Contactless pay, touchscreens, Siri, cashier-free stores and delivery robots, there’s no denying the fact we’re all living in a digital world right now and it’s a world that’s becoming more sophisticated by the day.
These examples are just a tiny snapshot of what can be achieved these days with the power of technology. They’re also advancements that are impacting us in both our personal and working lives.
One industry that’s being significantly shaped by the digital era and, in fact, is leading the way in many circumstances, is the marketing sector, where the use of technology is evolving as rapidly as buyer behaviour.
An example of this is programmatic advertising. There are all sorts of definitions of programmatic advertising floating around out there, but here’s one that we think sums it up particularly well. It’s from Kenneth Kulbok, LinkedIn’s programmatic sales lead:
‘Programmatic is buying digital advertising space automatically, with computers using data to decide which ads to buy and how much to pay for them.
‘Traditional ways of buying digital ad space involve the publisher running the campaign, while programmatic puts the control to manage and measure back in the hands of the advertiser.’
So, that’s a very simplistic, top-level overview definition (courtesy of Kenneth), but why should B2B marketers use it?
Good question – and our friend Kenneth has briefly touched upon the answer in his explanation. You see programmatic enables marketers to have greater control over their advertising decisions and make these decisions about how they want to engage with consumers in real-time.
It’s widely reported that marketers have a love affair with data right now and programmatic is one of the tools that can enable them to use their data to deliver their campaigns to the right customers, at the right time and with the right messages.
According to the 2017 Gartner CMO Strategy Survey, customer experience, customer retention and growth will be the most vital strategies to support marketing outcomes over the next 18 months. And as a result, marketers are exploring technologies that can unify and augment customer data to engage with audiences across multiple touchpoints in an informed and consistent way.
As we mentioned at the start of this post, buying behaviour is rapidly-evolving. Buyers are becoming savvier as they shop around online for solutions to their problems. They also have an ever-expanding wealth of information at their fingertips too.
Yes, this does mean there are plenty of opportunities to be had for B2B marketers, but there are also plenty of challenges too, with one of the main issues being how to differentiate themselves from the ‘noise’ that’s growing by the day. According to Microsoft, buyers can be exposed to as many as 600 signals a day from brands that are hunting ears, eyeballs and ultimately, wallets and purses (and we’re sure this figure will have no doubt increased by the time you’ve reached the end of this article…)
But programmatic alone won’t enable B2B marketers’ campaigns to stand out from the crowd
While it may make their advertising-buying processes far more efficient, giving them more time to create more sophisticated, customised strategies, it’s only half of the equation. The other half – is predictive marketing.
We all know that technology has changed how we ‘consume’ information – how we source it, the way we access it, the way we digest it and the way we search for it has all changed (and is continuing to change).
And if B2B marketers want their marketing activity to appeal to their existing customers and transform them into loyal advocates and attract new customers, then they need to remain current and relevant.
Remember how we said how the marketing world’s really into data these days? Well, predictive marketing enables B2B marketers to use their data to understand consumers’ behavioural insights, which is one of the first steps to delivering effective programmatic strategies.
Predictive marketing enables marketers to deliver highly-targeted and highly-intuitive marketing by creating good fit audiences that are demonstrating the right type of buying behaviour
It can then activate these audiences in real-time by sending them personalised messages, via programmatic advertising, as well as personalised dynamic content in return for reaching landing pages.
This level of insight significantly enhances marketers’ ability to send the right message, to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, in the right format and by using the right channel to provide maximum benefit. (You’ll find out more about predictive marketing in our blog, ‘What does predictive marketing mean for B2B brands?’)
So, what does the future hold for programmatic? Well, it’s being hailed as the future of advertising and, as with all technological advancements, if used in the right way, there’s no reason why this prediction shouldn’t come true.
However, right now, while it’s estimated that 70% of all digital media buys in the UK are happening automatically, only 19% of B2B companies are actually spending their media budgets on it (eMarketer). We’re sure programmatic will have its day, the question is, when? Watch this space, the journey’s only just begun…
For more information or to find out more about how predictive marketing can boost your programmatic advertising efforts and ultimately increase your marketing return on investment, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 724120.