Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Programmatic Creative

Is that title an oxymoron?

This morning a post in iMedia entitled "Programmatic Creative: The bridge between beauty and data" the authors make the case for linking the data and creative teams.   The story line is in the context of display advertising and real-time-bidding although the prime example is the virtual car buying process created by Jaguar Land Rover.

The concept is that one can optimize creative, not unlike what we've already proven with A/B testing on web sites, to improve conversion.  This is part of the larger trend around what the Winterberry Group calls programmatic marketing (registration required for white paper) where there is a method to the madness that some call marketing.

Having worked across the marketing spectrum of agencies, marketing services firms and media/publishers here's my thoughts on the analyst's role in this.
  1. Creative directors work with account planning to distill a client's request into a manifesto which is a concise description of the need to be satisfied.   In a somewhat ironic twist, the best creative solutions emerge when the situation is described in a very specific and precise way.  Thus, the role of analyst is to help sharpen that single paragraph to the point where the creative team can do their thing. 
  2. Marketing services firms often help with consumer segmentation, campaign strategy, and tactical execution.  They are likely to be on the hook for measurement and performance analyses.  Here the role of the analyst is a little like burning both end of the candle - input to the creative process as well as confirmation of its impact.  
  3. Media/publishers have yet a different point of view.  Their success relies on identifying and providing audiences that advertisers are interested in reaching.  In this scenario the analyst is looking across campaigns, web site signals and other data sources to identify and create the appropriate segments.  Providing counts of visitors is no longer enough and content interaction is becoming key.
These areas will probably converge faster in direct response advertising, e.g. driving sales or using promotional content, than in awareness scenarios due to fewer measurement challenges.  But as we better understand how people decide we can expect the learning to be applied to brand campaigns as well.

All this suggests that analyst or data scientist needs to have conviction and step up to line decision making.  No longer are we just a staff function providing options and opinions.

To answer the question: 'nope; programmatic creative- in the larger sense - will likely be the norm.'

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