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Programmatic Creative Is Not Robotic

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 24 Jul, 2017
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How to Combine Precision and Empathy for an Effective Effort

To successfully engage potential customers during the sweet spot of their buying journey, marketing leaders and teams need precision and empathy more than automation tools and available media.

Programmatic creative — technology that uses data (precision) to automate and accelerate routine, repetitive components of developing an ad — garners plenty of attention these days. The concept enables marketers to quickly create multiple online ads in different formats for different devices targeted to different audiences.

It hasn’t, however, automatically triggered effective customer connections and results. That feat requires a little effort, creativity, and lots of empathy on the part of marketers, with that last component being a possible springboard to turn accumulated data into a story that resonates with customers.

Mix Insights and Emotions to Tell a More Compelling Story

Programmatic creative technology is a vital resource in taking the guesswork out of digital advertising. By using software to analyze a customer’s browsing habits, spending histories, and more, marketers now have the data to creatively — and affordably — test and target their messages to customers. They shouldn’t, however, let that data lull them into creative complacency and information overload.

While it is often viewed as “robotic” because of its inherent automation capabilities, programmatic creative actually encourages marketers to explore new approaches and ideas. Meanwhile, dynamic advertising individually targets customer needs and their current pit stop in the buying journey and creates a multitude of possibilities in reaching the intended audience. These content counterparts can amplify one another to be scaled across multiple screens and devices.

However, it should be marketers — not technology — dictating the tone of the creative process. Empathy enables data gathered from the automation technology to translate into a compelling audience story. Understanding pertinent, accurate customer details helps marketers craft tailored ads that mold the customer’s decision-making process.

This starts by getting an accurate understanding of what makes your customer base click and how your product can connect with it authentically. Then, determine where its ad will appear and the surrounding context. Finally, test for the right variables and opportunities. Because programmatic creative design allows for a lot of factors, there’s enough flexibility to make sure your ad is on target.

Whether price, convenience, reliability, branding, or something else affects the customer’s decision, marketers can create relevant offers to the right customer at the right time and the right place.

Creativity Through Specificity

Marketing leaders and teams shouldn’t shy away from programmatic creative design, as long as they keep in mind how data and empathy work together in telling the customer story. Here are some strategies that can help with this effort:

  • Pair the tech with relatable storytelling. Massive amounts of data mean little if the end result — the relatable, human story that’s told — gets forgotten.

Programmatic creative allows for testing a variety of messages both rapidly and cost-effectively, but the goal of any creative brainstorm is to deliver a memorable customer experience, not to throw a lot of information out there and hope it sticks. Smart data is smart only when it’s used effectively through messages, images, and calls to action delivered in a structured manner, allowing you to learn and evolve the approach over time.

Trust is an easy word to spell but a tough quality to earn. Customers become your best advocates if they are touched emotionally in some way.

  • Think beyond a single ad campaign. Programmatic creative design that uses empathy along with data allows marketers to test different sides of a customer’s personality to see what hits home. It also requires testing across multiple devices and screens to see how different ad formats perform. It’s almost as if a focus group is created for each display ad, regardless of the channel where the ad appears.

Advertisers can test their messages in real time with programmatic creative design. This enables instant feedback and correction. It reduces time and money because the results can be measured instantly to see what’s working.

  • Focus on the feedback. Results matter, but only if a clear testing strategy exists upfront and the results are analyzed frequently to improve the message. A continuous feedback loop enables the creative process to keep moving forward.

Focus on the quality, not the quantity, of data analyzed. Understand how the data impacts empathy, and team that data with empathy to translate how engaging your customer experience is.

Precision and empathy should be partners in any creative advertising process, especially when programmatic creative enters the picture. Data tells only so much of a story. It’s the customer context, and the use of that data in a way that relates to your audience, that makes it stick.

Yes, automation provides plenty of new tools in the digital marketer’s toolbox, but an authentic, empathetic customer experience will ensure those tools hit the nail on the head.

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By Expert commentator

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Programmatic Advertising

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