A view from Richard Robinson

The growing disconnect between brands, creative and programmatic

Ad players have a duty to demonstrate the value and power of data to the community, writes Richard Robinson, the managing director, EMEA at Turn....

It should be an unbeatable combination: provide creatives with the data they need, and they’ll come up with mind-blowingly effective ads targeted with pinpoint precision.

Unfortunately for brands, Turn’s "Mind the Gap! 2016 UK Agency Survey Report" released today suggests it’s not that simple.

Minding the gap

Almost nine in ten of the creatives surveyed said data-driven insights could help them create better, more personalised ads, and most said they believe data should drive important decisions about design, location, and timing of placement.

Despite that near unanimity, many face challenges in getting the necessary data, either from media agency partners or from brands.

This gap is particularly prevalent in small agencies, where only 11% of respondents were confident that they fully understood programmatic.

Younger creatives also find themselves behind the curve, with a significant percentage admitting they are unsure if they have even seen the word programmatic in a brief.

As an industry, we can do better. We should raise the bar so everyone involved truly understands the power of data and how best to share it, understand it, and make it work for us.

A change in mindset

Part of the problem is the tendency to put things in silos. A creative might think their job is about spark and inspiration and creating something compelling and emotional. They might understand programmatic as merely an efficient and cost-effective way to buy media and therefore do not see it as their concern. There’s an "us and them" mentality of sorts in that thinking.

Agencies and brands can fall prey to that same mentality; they might feel proprietary about handing over data to any outside organisation – even one working ostensibly towards the same goals.

The keys to improving: education and advocacy

First and foremost, it's incumbent upon ad players like Turn to demonstrate the value and power of data to the community, showing that great creative starts with a kernel of data or data-derived insights.

An auto brand, for example, found that saloon owners used Androids by a ratio of three to one versus iPhone owners. The finding explained why ad messaging about iPhone capability was failing to connect with customers.

To speak more directly to the customer group they were interested in, the creative team altered messaging. Creatives should learn as much as they can about programmatic in order to leverage that knowledge in their storytelling – and tech providers need to be open and willing teachers.

Brands can be major advocates for this type of change. They have a responsibility to work with the partners and say, "I've got this great insight or you've got this great insight on my behalf, so how do we share it across the entire system?"

It’s incumbent on them to take a proactive, structured approach to data-sharing and to emphasize to their media and creative agencies that they expect them to collaborate fully.

Technology isn’t just enabling marketing now; we’ve entered an age in which it’s empowering marketing. Brands aren’t going to get the full benefit of that that unless the creative team on one side and the media planning and execution team on the other has access to the same data and insights.