The rapid digitization of media and channels has created a growing and constantly fragmenting number of highly dynamic addressable audience platforms at scale, like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. These first- and third-party platforms enable targeted, personalized experiences at an individual level, facilitating the delivery of branded content across devices and throughout the buying cycle. This requires that the traditional separation between right-brain and left-brain thinking around creative vs. performance give way to an integrated, data-driven approach. With that shift in approach, relevant customer experiences can be vertically integrated through every phase of customer interaction. We’ve always believed in this conceptually, but addressability at scale through the platforms is now making it reality.
Traditionally, budgets have been heavily concentrated on the upper and lower parts of the funnel, even for the most sophisticated direct-response marketers. Top-funnel tactics, such as television, print, sponsorships, and guaranteed display build awareness, and bottom-funnel tactics such as branded search, aggregators, ecommerce, and call center drive conversion. It’s the mid-funnel, where consumers actually consider, compare, and decide what products they will buy from which brand, that typically gets the smallest share of the budget. This is not because of a lack of desire to spend more in this area.
Until recently, once broad awareness and share of voice were established, little could be done to engage with individuals as they moved through consideration and into decision. This was due largely to the lack of addressability in the mid-funnel. Direct mail was used to target individuals whom we believed were in-market, but that medium is now in decline. Impersonal email and display were used for retargeting, with diminishing returns. Beyond these tactics, marketers were limited in their ability to stay engaged with consumers through the remainder of the buying process. So they lay in wait, ready to make another spending surge, once the consumer typed the brand name into Google or appeared on the site.
But this has all changed with the emergence of the addressable experience. Today, advertisers can drive more targeted, timely consumer interactions through all the key moments of the cycle. An individual can be engaged with a targeted message in the Facebook newsfeed, receive a personalized offer on the brand’s landing page, get remarketed with a relevant search ad, and receive follow-up via an outbound call – all with a singular brand voice and highly engaging content throughout. This is a game changer.