Programmatic media buying and customer relationship management are mature disciplines. In 2016, we saw these two converge. AT&T, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble each announced plans to merge the data-rich infrastructure of programmatic with the content-rich capabilities of CRM, public relations, advertising, and content marketing. These sophisticated marketers recognize the value of integrating creative in the broadest sense, with the power of big, programmatic data and analytical infrastructure.
In 2017 we will see that go further.
The essential definition of a brand has shifted dramatically since the advent of mobile, social and digital. Today, brands are essentially the outcome of how people experience the complete business of products, services, employees, digital touchpoints, traditional communication, etc. Brands are interfaces between people and businesses and the fastest growing businesses – and the strongest brands – are the ones that are building the most cohesive business systems.
Purpose lives at the core of a cohesive business. It is the brand’s shared narrative. It is a binding agent across functional silos within an organization and the value system that customers chose – or choose not – to share.
The data sets that are now available to marketers are not only large and unstructured, but they are also diverse. Companies are building data-management platforms that house all their transactional, behavioral, and attitudinal data in a single analytical framework. This is the foundation of programmatic. But as we saw in 2016, companies are tapping those data platforms to inform and deliver creative based on rich customers insights across the cumulative customer experience. In this way, brands can allow their purpose – the purest articulation of what they do and why they exist – to become real for customers across the business’ ecosystem.
That’s where things get really exiting. Companies now have a mechanism to not only buy media programmatically, but to literally share their story with anyone, at any time, and in a fully personalized and relevant way. And in a world where customers, particularly millennials, are in constant search for depth and meaning, the capability of programmatic to deliver purpose will be a game changer.
Josh Feldmeth is CEO of North America at Interbrand.