Data, content, intent: The harmony, melody and rhythm of marketing

By Dax Hamman, CPO, Rubicon Project

Marketing is like music. It’s designed to inspire a reaction, and that reaction helps to form an emotional connection with people. When ads do this, it can have a remarkable impact. In order to accomplish this connection, marketers need to be delivering the right message at the right time. People make music playlists so that they can quickly access content that puts them in the desired emotional state. You don’t want to listen to your “Relaxing Bonfire” songs when you’re at the gym. The same approach needs to be taken in marketing by creating a “marketer’s playlist.”

A marketer’s playlist consists of data, customer intent and content. Like a playlist of easy-listening tunes for your Sunday morning drive, the data, customer intent and content all must coalesce so that the ad delivered to a customer will inspire them.

Let’s talk about data
Let’s say, for example, that a brand wants to drive conversions around winter boots. The first song on the marketer’s playlist should be data. Data that tells you what kinds of websites the customer usually visits. Are they part of the 70% of customers that leave video ads after 10 seconds? How do they spend the 21 minutes that the average adult spends on Facebook? The brand must make sure that it doesn’t send them ads for boots when they’re browsing sites that have nothing to do with clothing or the outdoors. They also need to make note of relevant sites where it would make sense to see ads for winter gear. Like the first song on a musical playlist, gathering data is an important first step to creating an emotional hook with customers.

The programmatic marketing playlist:

Intentional healing
Once a brand has gathered that data, it can move on to the next song: intent. This is determined by looking at the data in context. Does the customers usually engage with ads on certain websites? Are they on a mobile device or a desktop? Do they usually skip pre-roll video ads? This additional insight gives the data more power by helping to establish what would be the most effective way of reaching a given customer, especially since 61% say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content. If a customer is on a mobile device, chances are that they are in a more passive “browsing mode” and therefore will be less likely to actively purchase the brand’s boots. But they would be more receptive towards a brand message. Also, 56% of mobile browsers are more likely to respond to ads that feature their locale. Everyone listens to the first song in a playlist, but the ability to catch and hold a customer’s attention is the crucial value that the subsequent songs have on the audience.

Content drives the message home
At this point, you can move into your playlist’s epic finale: the content. While every piece of the marketing puzzle is important, the content is the face of all your efforts. It is the only part of a brand’s effort that the customer sees and engages with, so the message that it conveys has to match up with the context of the customer’s current experience. If a brand has made note that its targeted customer enjoys browsing on mobile and prefers Instagram, perhaps a sponsored Instagram post featuring a rugged outdoors person wearing winter boots would be very likely to connect on an emotional level with the customer. It doesn’t force a buy button down their throat, its format isn’t intrusive and the picture itself is stylish and trendy.

Building the right playlist for your marketing campaign requires planning, but it will help ensure that you are getting the right message to the right person at the right time, fostering a sense of brand trust and inspiring customer loyalty.

Find your copy of the latest Programmatic Mind on programmatic newsstands.

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