3 emerging opportunities in personalized ads arming brands today

Is Brand Personalization the New Frontier of Advertising Effectiveness?

If there was any defining trend in the marketing, advertising and media industry over the past decade, it would be the move away from mass delivery of messages to mass groups of audiences.


It isn’t even a debate anymore that the impact of moving from 4 main television channels per household to thousands (including hundreds of millions of websites and dozens of tablet and smartphone options) means the industry needs to rethink how we target, measure and engage with consumers.  


We at delvv.io notice that audiences are spoiled for media choice and are thus being served up ads from all corners of different devices from marketers trying to figure out the best delivery mechanism for their message.


In fact, we encourage this exploration: It’s time to be as innovative as your audience to grab their attention by re-thinking the types of ads being produced. One suggestion that we’ll digest and discuss in this article is our belief that brands (and their creative agencies) should be working towards more relevant ‘personalized’ ads that incorporate better storytelling techniques, machine-learning and cognitive intelligence.


Wow... That’s a lot of buzz words!


In simple terms: we think there needs to be a concerted effort to:


1) Better relate, even empathize, with consumers through new data sources.

2) Structure marketing teams to be more investigative and agile so that they can be better prepared to make use of new communication channels, ad formats and data sources

3) Learn how to use more relatable communication formats that feel more like storytelling and less like someone shouting about your product


Agencies need to break free from their traditional creative processes to respond to the new consumer and media realities. After all, if you’re not scared now about the changing pace of our industry, wait until you meet your new audience, generation Z.



1.Getting to {better} know your consumer

Media planning used to be easy. We realize this. Gone are the golden days when the traditional model of one-size-fits all, ads mass communicated across all platforms using the basic metrics of sex, age, and location.


Viewership metrics of yesteryear are about as relevant as old demographic metrics. Sophisticated marketers and their agencies no longer obsess over income brackets and GRPs, but psychographics and engagement ratios.


There are thousands of new market research and ad-tech vendors every year with compelling ways of understanding consumers through new prisms of identity. There are thousands of new media-tech and measurement systems that are changing the definition of a “view” and tying new metrics to in-store sales increases.


As Louis Columbus emphatically said in “Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing & Advertising 2016”


“Real-time marketing techniques, personalization, the use of contextual clues, and the rapid convergence of marketing technology (Martech) and advertising technology (Adtech) are four key forces driving the future…”

We have reached a stage where it no longer means anything to just have all the raw data you’ve collected in the past. Marketers of the future are using real-time and even predictive data sets to set their campaigns on a more effective path.


No longer is it an accurate prediction to say;


“Well, in the past my consumer used to watch this tv show and cared about this type of messaging”.

It simply won’t give you any real insight into the current customer’s journey along with their preferences, and habits.


For you power users of data, one new trend that exists in new data today is in the ability to turn big data into language patterns that aim to mirror the human brain and understand emotional intelligence.


What will become more evident however...is how cognitive shines the light on dark data.


MOs should realize that narrowing the gap between creative and data is becoming much more of a reality, using data collected from ‘machine-learning’, biometric systems or computer intelligence systems. It needs to be given greater attention into how it can be incorporated in the overall marketing structure and current consumer insight research processes.


Talking on the state of ad industry; Bob Liodice President/CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) said:  "Client-side executives, in particular, should redouble their efforts. "It's simple: Marketers own the brands; they have the financial resources that fuel the industry; they command the marketing decision-making process,"


Case study: IBM’s Watson

Watch how the marketers from Dollar Bank, Bank of Montreal, and ING deliver relevant experiences to their customers at the right time as they were trained on the analytics to better understand and engage the data for widespread competence in understanding consumers behaviour towards conversions.


2. Structuring Marketing Teams to be More Dynamic


We’ve just discussed how real-time data, artificial intelligence and new psychographic data providers should be changing your company. If you’re like 90% of the industry, you might be rolling your eyes or shaking your fist at us because you simply don’t have the resources to run your existing department plus all these new disciplines.


Fair enough. But what can you be doing to start the process to make way for these inevitable changes? Have you appointed someone to lead the charge or at least map out a 3-year roadmap to adopting this type of thinking?


