Let fragmentation work for you

Let fragmentation work for you

03 Apr 2018

Having the right technology that connects with a highly fragmented landscape can work to a marketer’s advantage, allowing them to more precisely engage with customers and prospects writes Dominic Powers.

Having the right technology that connects with a highly fragmented landscape can work to a marketer’s advantage, allowing them to more precisely engage with customers and prospects. When marketers have multiple providers competing for their media spend, they can realize the best possible consumer interaction outcome – not just the lowest media price. Add optimal media and creative executions into the mix, and marketers stand to gain the target audiences and consumers at scale.

Furthermore, the ability to select, manage and learn from media executions across a mind-boggling array of publishers, platforms, geographies and audiences provides clarity about strategic choices, as well as input for ongoing optimization against brand objectives.

Take back control of your marketing spend

Many marketers today employ one or more agencies to implement their media buying strategies, handle testing strategies and advertising optimization. Brands can gain convenience by using agencies to track their programmatic media buys, social media and content marketing initiatives. They lose, however, first-hand access to their data and also add a layer of expense to their marketing operations.

One way to regain control is to reduce your agency roster. You can buy your media from demand-side platforms (DSPs) or direct from the “80 for 20” publishers that deliver the majority of your results and bring key functions in-house.

However, this approach has its downsides. Cutting back in such draconian ways results in the restriction of options and alternatives and removes the valuable outside counsel that third parties such as agencies and consultants can deliver.

Another way is to appoint a single master agency and delegate all responsibility to them. This streamlined approach adds an additional layer of cost and puts a significant strategic function in the hands of an outsourced partner. There is also the risk that your vendor may not be able to keep up with trends and best practices.

Get a single view of present and past campaign performance

There is a third approach that marketers can adopt to embrace fragmentation, while also unifying data and strategy. The key to this hybrid method is to host and own all your media and engagement data and insights yourself. Work with best-of-breed platforms and publishers and agencies that bring much-needed perspective and sector knowledge. You’ll also access fresh sources of data that become even more valuable when consolidated on one platform, such as CtrlShift’s ‘The Hub’.

The Hub helps marketers bring data closer to their business and automates media buying. Marketers can plan, execute and review campaign buys on a single platform with reporting in real-time, letting fragmentation work for them.

Brands can also take back control through programmatic. Chris Childs, MD of mobile programmatic technology firm TabMo UK, has said the use of programmatic media buying has moved away from being about price to be more focused on its targeting capabilities and the ability to buy across multiple placements via one platform. Sprint, (the U.S. headquartered communications services company), went even further by eliminating the media agencies to have full insight into every dollar they spend.

Even if you change agencies or DSPs, historical campaign performance data is stored on The Hub to help you improve your future strategies by identifying and assessing the most effective combinations of audiences, channels, and creative executions. The Hub, along with our traders, data scientists and technology experts, enable marketers to access multiple vendors to achieve the best possible outcome and let them compete for your marketing spend.

Real-time data-driven media buying yields better use of marketing spend and campaign funding across different buying platforms. Accessing analytics and insights from multiple sources at scale can optimize future campaigns, be it platforms, direct exchanges, campaigns, ad servers, social media and publishers. 

Let the proliferation of stakeholders compete for your marketing dollar

According to a World Federation of Advertisers survey, marketers have been increasingly making changes to their digital media practices. One-third of marketers polled said they had added clauses into their agency contracts to stipulate how much ownership they have over their data. They also intend to gain more control over the technologies used on their behalf. Forty-one percent of marketers also said they plan to take greater control of their programmatic advertising spend, with one-fifth saying they had started doing so over the past year.

Facebook and Google now control nearly half of all global digital ad spend. Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed, has openly demanded more transparency, describing the digital media supply chain as “still very murky”. In his words, “we’ve got to be able to see over the walled gardens of the Googles and the Facebooks and the Twitters and the Snapchats and be able to actually measure across the whole market.”

He sees this as vital for facilitating the growth of the digital marketing world, and better understanding the dynamics between media consumption and spend on one media channel.

Embracing imperfection

Today, few - or perhaps no - marketers can honestly say they have all the right strategies and tools in place to manage in this rapidly changing landscape. However, every marketer needs to keep moving forward on the journey to embrace fragmentation. Although the alternative may seem simpler in the short term, it leaves tremendous amounts of value behind over the longer term.

As the late Stephen Hawking once said, “One of the basic rules of the Universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…”

Brands and agencies alike should embrace the imperfection of a fragmented programmatic ecosystem, and make it work for them, not against them. They must stop trying to find the perfect solution in a single programmatic partner or buying ecosystem because it simply does not exist.

Smart brands and agencies understand this and are now ensuring that the fragmentation is working for them, and not against them. Are you?

Dominic Powers is the Chief Executive Officer of CtrlShift.