Helping the CMO deliver creative personalisation at scale: A guide

Helping the CMO deliver creative personalisation at scale: A guide
John Mruz is SVP of strategy at Flashtalking.

Data-driven personalisation at scale is not a new concept – it is a fundamental part of programmatic – yet consumers still frequently find themselves bombarded with irrelevant and untargeted ads.

While data-driven thinking is increasingly being applied to the audience and media components of the programmatic equation, it is still in the early stages on the creative side. In fact, a recent study reveals a massive 97% of programmatic campaigns lack a targeted creative for each audience segment.  In addition to using data to identify the best placement and user, CMOs must look beyond the medium and consider the message itself. Even where an ad reaches the right consumer via the right channel, it won’t be effective if the creative isn’t relevant and engaging for that individual.

The adoption of data-driven personalisation is accelerating across all major verticals. Despite the presence of a critical mass of early adopters, the majority of advertisers are still in the ‘crawl’ and ‘walk’ stages.  The key learning so far is that data-driven personalisation is not a technology problem; there are more technical capabilities available today than an organisation can use. Rather, data-driven personalisation is about developing a new ‘organisational muscle’, incorporating new collaboration models, processes, tools, and skillsets.  

Building this data-driven personalisation capability will take time, in the same way that it took years for marketers to learn programmatic media buying. Marketers can accelerate their learning curve by selecting the right partner – one who augments its technology with the leadership and expertise that marketers can leverage to deliver results.  

So what should CMOs look for in a strategic partner?

Vertical expertise

Each vertical market has unique customer experience journeys and paths to purchase.  Furthermore, eCommerce and travel see a significant portion of their conversions occur online, whereas these typically occur offline for CPG and wireless telecoms. This makes it harder to optimise performance, but strategic partners understand these differences and can provide playbooks of proven use cases and methodologies to deliver results within specific verticals.

Training and education

Every technology vendor offers platform training on how to use the technology to support the workflow. The goal of this training is to certify a team of ‘power users’ who can implement any campaign. A strategic partner, on the other hand, will invest the time and resources to help clients build the required organisational know-how beyond the platform: the basics of data-driven personalisation, the process for developing and executing data-driven personalisation campaigns, and creative best practices.

Processes and methodologies

Historically, creative teams led all marketing initiatives while media supported. Programmatic thrust the media team into the leadership role. Data-driven personalisation requires the pendulum to swing back to the middle, with creative and media teams serving as equal collaborators.  This represents a major paradigm shift for most advertisers in that it requires the creative team to be engaged from the start, rather than simply taking direction from the media team based on their needs. A strategic partner can work with CMOs to help build the new creative processes, tools and methodologies that will form the foundation of data-driven programmes in a number of ways:

Strategic support

Ultimately, the only way to build a new organisational competency is to actually execute the process yourself.  As with any new skill, the first time can be a bumpy experience. A true strategic partner will guide you through the process of developing a data-driven personalisation strategy and planning the campaign. Along the way, the partner should show marketers how to use the new tools and methodologies while, in the process, establishing effective collaboration across the media, creative and the advertiser teams. For large global organisations, this process will likely need to be repeated across regional brand teams in North America, Europe and APAC, so finding a partner who can develop and manage a phased global roll-out plan is essential.

Knowledge sharing

Large sophisticated marketers often have multiple marketing teams spread across the globe operating in an autonomous, or semi-autonomous, mode.  As these teams implement data-driven personalisation campaigns, it is important that key learnings and best practices are shared across the organisation. A strategic partner should provide the CMO with options to share sample creatives, decisioning logic, and results across the global organisation, either through the advertiser’s intranet or through a secure knowledge-sharing network provided by the partner. In this way, ideas can be shared quickly, resulting in more relevant and engaging interactions with customers across the brand.

Collaboration with tech partners is vital as CMOs enter a new era of data-driven personalisation. However, CMOs must recognise that data-driven personalisation is not just a technology challenge. It is about building an entirely new organisational capability – and this takes time. But by partnering with technology companies that augment their core technology offering with the expertise, leadership and strategic support, CMOs can accelerate their adoption of data-driven personalisation and greatly enhance their likelihood of success.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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