Rut Or Grave?

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 17, 2014
I started this column to explore trends and what to expect in 2015, but changed the topic after reading this quote: “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.” 

The reality is, if you are in the trenches pumping out campaign, it can be very hard to introduce new things, and even tougher to get excited about that prospect. Transformation is often a buzzword vs. a goal. If you’re in this mindset, maybe a few of my musings below will help you think about the opportunity differently.

Mobile engagement will drive major shifts in image-based experiences.  Some might say, “That’s obvious,” but think about how you create campaigns today, what you test, and the cross-device experience and cross platform efficiencies that play into content marketing strategies.    This fundamental change will simplify your world and bring about a whole new set of challenges that change your thinking. We simply don’t operate in a linear way,  so why build and operate that way?     



AB & MV Testing will be a process of the past.  Why are we continually doing linear testing, campaign over campaign?  Variable over variable? In today’s world, why can’t we self-optimize and remove the manual efforts of campaign testing?  Machine learning and different approaches to sampling methods will make marketers look like Ph.Ds.  

We have over two decades of benchmarks, subscription levels are at an all-time high, and we have behavioral data at the petabyte level.  Why can’t we learn from that? Why can’t it be as simple as saying  “optimize this campaign,” so we stave off testing different headers, subject lines and creative and instead focus on the activities we really want to affect (a sale or activity that leads to a sale).

This process is nothing new for many in the ad-tech space, but creating easy buttons to do it, and getting marketers to trust the process, is the gap between concept and practice.   I challenge marketers to force their vendors/partners and agencies to think programmatically vs. incrementally. Your view of how to approach optimization in a 1:1 fashion will change dramatically.  

The smart device will connect consumption with implied intent.  Yes, what you eat, what you drive, where you drive, when you turn your lights off, where and how often you exercise -- all are diagnostics about YOU and your life.  Apply what consumers do with what we think consumers intend to do based on ad exposure, and we have a real 360 view of consumers and trends.   Sounds creepy, but we are a generation of convenience and connectivity and the data value exchange will only increase. 

How marketers use this data to build better products, offer more convenience and connect it to their brands in a privacy-compliant way will help change their thinking from a communication strategy to a consumer strategy, with less focus on conversion by channel.

While this is the time for “the future of” articles, I challenge you to think about these articles in the context of the Big Rocks parable. If you don’t know what the big rocks are in the first place, you’ll never get to the process of making them fit in the jar.   Get out of your historical rut and do something transformational in 2015.       

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