Jim Porçarelli, Executive Vice President, Active International
Significant shifts in the media and marketing landscape will dramatically impact companies’ priorities as they determine their marketing and overall business plans this year. Sticking to the status quo will cause many to fall behind. As a result, executives must encourage their marketing teams to forge ahead into what may be uncharted territory. With media and marketing tactics evolving at a rapid pace, marketers will need to make holistic changes to their marketing strategies and begin testing and embracing the new order. Big developments to expect this year are the extensive use of programmatic buying, the market valuation of native advertising, and the surge of new technologies and media outlets.
A New Reality: Programmatic Buying
Programmatic buying will surge in popularity due in large part to metrics and advanced targeting. The automation of digital display advertising provides a platform where ads are bought for whatever price they are worth at the moment, similar to an auction. Marketers will be moving away from buying ads based on ratings and instead shift to an impression-based media perspective. This, coupled with the fact that TV ratings are declining while prices rise, means marketers will need to view their approach as a three-pronged strategy – video, audio and display. By doing so, they will more easily be able to meet expectations of impression guarantees.
Programmatic direct can now provide the premium component to this automation. Many of the initial concerns have been addressed. However, clients and agencies will need to interpret this data into more targeted and strategic tactics.
While this programmatic buying development won’t necessitate significant downsizing in marketing departments, it will cause a shift in the staffing required for traditional media buying. Fewer people will be needed. However, there will be a growing need for people to guide the premium side of the business. Marketers will be called to advance their skills when it comes to fully utilizing the latest technology to their benefit. This year’s marketers will have a more strategic skill set than those of years past.
Reaching a Tipping Point: Native Advertising
The central question for native advertising, the use of “advertorials,” is how far marketers can go before customers reject the blurring between advertising and “objective” content. What’s clear is that the use of native advertising has reached a new level and that it will assert itself as a major player in the contextual advertising landscape. As more marketers pour money into “advertorials,” content developers will expect to see more money coming their way.
Marketers must understand the boundaries of this kind of advertising, however, and overeager marketers may see their efforts backfire if they don’t truly understand and respect their customers’ boundaries. It is a delicate balance to achieve. Thus, many marketers are closely following the progress of this developing form of advertising in order to raise their comfort level with navigating its many variations in ad types and executions.
Now is the Time: Experimenting with the Unknown
As the media and marketing landscape continues to increasingly evolve at faster paces, new technologies and tactics are being brought to the forefront every day. Marketers are in a cyclical game of “do more with less,” and this year it will only intensify. With the constant pressure to differentiate their business and deliver the expected ROI, marketers will increasingly experiment with new approaches and tools. Add the heightened expectations of creativity and personalization from customers, and marketers will now be more motivated than ever to test what strategies and options will most effectively achieve their companies’ goals.
This year, success for marketers will require not only addressing the current trends, but anticipating and actively acting upon developments to come. Understanding and planning for the developments in programmatic buying, the increased adoption of native advertising, and fully exploring new technologies and tools is key to planning a successful year. As more competitors enter the playing field, executives must make sure their marketing departments are ready to face these changes and able to charge ahead.
About the Author
Jim Porçarelli brings 25 years of strategic marketing and advertising experience to Active. He is responsible for leading the company’s global strategic initiatives and chairs the Executive Leadership Team. Prior to joining the company in 2006, he was COO and Chief Client Officer at MediaCom (WPP). Jim won the Cable Advertising Bureau’s Ad Man of the Year for his work with Kraft Foods and was part of the core team that created MediaCom in the US, driving annual billings to $4.5 billion. Before MediaCom, he was Chief Media Officer at DMB&B (now Publicis), where he led a team in the development of global business including Anheuser Busch, Procter and Gamble, and Mars/Masterfoods. Jim also serves on several civic and not-for-profit boards.