Earlier this year, thousands of people were minding their own business on a London street when it was suddenly illuminated by a 200-metre-high hologram. The hologram itself took the form of The Rolling Stones’ iconic ‘tongue’ logo, and was part of a marketing campaign for the band’s new album, but the most impressive part was that the hologram itself was not projected onto the floor or a wall: it was suspended in mid-air.
The move was a brief glimpse into the future of advertising and marketing campaigns, and the striking visuals meant that it attracted plenty of media attention. It even led the BBC to question whether we could soon see “giant digital ads in our cities, similar to those featured in the seminal 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner”.
In the same month, a digital billboard on the side of a highway in Moscow used artificial intelligence (AI) technology to display targeted advertisements to drivers depending on the kind of vehicle they were driving. According to MIT Technology Review, anyone driving a BMW X5 or a Volvo XC60 would have seen the billboard change from its previous advert to one for a brand new Jaguar SUV. By determining the audiences (or more specifically in this case, vehicle owners) they wanted to target beforehand and serving them with the right message in real time, the marketers involved could benefit from increased engagement and more impressions.
These are just two examples of how effective marketing can be when targeting the right audiences, with the right kind of technologies, in creative ways. In a world where we are over-saturated with marketing communications across a huge variety of different channels, it takes something, bold, personalised and inventive to really stand out.
Of course, not all marketers can afford to put their efforts into orchestrating huge road-side billboard adverts or immersive holograms, but what we can do is focus on delivering inventive, hyper-personalised customer journeys to individuals across the digital and offline channels they engage with the most, whether that includes e-mail, social media platforms or otherwise. Only by doing this can marketers ensure their communications are memorable to customers and ultimately successful in achieving their goals.
Once a creative marketing campaign has been agreed upon, one of the most effective ways of making sure this is delivered with hyper-personalised messaging to the right individuals is through using a data management platform (DMP). These are sophisticated, intelligent and flexible platforms that hold all relevant customer data and can be used to manage targeted campaigns with the utmost effectiveness. There are many DMPs out there, but the most effective ones are agile and easy to implement into existing marketing infrastructures – as well as being responsive and agile to emerging technologies and customer platforms.
Once implemented, the DMP itself can be tweaked in-line with specific business goals, and then used to target any number of pre-determined audience segments, no matter how niche the demographic, with the right messages. To maximise the potential for creativity and inventiveness, any DMP used should be both platform and system agnostic, allowing for ‘plug and play’ capabilities. This allows marketers to move quickly in taking advantage of the latest technologies — such as next-generation holograms and digital billboard advertisements — with minimal operational disruption.
The possibilities that DMPs hold within a marketing environment are essentially infinite, and it is down to the marketers themselves to continue pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. Taking the Moscow digital billboard case a step further; imagine being able to use technology with inbuilt Artificial Intelligence to analyse images of individuals as they walk down a high street and then target them with digital adverts for smartphones depending on the device they’re using. Then, after a predetermined timeframe, that smartphone manufacturer could send the same individual a personalised email with a discount code to maintain engagement, and hopefully convince them to make a purchase.
Delivering a marketing campaign of such complexity and specificity can be equally complex to set-up, but with a DMP everything sits within a centralised platform: the customer data, the marketing communications, the instructions that determine the touch points and channels on which to orchestrate each one-to-one message. To many, when chosen and adopted correctly, this platform can be the antidote to a whole landscape of marketing pain points. In turn, this enables marketers to continue championing inventiveness and innovation as the means to success — something that can only be positive for the industry.