Putting the People Back in Ad Tech

ad tech

Marketing used to be a matter of sending out direct mail pieces, throwing up a TV ad or hosting a banner on someone’s site. Nowadays, the industry revolves around hard numbers and analytics. With the increasing focus on creating campaigns with positive ROI, marketing technologies have also exploded. Marketing is getting clouded with technologies, obscuring the true necessary factor in every campaign: the people.

A recent conference, Momentous 2015, reminded us that people remain key to the success of digital ad technology, both as campaign creators and as customers. Refocusing your campaigns with people at the center will change the way you use data and ultimately improve your campaigns.

Why Marketers Matter

At Momentous 2015, several speakers touched on the importance of people in general, and marketers in particular. Troy Lerner from Booyah Advertising reminded us that, “at the end of the day, it is about people, not robots.”

Even with modern targeting, ads can still get bottlenecked if messaging doesn’t resonate with the audience. Technologies are able to interpret and process data and make decisions within milliseconds, but that data cannot translate a marketer’s multiple goals into a fully developed campaign.Marketers still need to engage with and make decisions about the campaign, such as, How has the campaign changed over time, and how can we use this info to make actual decisions about products, marketing, etc.?

Finally, Technology allows us to manage smarter campaigns, but it does not deliver the artistry of a human being. Only people can build and develop highly emotional and creative messaging.

Potential Customers Are People Too

Marketers also aren’t marketing to “devices”; they’re marketing to individuals. Ensuring that a website or ad is mobile-friendly, or optimized for a particular browser still doesn’t mean that a person will visit or click on it.

To achieve those goals, marketers must make the consumer want to take an action with personalized messaging. Developing customer profiles based on data is an important step in developing audience segments, but it is still just one step. While technology can help categorize customers via market profiles, it takes a marketer to really identify the needs, wants, and pain points of each persona. This information can then be used to craft tailored marketing messages that present solutions to these problems.  

How to Reach People in the Age of Technology

As the number of devices that people use has risen, the digital marketing landscape has become more convoluted. “According to Nielsen, Americans now own an average of four digital devices, with the average consumer spending 60 hours a week consuming content across them.”

As there isn’t a straight or sure path to conversion, marketers need to intimately understand the different touchpoints that eventually lead to their ultimate goal. Here are some tips to leverage both technology and human intelligence in crafting your campaigns:

  • Marketing in the moment: Stop marketing to segments or profiles, and start leveraging real-time data to get the best message to the right person.
  • Stop planning your marketing spend by channel and device in advance and in silos: Instead, let the accurate media mix emerge by finding the most valuable audience on whatever device.
  • “Every moment is not created equal”: There are times when you should be willing to pay a much higher CPM to reach your target audience.
  • Don’t ignore your current customers: Marketers should nurture current customers for up-sell opportunities. Maximize this audience’s potential, especially since remarketing is one of the most powerful ways to increase sales. These people may already know your brand, but nurturing helps build ongoing trust and respect.

People First

Strong messaging always wins the day, and strong messaging is crafted by people, not technology. Marketers must leverage and translate data into artful messaging and campaigns.

Technology also can’t keep the conversation open with current customers. There’s true power in ongoing engagement. Marketers can’t hide behind technology and forget to constantly nurture those relationships. Technology may provide an island full of insights, but it takes people to be the bridge between that data and customers.