Addressing The Consumer-First Disconnect

Illustration and Painting

In this guest post, MediaMath’s Yun Yip (pictured below) explains what is causing the disconnect between marketers wanting to put consumers first and actually following through with it.

Yun Yip

As we race towards the tail end of 2018 (how did that happen?), the phrase ‘consumer first’ is oft-repeated when it comes to media and marketing.

And with good reason.

In our post-digital, 24/7, on-demand culture, the consumer experience is more important than it has ever been. If consumers are not happy, it is incredibly easy for them to move on to another brand, download an ad blocker or subscribe to a premium, ad-free service.

Further, since the implementation of the GDPR and the increasing media scrutiny given to how companies utilise data, consumers are more attuned to privacy issues than ever. Naturally, this has had more immediate impact in the UK, but when combined with the Cambridge Analytica debacle and the widely viewed US Senate hearings, the GDPR has catapulted privacy into the general public’s consciousness.

When we commissioned Econsultancy to conduct a global survey of over 400 marketers earlier this year, we were not in the least bit surprised to discover that a resounding 91 per cent recognise the need to put the consumer first in all their marketing efforts. However, the fact that less than half of our respondents don’t fully do so shows there is still a long way to go for brands.

So, what is causing this disconnect between ‘dream versus reality’, as our report puts it? The survey indicated that it largely boils down to the following:

A lack of integration

The Econsultancy survey revealed that whilst 92 per cent of advertisers agree that integrated technology and data can enable effective advertising, the reality is that only a tiny minority are actually doing this well. Two thirds (63 per cent) of advertisers and an overwhelming 96 per cent of agencies and technology providers believe that advertising and marketing technologies are insufficiently integrated.

Channel confusion

Many marketers are struggling to define what omnichannel means. Sure, there’s a broad understanding that consumers approach a path to purchase differently these days, and that this means careful and sequential communications across multiple channels are necessary. However, the actual understanding around how to determine the right mix of channels to accomplish true omnichannel is often missing. When Econsultancy asked marketers what, in the next five years, would help improve the customer experience in advertising, ‘omnichannel media execution to deliver cohesive messages’ was the second most popular response at 59 per cent (only surpassed by the ability to dynamically segment audiences, which was cited by 67 per cent of recipients).

Seeing double (triple, or quadruple…)

Given that the average Australian home has 13.7 connected devices within its walls, set to more than double by 2021, it is almost impossible to deliver marketing that consumers love if they are treated as 13 different customers. Yet, too many brands still lack a single view of their customer, making them reliant on outdated cookies that lead to misread intent and misfired advertising. When Econsultancy asked survey respondents about the most important benefit of using integrated technology, gaining a single view of the customer was number one (72 per cent).

How we forge a new path forward

Digital marketing has been around for more than 25 years and programmatic for more than a decade, yet many marketers are still clinging to how things used to be done versus what can be done with all the technology at their disposal.

The solution begins with fully integrated technology that enables marketers to activate audiences across all channels, ensures campaigns can be optimised from one place, and powers an audience-first approach that is based on a single identity and doesn’t rely on assumptions. And that is before we even get to the advances AI is bringing when it comes to audience segmentation and personalised offers. For marketers that are struggling with patchwork technology, it’s time to make the business case for change.

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