Convincing the Board: How to Sell Data Driven Marketing

For Programmatic Data Driven Marketing to be fully impactful, it should always be considered as part of a company’s long term strategy, and as such, should always be discussed at the highest level of an organization. However, this isn’t always the case, and often boardrooms will remain in the dark about the benefits of Programmatic. 
 
In this blog post, we’ll talk through five key points to drive home to your senior team regarding the benefits of Programmatic Media Buying.
 
To prepare, let’s first cover two key reasons programmatic marketing often is executed on or discussed in more short term fashion. Then, after exploring the source of these potentially risky temptations, I’ll continue with five key ways to prepare and pitch the more long-term approach you’ll need.  
 
Reason1:  The turnover of staff in marketing departments is becoming increasingly high:
 
My dad was a director of the same company for almost 40 years, something that would be unheard of today. According to Forbes, the average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years. In my time working in corporate sales I have seen a relatively high turnover of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), particularly the ones working in Digital. There are usually persuasive incentives for CMOs to move from one company to the other, and employees across marketing teams also move fairly frequently across roles and companies, from managing ad word campaigns one minute to global accounts the next.

In today’s fluctuating job market, marketing teams may be less incentivized to implement a long term programmatic strategy as they simply won’t be around to see the outcomes, or walk the project to fruition.
 
Reason 2: The prioritization of short term campaign metrics:
 
I worked for an eight-year period as marketing director for a fast growing digital company. Millions of dollars were spent on targets such as (CTA, CPA, Lead, Registration, Visit, etc.) While these targets are vital for improving the effectiveness of campaigns, not enough focus was given to using the data for broader business objectives such as brand awareness, customer profiling and product marketing.
 
We know that campaign performance is important, but we also now know how over the long run programmatic media buying - married with data management - has the ability to transform how a business understand its customers and its own offering.
 
The Times they are a Changing
 
Companies are currently waking up to the long term benefits of programmatic media. Last year, companies such as Netflix, Telefónica, Unilever, P&G, Kelloggs, Deutsche Telecom, and Melia made headlines when they decided to proactively take control of their media buying and data.
 
These companies have begun to realize and act upon the important data around consumer behavior available through programmatic buying. In addition to this, with programmatic extending its arms into the ‘old’ media of Radio, DOOH, TV and Print, companies will be able to build a much more holistic picture of their customers’ behaviors.
 
In 2017, we need to see more CMOs pitching programmatic in the board room with long term goals in mind. Remember the quote from the dance instructor in Fame?   
 
“Fame costs, and right here is where you start paying. In Sweat.”.  
 
Well that’s the type of messaging CMO’s need to deploy. A variation of that quote could be:
 
“Success in Advertising in the new era of Digital Disruption is hard, and this is when you need to pay for it to survive, investing with a long term vision & execution plan around programmatic media and audience data management”
 
The Boardroom Checklist
 
So without further ado, here are the five key points you need to bring with you to the boardroom when convincing your senior team.
 
1)   Convince your board that what you bring to the table aligns with business goals 

Focus on the cost saving potential of Programmatic. This could mean cost efficiency through automation or minimal wastage through accurate targeting. Highlight the pain point of money being spent on displaying adverts to irrelevant and disinterested consumers. Remind your company of your CRM, email databases, or site analytics data, and how it can be put to real use.
 
2)   Remove Ad Tech phobia among the board with comprehensive knowledge
 
Do a deep scan of the Ad & Mar Technology environment and construct intelligent RFPs. It may even be worth bringing in some independent consultants who truly know the industry.
 
Or you can try to become an expert yourself in the relative unexplored world of programmatic media trading by seeking to understand how data is gathered, stored and most important how it is implemented.
 
Remember to address potential safety concerns around Ad Tech providers. Examine how the providers have made safe structures that avoid data leakage or the loss of important data points. Make sure that the providers really are up to date on laws & correct practices around data protection and privacy.
 
3)   Convince the board that the implementation of programmatic will be a smooth process
 
Companies are not rookies in digital and there are many individuals that have worked with ad words, email marketing, affiliation strategies, display & video promotions etc. It is important to talk about how you can harness existing skills resources to work on programmatic and how to get staff up to speed.
 
What expertise does the company need from the outside to bring into the organization? Should they bring DSP traders in-house or should they outsource through agencies? Should they have experts in-house in running the data management platform? These are all questions that should have clear answers in the boardroom pitch.
 
4)   Convince the members of the board of the danger of not taking programmatic seriously.
 
Provide examples on how competitors get stronger with a more efficient way of managing media and a greater understanding of their customers. Understand how companies such as Google and Facebook are giving organizations a competitive edge through providing nourishing data. The internet is awash with case studies and business cases that prove how programmatic has enhanced companies from all sectors.
 
 As well as nourishing competitors, big data is enabling Google and Facebook to become the competitors themselves. Recent studies have shown that 1 in 3 banking and insurance customers would consider switching their accounts to Google, Amazon, or Facebook if either of them began offering financial services.
 
5)   Most important, convince the members of the board that this project is key but is not a quick win .
 
Make sure that they give you the right amount of resources and patience to construct things in an intelligent manner. To set up a RFP and get things organized will take a year. After that there is a year for hiring, analyzing, testing, integrating and slowly optimizing the machinery. From then on it’s about adaptation and building a well oiled machine that combines as many elements from the digital ecosystem as possible. Also don’t forget, programmatic has no end date because it will always require you to stay abreast of the latest innovation.
 
Now the rest is up to you! Don’t let uncertainty keep you from making essential decisions. Get out of your comfort zone, start to ask questions and build up quiver full of persuasive arguments in order to deliver the perfect speech to board and become a true digital marketing star with sustainable long term endurance!

 

 

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