Commentary

How Performance Media Is The New Programmatic

Ever since John Wanamaker uttered his famous quote, advertisers have long pondered over which half of their advertising is working. But in today’s marketing environment, it seems even worse.

Brand marketers that have not fully embraced performance media and measurement, are squarely left in the dust asking themselves and those around them an even more basic question: “Does my advertising work at all?”

It shouldn’t be this way. It’s 2017.

With the exponential growth of the digital ad landscape and corresponding growth of measurement technologies and platforms, we can not only accurately target consumers, but track and measure just how much our campaigns are impacting consumer behavior, and yes, even sales.

Performance media tactics that are at the CMO’s and agency’s disposal are seemingly endless: Social (paid and unpaid), paid search, digital campaigns (display, mobile, video), retargeting, SEO, SEM, Web site marketing and email drip campaigns — all of which can be tracked and measured.

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But let’s be honest, there are still a lot of full-service and media agencies, of all sizes, which are more focused on entering and winning awards, and their own press and reputations, than on ROI and actually driving your business forward.

Sure, they may tell you otherwise, and sure, many of them measure reach, click-through rates and maybe even engagement rates, but are they tracking indicators from the media all the way down to your sales? If not, you really need to have that discussion with your agency.

For the longest time, agency folk have floated the idea to clients that campaigns are either brand building or performance-based. And never shall the two intertwine. I adamantly disagree. What I like to call ‘performance media’ plus innovation is essentially the sweet spot and cannot be beat.

If your agency can offer you transparency as well, then you have the big three components that will bring you the best efficiency and impact — and will ultimately produce better sales for your brand. Programmatic advertising may still be the buzz term of the moment, but unless you have 100% transparency so you know what you are paying, you can’t possible have a good handle on your campaign’s performance.

It’s well documented that CMO tenures are getting shorter and shorter each year, and the reason is simple -- increased pressure for performance. In what I see as an increasingly performance-driven world, ‘traditional’ communication models are no longer relevant.

Integration across the continuum of creative, media and content is the new nom de guerre.

Of course, you need a deep understanding of the cultural, economic, business and consumer behavioral underpinnings impacting your business, and how they inform messaging and content, customized to your audiences. But agencies that focus on response, and the engagement between brands and prospects across paid, earned and owned channels, and can measure and optimize in real-time, will find themselves with the keys to the castle.

The new communication paradigm should include a customer journey of micro moments, with useful and relevant creative and content, frictionless user-friendly brand experiences, tailored to consumers, based on their behavior and location. But delivering the right message at the right time for the right price is simply table stakes for today’s marketer.

Ask yourself (and your agency) not just, are you paying the best rates? But does your advertising actually work? Today’s media has the ability to work harder than ever before. If you play it right, your campaigns will deliver tangible and measurable results, and you’ll no longer have to ask which half of your advertising is working.

4 comments about "How Performance Media Is The New Programmatic".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 8, 2017 at 10:20 a.m.

    Strange, Alan. I've been in and around the branding advertising business for a long time and I have yet to see an agency trying to sell an advertiser on a branding strategy for one of its brands that was not going to produce results----namely ad awareness followed by a positive impact on sales.Obviously, not all ideas for ad campaigns work as well as was hoped but I find it difficult to imagine an agency showing a client a proposed positioning strategy and various contemplated TV ad executions as if they were art forms while at the same time showing no concern about possible sales results. Of course, few agencies can or will guarantee such results as too many of the variables---such as the quality of the product---are out of their control, but that's not really a contradiction as the client has to accept some responsibility too. It's not all up the the agency.

  2. dorothy higgins from Mediabrands WW, March 8, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.

    Spot on, Ed. We have promoted balanced and integrated activation and branding, performance and perception, sales and equity, whatever your dichotomous verbiage of choice since I started as a young babe with a waist 40 years ago.  Can we please stop pretending to invent what are evergreeen and perdurable principles and work on the updates tools and data analysis to more accurately measure and attribute just who we reach and how we leave an impression? 

  3. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC, March 8, 2017 at 5:03 p.m.

    "Ask yourself" what is the writer shilling.

  4. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct replied, March 17, 2017 at 5:31 p.m.

    Agreed, Ed. Having lived in and with the direct response (now called "performance marketing") biz as well as others, I've always been embarassed when DRTV agencies (like Quigley-Simpson) reveal such ignorance about brand work. 

    Advertising is a big world filled with good options - and client wisdom is choosing the option that best fits their financial needs, strategic needs, abilities, product, message, and other business realities. 

    Unfortunately, there's a tendency in advertising, for agencies to tell people that their solution is always best. No solution is ALWAYS best.

    (And, for future depth, over my career I've ended up believing that the biggest need among ad agencies and advertising people is to learn about business. Then to become adept at fitting an advertising solution that's good at responding to that business need.)

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