For many years, senior marketers have been reliant on a range of companies and services to fulfil their marketing objectives. Collective buying power, planning information, marketing technology, data, and creative have all ultimately been controlled by someone other than the advertiser. But, as Rob Webster (pictured below), chief strategy officer, Crimtan explains, recent technology developments and initiatives have meant that many marketers have re-examined the role they play in their digital marketing campaigns.
2017 will see more and more marketers looking to take back control of media buying, planning, attribution, creative, and data – and they will play an active part in decisions over which digital marketing technology they use. Let’s look a little more closely at each of these:
Control of media buying
Before programmatic marketplaces existed, huge buying power was needed to procure media at a market-leading rate. This meant that even the biggest advertiser relied on a media buying agency to procure their media. With programmatic media now available through a platform this size advantage is massively eroded.
Such conditions existed in digital marketing since the early days of paid search 15 years ago; but they are now prevalent in display advertising and are extending into offline media, notably digital out-of-home and advanced TV.
This democratisation of buying power not only gives the advertiser control, but also allows for a more agile approach with faster reactions to events and more dynamic movement of spend between channels as appropriate.
Control of planning and attribution
In 2016, forward-thinking companies started to use technology that allows advertisers to form their own attribution models, and this trend will blossom in 2017. Meanwhile, other companies are doubling down on transparency in media rates, in the planning and buying process, and of any data being used. Transparency, done in-house or with a partner, allows advertisers to take back strategic control of the planning process.
Such changes in planning and buying do not mean that there is no need for a media agency; far from it, expertise and technology in planning and buying are vital for success. But advertisers having more insight and control into the process does change the relationship.
Advertisers have allowed agencies to make all the planning and buying decisions on their behalf for years; and now technology means that advertisers, who choose to, can work with alternative best-in-breed partners to advise, collaborate, and execute as they deem appropriate.
Control of creative
Advertisers can take advantage of new technology to control their own creative portfolio and make it available across multiple forms of media. Partners with the right technology and creative expertise empower advertisers and allow them to influence the creative process.
Historically, an advertiser might give a brief and sign off the final work; while it is now possible for the advertiser to work collaboratively through the whole process with the partner who adds the most value. This makes a profound difference, as creative can now be much more agile and responsive to data and events.
Technology that builds feed-based creative and facilitates faster change to templates opens the door to dynamic creative optimisation in more and more scenarios (with big advantages in digital out-of-home). The ability to scale personalised creative messages across different locations, countries, and languages is of huge strategic value to advertisers who want to grow their footprint in more diverse situations and markets.
Control of data and technology
Perhaps the most important area of control for advertisers is data and technology – which are very much interlinked. Advertisers now want to (and can, and should) own the technology or technology relationships they utilise for marketing. This allows a marketer to have much more control over how their data is used from a marketing perspective – by ensuring that it is not under-used and preventing data leakage.
Furthermore, having control of these elements allows the advertiser to understand the ROI in data and technology and is vital for creating a comprehensive strategy built around paid, owned, and earned assets.
New opportunities for better marketing
The net result of this shift towards more advertiser-centric marketing programs will be profound. Marketing programs will become faster paced, more agile, and data-driven. The pace of innovation will increase and, ultimately, results should dramatically improve
The advertisers, and their partners, who benefit most will be those who engage fully with this new world, a world where control rests with the advertiser and the responsibility to execute is shared among those best able to respond to their needs.