What are the three scariest words to a marketeer? Well, according to David Pogue, Tech Critic at Yahoo Finance, at the OMD Oasis at CES last week they are “skip this ad”. The four members of the panel delved deeper into why consumers want to skip ads and their conclusion? It’s all down to relevance (or lack of it).
Bastien Schupp, Vice President Global Marketing Communications at Groupe Renault, explored the notion of relevance further by equating it to the car industry. He explained that, at any one time, 96% of people are not in the market for a vehicle and yet around 90% of communication is attributed to them. He talked about how we need more balance in focusing on the 4% who are actually ‘in the market’ to buy a car by marketing to individuals rather than marketing to the masses. His stark warning?
“More efficient targeting is about relevance. And if we don’t become more relevant we are doomed.”
Bastien also added that it goes far beyond targeting, it’s also about relevant content too. Simply put? “You can’t just put your TV commercial on digital platforms”. He pointed out that achieving this shift was “a long process” and to ensure this happens “agencies need to transform rapidly”.
Paul Kelly, Chief Partnerships Officer at Awesomeness TV, elaborated further on the topic of relevance. He made a clear distinction between ‘individual relevance’ (something that satisfies the need state at that particular moment in time) and also ‘cultural relevance’ which he said was “an inconvenient truth… purchase decisions are often made on emotion rather than fact”. Kelly insisted that by continuing to chase increasing accountability through all forms of addressable media “we are possibly missing out on cultural relevance”. He cited an example from Honda who had decided to target younger age groups even though they are obviously not in the market for a Honda. The reasoning behind that move? Because if Honda don’t speak to those younger consumers then by the time they get into the market Honda won’t be in their consideration set. He added, “a lot of big brands are missing out on that right now”.
Nikki Mendonça, President at OMD EMEA, interjected and stated that brands need to become more disruptive. She believes that since the economic crisis many clients had become “risk averse” but she had detected more recently that some clients were becoming “more willing to take risks”. In terms of addressable media, she added that “we are only at the beginning” and the main challenges to adoption would be the acceleration of technology, how we use the data and data protection laws. But she made it clear that both advertisers and agencies need to get on board because “no-one is going to stop the addressability train”.
What followed was a lively debate on the future of live content via the likes of Periscope, Meerkat or Facebook Live. Bastien Schupp believes it’s potential is “hugely overrated”. He conceded that it may offer an interesting opportunity at live sporting events (such as unique viewing at half time during a football match) but for the automotive industry he was much more sceptical: “we could broadcast from a Motor Show but frankly unless we had a flying car then no-one would watch”.
David Pogue disagreed. His assertion was that the power of live video was its authenticity. He offered a personal perspective of taking the unboxing of technology (something we have all witnessed on YouTube) and taking it to a live platform. For example, he had reviewed the Apple Airpots in a 15-minute unveiling last month. Despite the fact that he didn’t think anyone would watch he was astonished that “58,000 people watched me open a box!”. In the following days, the views jumped up into the hundreds of thousands. He went on to say that although it wasn’t necessarily the best quality broadcast the fact that “you can’t edit it and you can’t script it” is one of the main reasons why consumers love it so much.
Paul Kelly had a foot in each camp. He acknowledged that there were limited applications for ‘live’ right now but still felt that we would pivot towards it when we had figured out how best to use it. And that is a challenge for clients, agencies and vendors alike to determine how best to use the platform. What is also true is that the technology will continue to evolve and as such previously undreamed-of applications will inevitably surface. But the key driver of the platform will, as ever, be the consumer themselves. As Kelly put it so succinctly “it depends solely on what the audience wants to see”.
The annual tech and innovation fest gets under way in Cologne this week. This year’s tantalising premise is that, “Digital is everything — not every thing is digital.” Why? Because digital marketing is about to get personal.
In recent years there has been the perennial focus on smart data, the internet of things and convergence. But, this year the ‘tip of the spear’ will be about people-based marketing. As all forms of communication become increasingly addressable the undeniable truth is that we now have the capability to reach people on a one-to-one basis and that represents an opportunity to speak to consumers in an eminently personalised fashion.
Delivering relevant messages to an individual based on registered user data, on a specific identifiable device and doing all that at scale, basically, means that marketing will evolve beyond all recognition over the next decade. From ‘marketing to the many’ to the ‘marketing of the individual’ will virtually eradicate wastage and revolutionise the way we interact with consumers and augment their online experiences. All sounds very ‘Minority Report’ doesn’t it?
Since the advent and meteoric rise of programmatic over the past few years, we have used technology to reach consumers much more efficiently. However maybe, as an industry, we didn’t focus enough on how effective the messaging could be by harnessing the power of personalisation.
Research from Adobe suggests that some marketers already believe they understand the role of personalisation in the buying process – according to their numbers, around 83% of retail marketers think they do a decent job in personalising experiences for consumers. Conversely, consumers clearly don’t agree, as only 29% of them feel that retailers effectively offer them personalised content or offers. Patently there is a disturbing disparity between client perception and customer reality.
TECH VS REAL WORLD
No one would argue that technology could ever really replace the prominence of real world experiences and the need to truly understand consumer need states and motivations. But, as the event organisers put it:
“Even though there are still some things in consumers’ lives that do not look digital at first glance and perhaps may never become digital, we are convinced that everything — including the relationship between consumers and brands — can be further improved through digitisation”.
So, if the solution lies in the enhancement of the online experience to make it more idiosyncratic and engaging for the consumer then that begs another question – how do marketers achieve that enhanced experience?
The answer is to make the experiences more powerful, consistent, sustainable and meaningful. The research is clear that Gen Y consumers prefer experiences to possessions and actually want brands to interact with them. In fact, according to Google, 16% of them actually want you to provide decent content so that they can share it with their friends.
Of course, there are already some excellent examples of clients who are already adopting a more customised approach to delivering personalised content to their consumers. For example, starting in Denmark, McDonald’s have begun the move away from pure demographics and started focusing on behaviour and needs in order to become much more relevant and targeted. They have adapted their marketing to highlight every single moment in a customer’s daily media usage and apply a ‘My McDonald’s’ strategy instead of a ‘Mass McDonald’s’ approach delivering dynamic creative messages at the right time, to the right person, on the right platform.
The point is that although there are some pockets of excellence around the globe, the reality is that many marketers haven’t yet embarked upon this kind of transformational journey towards enhanced personal online experiences. A panel moderated by Adweek will debate this very topic featuring speakers from IBM, Publicis and OMD entitled ‘Changing Marketing Agency Landscape: Building the most rewarding customer experiences‘. It may well prove to be a rallying cry for the industry and a catalyst for accelerated adoption of personalisation.
PERSONALISE OR DIE
To conclude, I decided to garner the opinion of a leading marketer from one of the world’s biggest advertisers. Bastien Schupp, vice president of global marketing communications at Groupe Renault, made it very clear that agencies and marketers who fail to react positively to this paradigm shift will be the ones who ultimately lose out.
“Communicating with individuals is undoubtedly the single biggest challenge ahead of us. The transformation of the creative and media buying processes will profoundly disrupt the way we do marketing. Getting big agency and client organisations to adapt to this change will define who stays in the game.”
The message is simple and somewhat stark. Personalise or die.