Op-Ed: The Programmatic Model is a Marketing Tactic that Cannot be Ignored

opinionIn today’s digital ecosystem, the programmatic model is a marketing tactic that cannot be ignored. It has become a keystone of marketers’ digital strategy and therefore it is no surprise that almost half of marketers expect to use programmatic for 60% of their budgets, according to Forbes. Programmatic has aided the growth of multi-channel advertising across mobile devices, social media platforms, and desktop display.

There is no denying that programmatic has opened up exciting new opportunities for marketers to target precisely, spend wisely, and operate more efficiently. But marketers need to make intentional decisions while navigating this new landscape. Successful branding campaigns involve thoughtful and proven strategy. Programmatic media buying is certainly an effective marketing strategy, but marketers can’t expect to just launch a retargeting campaign, build their brand, and call it a day.

Programmatic can help marketers keep their message in front of the right people. Unlike the spray and pray approach of serving ads to anyone, programmatic media buying helps marketers focus exclusively on those for whom the messaging is most relevant.

Programmatic is clearly a powerful addition to any digital marketing strategy. But, as Voltaire, Spiderman, and a host of others have said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

While it’s easy to focus on the instant response and return of a programmatic campaign, it is essential for marketers to remain focused on the overall brand strategy. Programmatic strategies work best when they are integrated into a long-term plan.

Programmatic should not be an individual, independent piece of a brand’s marketing strategy. It allows B2B and B2C companies to hit prospects at all levels of the funnel. Branding campaigns target prospects at the top and retargeting campaigns hit those who are lower in the funnel, closer to becoming customers.

The strategy implementation doesn’t stop once the campaign has launched. Programmatic technologies offer automation tools to assist in reaching pre-determined goals. Automation is a fantastic feature, though marketers should still expect to evaluate continually and optimize their campaigns to maximize performance. Algorithms can only do so much as digital advertising campaigns require human eyes and attention to meet and exceed expectations. Marketers will need to consider channel, audience, creative, price, clicks, conversions, and a host of other metrics to move towards a successful campaign.

In a perfect world, programmatic isn’t simply an add-on to a branding strategy. It’s smart for marketers to make programmatic expertise a part of their toolkit by setting aside resources dedicated to execution and the budget to fund campaigns across various strategies.

“Bottom line, programmatic buying is more efficient, more effective and more transparent than the traditional digital media buying model.” –Bob Arnold, Associate Director, Global Digital Strategy at Kellogg Company.