We do realize that marketers face many challenges within organizations when planning towards this type of departmental growth (just see our mission statement). Testing new models, requesting more experimental budgets, spending more time with legal departments to review vendor privacy policies means you are opening up yourself to risk in front of company stakeholders that don’t believe a shift away from traditional brand management is necessary.


However, there are a few ways of easing into it, that shouldn’t cause too much debate.


The first is simply turning on the fire hoses of data. The number one rule of real-time data is that it is hard to predict when you’ll actually need it or be able to take action on it. However, turning the hose on means you at least stand a chance to make sense (and possibly even use) of it when the need arises.



The next step is to bring on one or two people with the sole mandate to look at process improvement, new data sources, and put together a 2-3 year map for how the department can transition into a more digital oriented, data savvy team.


The third is to foster a culture that brings in innovative startups to learn about their methodologies, products and promises of the future. These founder (including ours...just a mention) obsess over market dynamics, changing landscapes and ways of solving problems.


There is no harm in exposing your internal stakeholders to these new ways of thinking, if not simply the culture of innovation surrounding these young companies.


And if you’re still asking why? Well it's because currently; "Every Company Is In The Process Of Dying"  


3) Learning the Art of Marketing One-to-One


During any period of major transition of advertising spend and media consumption by consumers, thousands of startups around the world start their innovation cycles and attempt to come up with the new platform or ad format of the future.


As video consumption moved online from TV over 100 Online Video Platforms (OVPs) popped up to handle the bandwidth loading, ad serving, and monetization schemes.


What we are seeing now is ad-tech in hyper-drive to invest the ad format that cuts through all the ad-blockers, inspires authentic engagement with consumers, and is still measurable, repeatable and scalable.


Call it the bumpy drive towards 1-to-1  marketing.


In fact, Brendan Witcher, analyst with Forrester Research said:  “Most companies mistakenly believe they are delivering personalization.” “Most consumers, however, feel the opposite way.” He highlights how 40% of consumers feel the different promotions they receive are a waste of their time.

Though, to be fair, there are a few brands however that are doing one-to-one well like Starbucks; They’re able to provide recommendations and suggestions based on a customer's tastes and interests.


The Guardian has a “toggle”  feature which allows you to filter out news you are not interested in and only provide you with more relevant content.


But, within this great mix of new personal ads and user engagement, brands have to be careful not cross the line with consumers that might start thinking how; personalized ads are creepy.


As Tim Clark simply put it: Don’t creep on your customers: Personalization done right.


Nobody wants to be that obsessive guy from next door that has mapped out the girl next door’s interests and behavioral patterns by following her around everywhere without her ever knowing...

Case Study Tri-Honda -One campaign that was successful was TriHonda’s 1-1 video marketing that managed to see 29% more sales and $7.83 in return for every $1 spent:

1263630_1480344844honda results.PNG

Click below and check out Honda’s one-to-one in action:-

Segway - How a team learned a New Format of brand communication


The emergence of digital has resulted in new growth segments and along with it titles such as; Digital marketing specialist has become a more formalised profession.


Yet, some companies are still struggling with what growth actually means to them, what these teams would be doing, who would be on that team or what skillsets are required for example.


Companies that have long ingrained cultures aren’t adopting new formats as quickly enough to remain ahead of the game...




The element of storytelling within more personal advertising arms brands with more of a relatability factor for their audience. An article written by Scott Donaton dubbed: Why brands need to skip ads and start telling stories  emphasized how “...data-informed brand storytelling can break through the interruptive ad model blockade”

Case study: Recently Douwe Bergsma of Georgia-Pacific took his whole marketing team back to training school on how to tell better brand stories that are more reflective of their audience.


He explains in this short video the impact of storytelling:

So, these are 3 categories of better preparing your team and brand for the consumer of now and the consumer of the future.


And the main points being:


1) Turn on the data, and start thinking about your consumer as more than an income bracket.


2) Push your teams to adapt to a digital first world, which is full of data and opportunities to try out new techniques.


3) Adopt (or at least experiment) with new forms of brand communication that feel more like storytelling and less like an annoying banner ad trying to get in your way.


What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.


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