A Resolution For The Age Of The Customer

Our New Year’s resolutions tend to be the same every year: be more productive; drink less; go to the gym. And the same is true for those of us in the advertising industry – every year we say we need to ensure our ads appear only in the most suitable environments and are seen only by the right audience.

In 2016 I’m confident we can make this happen more consistently, thanks not only to the technology at our disposal but also to the ongoing realisation in creative circles that data and automation are not quite the enemies they were once perceived as. What’s clear is that the year ahead will be an interesting one for anyone buying media programmatically.

If the right content does not address the right audience, is built purely from a brand perspective and does not respond dynamically to the consumer’s needs (optimised by data and insights), the response will always be low, no matter how good the positioning or targeting of the pre-roll or display ad. The good news is that I think people from all corners of the industry are now just about on the same page where this is concerned – we understand that millennials do not engage if the content is not relevant. As a result of polluting them with the wrong messages, ad blocking has become the topic du jour, a subject discussed further in Havas Sports & Entertainment 2016 Trends Report.



Together, we need to understand how customers truly behave when given access to information that relates specifically to their interests. What time of day and with what tone of voice would certain types of customers prefer to receive content? Do millennials like to receive emails or do they prefer to receive notifications within an app? And which types of content are most engaging to them? This is just a fraction of the essential considerations that will be vital to engage with each and every individual customer during the year ahead.

In 2016 I believe data and creativity will be talked about more than ever in the same conversations, as we continue to break down traditional creative and technology silos. This will help us collaborate on the use of smart data to fuel on-demand, native, video, audio and other rapidly expanding formats that hold great potential.

We will see creatives work closer with data specialists to evolve the ability to deliver more personalised campaigns that resonate more powerfully with individual audiences. For the first time we have the ability to target different people, well, differently – more creatively and with personalised visuals, videos and meaningful ideas that will spark desires and actions.

I want to see more campaigns like the one from Unilever this summer in Brazil. The company’s local agency re-launched its Axe deodorant brand with a video called Romeo Reboot, which could be programmatically served in 100,000 different variations – with the soundtrack or the setting in the ad changing depending on the viewer’s profile. It’s believed to be the biggest creatively driven programmatic play to date and will inspire a whole host of creative executions in the future.

As a result, brands will finally stop trying to repurpose three-minute TV ads for a digital audience and instead think in terms of how people consume content on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and other media channels in order to address them in a relevant way across programmatic media channels.

In this age of the customer, we now know exactly where to find our audience – the focus for the next 12 months should be on getting to know them as individuals so that we’re able to speak to different segments in real-time and mid-campaign, in a relevant and engaging way.

We’re entering a year that will see the entire ecosystem of owned, shared, earned and paid media step it up a gear. The customer decision journey will be explored by creatives and data analysts working together to deliver truly personalised and meaningful experiences – it’s going to be a great year to work on the tech side of media.

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