What M&E Brands Need to Navigate a Multi-Screen World
“People spend money when and where they feel good.”
This quote from Walt Disney, perhaps one of the greatest marketing and advertising minds of the 20th century, is just as true now in the age of virtual reality, mobile phones/device and laptops as it was in Disney’s world of newspapers, radio, and newsreels.
Consumers can now choose where and how to engage with content and brands. But multiple screens present a clear challenge for advertisers: how do they reach customers and make their message consistent? Technologies like a Data Management Platform (DMP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and cross-device platforms, as well as other marketing automation tools are giving media brands more visibility into their data and allowing them to form more effective audience targeting strategies. But with more than 5,000 marketing technology vendors, it can be difficult for companies to know where to start and how to begin turning their data into actionable results to drive acquisition, engagement, and monetization.
Experts say the best route to formulating a multiscreen analytics and data strategy is a two-step process: First, deploying the right marketing technology stack. Second, developing a clear data strategy to guide more engaging and personalized advertising experiences. The right technology and the right mix of first-, second-, and third-party data will help M&E brands improve audience targeting and convert casual browsers into loyal fans.
Building your technology and data infrastructure.
In today’s fragmented advertising ecosystem, brands can succeed only if they develop a set of cross-channel delivery strategies that provide consumers with consistent, personalized experience across screens and platforms.
But this requires having a 360-degree view of the customer, and unfortunately, the technology that marketers rely on to achieve this view is just as fragmented as the media landscape in which they operate. Most companies use different vendors for different parts of their marketing stack, whether it’s a DMP to ingest customer data from different touchpoints, an identity management platform to identify and segment audiences, or a campaign execution and optimization tool like a Demand Side Platform (DSP).
Often, these technologies aren’t integrated and don’t speak to one another, making it more challenging to effectively apply them throughout the buyer journey. Most brands know they need foundational technology like a DMP for measurement and a DSP for deployment, but it’s everything in between that causes a challenge for brands when it comes to achieving true customer intelligence and data visibility.
Experts say M&E brands need to consider their business goals before they enlist the help of any technology vendor. With walled gardens like Facebook and Google stockpiling massive amounts of customer data, data ownership — and data portability in particular — will be critical for M&E brands as they try to take more control over their customer relationships. First-party data will drive much of this effort, but brands must also rely on interaction and transaction data from a variety of sources.
“To deliver consistent information across channels, we must blend data from all internal, external, social, and third-party data sources. We must bring in all interactions and transactions and uncover customers’ relationships with other people and products to create true 360-degree views,” says Ajay Khanna, vice president of marketing at Reltio, which creates enterprise data-driven applications and data management tools.
“Once this reliable data foundation is ready, it becomes a single source of truth across all channels. And when the customer jumps channels in the middle of their journey, they’ll still get consistent service.”
Using technology to drive personalization.
For M&E brands, consistency also equates to personalization.
M&E brands need the ability to understand their audiences at a very deep behavioral and demographic level so that they effectively put the right advertising in front of them, according to Kevin Lindsay, product marketing head for Adobe Target.
Understanding where the customer is in their journey can help these brands deliver targeted messaging that moves customers further down the funnel. Therefore, it’s critical for brands to align their technology priorities with the buyer journey to achieve personalization, Lindsay says.
“The lifecycle-journey management aspect of the technology stack is also pretty important for this vertical,” he says. “With an understanding of the journey and lifecycle of each customer, brands can figure out what opportunities to monetize.”
An end-to-end suite of marketing software can help brands gain this visibility. The right technology solution should deliver real-time analytics that allow marketers to identify and engage high-value audiences and monetize these segments across desktop, social, mobile, and every other channel or platform. It also should enable marketers to easily manage cross-channel campaigns from one unified platform, and allow them to test what elements of a campaign are most likely to engage and convert consumers and easily make changes to improve campaign performance and personalize their messaging for different audience segments.
Using marketing tools to automate the decision-making process will be key as brands try to track consumers across platforms and understand their preferences. Most M&E brands simultaneously acknowledge that technology is the answer to achieving personalization at scale, but it’s also their main challenge. In one Adobe survey conducted this year, 51 percent of M&E marketing executives said marketing technology was a hurdle to formulating an effective data-driven strategy, and 49 percent of them said they thought their organizations lacked the technology necessary to capitalize on digital opportunities.
As M&E brands make more technology investments, they’ll have to keep close watch on the ROI they’re getting for the money they spend. If a technology leads to more fragmentation, doesn’t offer more visibility into their data or a better understanding of the customer journey, then it will hamstring these companies’ efforts to drive more personalized customer experiences, and ultimately their ability to monetize their audience.