Monday, May 13, 2019

Why brands need to unlock the technology-creative equation | Advertising Age

Today, brands leverage technology to tell stories like never before. The marketers and agencies that are dominating this new digital landscape have stopped thinking about technology as a medium—like mobile and streaming video—and have instead integrated it into their creative process.

This equation of technology plus creative begins with speed. Marketers have to consider how quickly they’re able to bring their creative ideas to life and begin monetizing them as a measure of success. Capturing trends and tapping into cultural moments is one of the chief responsibilities of an agency. But moving fast can be an uphill battle, especially when you’re dealing with custom or proprietary software that requires long approval processes or ongoing assistance and support from a brand’s IT team. 

Open source technologies—which do not require a licensing fee and are freely available to the public—have become an attractive alternative for many agencies precisely because they allow experiences to be built quickly and inexpensively. Open source technologies also integrate well with one another, which gives agencies more agility, lets them seamlessly access their client’s technology stacks, and deliver better than any costly and time-intensive proprietary solution built from multiple vendors.    

Changing the creative process forever

Analytics and intelligence are today’s lifeblood for marketers. Data is crucial for marketers to understand and use to their advantage, not only for measuring the impact of their campaigns but for gathering information that can better inform future efforts. For example, armed with clear data about the performance of even a single piece of content, marketers can make better-informed decisions and personalize on a scale needed to reach today’s younger digital audiences.

Savvy agencies who are courageous now simultaneously test multiple campaign ideas on small segments in a single channel before deciding whether or not to invest more in that idea. Analytics and intelligence platforms, when used effectively, can take much of the uncertainty out of any ad campaign, large or small. Embracing this concept of micro-decisions from testing has changed the creative process forever and the agencies doing it best are building the most impactful digital experiences for their clients.

Leveraging analytics from unique tests and deriving actionable insights can best be accomplished by successfully integrating the different parts of your martech stack. Complete visibility across all aspects of the customer experience and sales funnel enable marketers to make winning decisions and truly link creative to business results.

A need for speed

Finally, performance matters. If you can’t keep your digital experience up and running, then everything else is irrelevant. Slow websites are the number one cause of page abandonment across all audiences, and no matter how beautiful, engaging, or compelling your digital experience is, it’s only as good as its speed and uptime. In fact, we’re nearing a future where performance and the speed of your site are just as important as the creative. This means the agency creative technologist will play an ever-increasing role and is no longer a nice to have but a must for every agency team.

As technology continues to weave its way into the creative process, agencies that succeed will be those that find the right way to turn it to their advantage. The good news is, there are some great examples of those who are already getting it right.

Global advertising agency Havas New York recently won the Ad Age A-List & Creativity Breakthrough Experience Award for its groundbreaking work with TD Ameritrade. Havas created the world’s first ad coded in the blockchain, and successfully drove users back to TD Ameritrade’s own website to continue the conversation—an example of using new, open technology for advertising but never forgetting that performance and integration would be the keys to success. And perhaps most intriguing, the cost of the ad was just $24, further demonstrating that unlocking the equation of technology and creative doesn't have to be a costly solution.

It is these types of campaigns that are ushering in a new era of advertising, and we’re just getting started. The question for now is, who else will lead the way? 


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