is not really going up. The world´s first banner ad had 44% CTR and now we have gone to fraction of that (0.16% globally)

However, some are still clicking and they are still bringing results. Display ads are necessary transition for companies to drive performance and learn to operate programmatically.

Programmatic marketing is about machines buying, serving and optimizing advertising (any kind of advertising). Eventually majority of buying will be programmatic, because machines are doing it better than we are. There is probably certain iconic placements that will never become programmatically bought or sold, but they will be small minority. For anything else machines will do it more effectively, accurately and faster. This applies also to actual creatives. If robots can already beat people at GO, conduct entire orchestra or write articles, it would not be the biggest of challenge to create above-the-average display ads. And if you are worried about machines stealing your job, read below quote from this great and acclaimed thinker:

”If machines can do the job, it´s not really a job you want to do”

– Riku Vassinen

Programmatic is still unfortunately in stage of not having unified definitions. When having discussion with different stakeholders of programmatic, it feels like the old parable of blind men touching elephant from different angle. Your view of elephant is totally different based on are you touching its nose or backside. Same thing with programmatic. Some are talking about buying, some about tools, some just about display advertising, some about multiple creative variations etc.

We need to strip away the unnecessary “magic dust” surrounding programmatic and agree on basic definitions. Unfortunately, it has been tainted by snake oil salesmen, who actually benefit of having people confused about what programmatic truly means. They have been benefitting on making it more complicated and less transparent than it should be.

Because at its core, programmatic is a great thing. It is about reaching right audience with right creative on right context and with right price. So essentially it is what advertising has always been. Now we are just able to do it with more precision.

Programmatic advertising is not means to the end. It should always serve as slave that helps to drive stronger brand and better performance.

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Nose-to-Tail Guide to Marketing

Recently there has been lots of buzz around restaurant called Wolf here in Singapore. They embrace “nose-to-tail”-ideology, which was coined by Fergus Henderson, whose restaurant St.John has been the culprit of the movement. Basically nose-to-tail eating means that you utilize all the parts of pig (or other animal).

I think it is an interesting phenomenon and there are certain lesson marketer can learn from nose-to-tail eating:

1. Sense the opportunity
Eating animal parts like tongue was common back in the day, because they were inexpensive. You utilized the whole hog, because you did not want waste good any edible parts. Nowadays the average restaurant visitor is so distanced from the body parts of animal, that there is opportunity now to charge high premium for previous b-grade product like bone marrow. Offal, bone marrow or even liver used to be common dishes but now they are exotic. On the other hand, average restaurant visitor is more adventurous cultural eater nowadays having been exposed to cuisines around the world. This provides great opportunity to reinvent some long lost meat dishes to paying audience.

2. Go back to the roots
Henderson did not need to reinvent wheel. Many of dishes are based on forgotten British recipes. Whereas other competitors were either looking for hypermodern approach (molecular gastronomy) or ethical cuisine for inspiration, Ferguson used the parts everyone else neglected. More often brands should really revisit what has made them unique instead of trying to revamp themselves every other year. Sometimes the answer to your problem is closer than you would believe.

3. Build the philosophy
When the money was tight, it made sense to utilize the whole animal. It strikes a chord well also with current discussion around ethicality of meat eating and always when financial crisis hits. Like Fergus Henderson concluded: 
“If you´re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to eat the whole thing”
It is not exactly going vegetarian or addressing the problems of meat production, but it is still step to the right direction.

4. Name it well
Nose-to-tail invokes curiosity and immediately tells what to expect. It is also quite open canvas to experiment as you can serve anything starting from nose ending to the tail. It does not exclude you to serve more “normal” items as well”

5. Make business sense
Making profit in restaurant business is actually about making more out of less costly ingredients instead of charging high premium of expensive items. Wagyu beef is expensive for the restaurant as well. So when done well, nose-to-tail is makes quite a much business sense as well. The premium you can charge for tongue is quite high.

 6. Deliver with passion
There are no shortcuts to excellence. Even with the five above points intact without the passion and craft for good food, Nose-to-tail eating would not be the phenomenon what it is now. In the current competitive landscape it is not enough that your product is superb, you have to tell a good story as well.

I have not yet tested Wolf, so the verdict is still out for its quality. Otherwise, I am firm believer of nose-to-tail eating.

Firstly it makes a good story and the most importantly it tastes good!

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Build Your Brand on the Myth, Not Facts

I always use Moleskine notebook.

And yes I know it is quite silly. I know that Hemingway, Picasso or Van Gogh never used Moleskines, per se. Yes, they used some kind of notebooks back in the day, but not any particular brand. Moleskine just started to do notebooks “inspired” by those old notebooks in 1997. I found it out a while after I had filled my first couple of Moleskines with my brilliant ideas (emphasis mine). Of course, I had envisioned myself scribbling concepts like Hemingway wrote his punctuated prose. Finding out the truth did not stop me from buying Moleskine though. The notebooks were ok enough and it still send my aspiration message to others. Good story is interesting than boring truth.

Some brands should be built on myths not facts.

Notebooks were totally low interest category when Moleskine arrived. Which does not really make sense, because you produce high interest content in your notebook. It is disrespectful for your ideas to go on cheapskate notebook or back of a printed A4. There was opportunity to bring new product there to celebrate the creativity of the people (or their perceived creativity) and make some money at the same time.

Also as our life becomes increasingly more filled with digital devices, people have the desire to do & have something tangible. The rise of Moleskine has actually happened almost parallel to digitalization: starting from dotcom boom, to Web2.0 and the current mobile revolution.

If your product is good enough (if Moleskine product would be really inferior, no one would use it, no matter the story), your audience is not really searching for performance. You are searching for the inspiring story and a product which makes you feel good about yourself.

I have had numerous discussions with clients, who have also Moleskines. Usually being the party pooper planner I tell the real story of the brand. That has not been a reason to stop using Moleskine for anyone. We rather believe in a good story than in the reality. Having a Moleskine showcases certain desired attitude. It also shows that you are still falling prey to marketing communications. I find it as a very comforting thought: there is still need for our line of industry. People still need interesting stories to justify their consumption.

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