Seven Functions Needed for Marketing in an Always-on World

Digital consumption is always-on: consumers stream music while they commute, instant message each other during the day, stream videos or game at night, as well as upload photos and short videos on social platforms.

This always-on environment means marketing needs to be ready to activate and serve the right creative at the right time. Successful brands today are running always-on search, video and social campaigns, using content from an ever-growing digital creative content hub. From travel-related creatives for frequent flyers who need roaming plans to competitively targeted creatives to drive prepaid purchases at a nearby point of sale. Having a large library is necessary to appeal to a range of relevant consumer needs, locations and times.

Such personal marketing is underpinned by an infrastructure combining data and insights to understand the consumer. For instance, anonymised third party data from a partner may reveal high value customers’ habits beyond mobile usage, such as which publications they read and what locations they visit. Using this data enables highly specific creatives to be served in the right context, increasing relevance and improving results.

Measurement also needs to be robust to understand how each creative influences purchase behaviour. Setting up measurement methods such as online-to-offline attribution to in-app analytics provides insight into the most effective creative or call to action in an ad set, and can inform marketers about the right time to rotate creatives and maintain engagement rates and performance.

The need to understand audiences, serve and rotate ads at the right place and right time, then measure their results and evaluate next steps requires a new level of digital specialism. From tech enabling dynamic advertising, to data informing decisions, to creative that appeals to audience interests, advertisers need to embrace digital transformation to prepare for the future of marketing.

There are 7 required functions:

1. Research, Insights & Consumer Journey Planning

Understanding the consumer and mapping out each touch point is the first step. Combining first and third party data with insights research can surface each customer’s motivations and needs.

2. Creative Ideation and Big Idea

Once customers’ motivations have been identified, creative ideation translates these into effective storytelling. As data reveals the needs and habits of each consumer, creative strategy can accurately address them to improve brand affinity.

3. Integrated Communications Planning

Communications planning lays the groundwork for conveying the big creative idea. Enhanced by tech and data, communications planning maps out a comprehensive range of channels and windows of opportunity when and where consumers are most receptive.

4. Creative Execution

After deciding on the communications plan, data-driven creative execution ensures ideas are brought to life in the most compelling way. This is achieved through continuous optimisation of copy and visual elements to optimise their impact on the consumer’s mindset at the very moment they see the ad, taking into account the consumer’s behaviours and preferences, channel, and device. Using data properly is therefore essential to efficient creative execution.

5. Media Buying & Reporting

As the advertising ecosystem surges towards a programmatic future, media buying and reporting must be fully digital and transparent to ensure ad spend goes to the right channels and audiences at the right time.

In 2018, digital specialist agencies will become more commonly remunerated on business goals, a significant departure from opaque models of partnerships, kickbacks and rebates. Advertisers are now increasingly looking to partner with channel specialists on transparent percentage of spend payment models and focus on ROI metrics rather than media cost metrics, underscoring the need for transparency.

6. Data & Analytics

Data and analytics forms the backbone of creative and media measurement. As campaigns are run, real-time data and analytics ensures marketers can rapidly make decisions to optimise performance.

7. Engineering

All marketing systems need to be connected, from advertising to analytics to CRM. Engineering brings these systems together for clear attribution and builds new functionality for richer landing pages and apps. The result is better visibility and more engaged customers.

To integrate all seven points, organisations need a clear strategy for digital transformation, whether from an internally-appointed driver, or external consultancy with deep digital specialism. Given the growing complexity of today’s digital ecosystem, the ideal solution often calls for a combination of both. Prepare for 2018 and beyond by examining every function and trying to solve for each.

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