Programmatic marketing is the process of consolidating relevant data on your prospect and client base, and combining that with industry and habitual data to create, what is the next evolutionary step in defining a buyer persona; knowing what your prospect does online, and presenting them with the ideal offering at the most opportune time.

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We have all experienced remarketing; visiting a website which offers a particular product, and over the next few days and weeks being followed around by the same product, presented through ads on the sidebar of news sites, social media platforms and banners at the bottom of YouTube videos. This is relatively basic technology, called a tracking pixel which, at a dramatically oversimplified level, follows you around the Internet, presenting the predefined offer in available advertising slots. It’s clever, and a great way to fill an obvious gap – re-engaging prospects who haven’t entered your email address, or who failed to complete a purchase. No data is required other than that the prospect visited your website.
Programmatic takes this concept and extrapolates it into viable and usable data. Through deep analytics such as a prospect’s browser habits – understanding where they get their news, what social media platforms they use, what they like to buy et cetera, combined with traditional, albeit expanded demographic information – name, age, marital status, et cetera, a marketer can create a clear picture of who they are targeting. When this information is benchmarked against existing website analytics, and competitor browsing patterns, a strategic plan emerges and tactics can be defined, and the brief to creative teams can be crystal-clear, predicated on data and real people, not generalisations.
This is a reversal of the traditional advertising production journey, which is often based on a predesigned and assumptive buyer persona (our target is probably…), then targeted by a strategy based on available resources, and then passed off to creative to do something, “clever.” The job of the advertising creative now is to adhere to the data and create something that is specific and emotionally appealing to an actual person, not an imaginary persona.
The strategy involves multiple advertising routes, often for men, women, couples, or whatever diverse groups of buyers the analytics predicate. Generalised advertising is not part of the programmatic marketing methodology, and it’s only through proof and data that a target is defined, and specific tactics created and tested.
So why isn’t everyone using this far superior, scientific process to increase the chances of marketing success? Because it’s hard. The level of data and analytical resource required usually means a complete overhaul of existing strategy and rethinking what skill-sets are required in the marketing team. However, the results speak for themselves, and the types of organisations who are backing programmatic marketing as being the future of customer engagement, including Google itself, will mean the future of business is the perfect melding of analytical and creative minds to offer value, even before a customer starts working with a business.
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