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Bring creative to the programmatic era

As we move toward an increasingly programmatic world, creative has been, at most, an afterthought. It's important to note, though, that people don't see algorithms; people see ads. Adam Cahill, founder of Anagram, addressed this reality during the Programmatic Bootcamp at the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Austin, Texas.

Currently, advertising is dominated by marketers who blast out the same message to many. But would you do that if you were speaking directly to your consumers? Of course not. Not every message is going to be received the same way, and consumers are complex, with different emotions and needs. According to Cahill, marketers need to acknowledge that fact and understand that creative is more important than media. Here are two ways that you can shift the focus to creative.

Make more stuff

Versioning, or the creation and management of multiple versions of the same product, is essential when it comes to programmatic. We need to make more creative options and ensure that the end results communicate on an individual level with as many consumers as possible. This targeted outreach is the difference between disinterested consumers and those who feel like they're being reached with relevant messaging.

In an example, Cahill said he worked with a branding agency to create 200 discrete creative assets for Optishot Golf Simulators. The extra creative assets only took a couple of hours of extra work, but they gave the brand the ability to reach a wide range of consumers. People will claim that time and production costs are too big of a deterrent to versioning, but the truth is that a little more effort will result in far better outcomes and interactivity with your messaging.

Use data to make ads people want to see

With consumers today being more resistant to unwanted advertising than ever, the approach you're using will make all the difference. Rather than force messages that your consumers have no interest in, try collecting data to find out what they do want to see -- and build your creative and marketing outreach around that.

Furthermore, Cahill stated, the way people make decisions is almost completely driven by emotions. Consumers are motivated largely by things on an unconscious level. Pairing the data you've collected with an understanding of consumer emotion can help you achieve new levels of success.

For many, the same brand or service is appealing in different ways. If you can present an argument that appeals to many world views, you'll have a better response. Real.org has developed 24 categories of "customer character strengths" to help find consumer motivations and triggers. Incorporate that information -- or develop your own system -- and adapt the creative based on these variables.

With the proper tools and system, a creative team can follow a campaign from idea generation to production to making fully formed optimization decisions after analyzing results. Right now, most creatives don't have exposure to analytics, but shifting them into that space will result in better creative and more effective programmatic.

Agata Smieciuszewski is associate editor at iMedia Connection.

Agata is a writer, editor, and social media marketer living in Los Angeles. She's a former Associate Editor at iMedia Connection and Social Media Manager and Editor of MMX at Modern Marketing Summit. Before that, she worked in the healthcare,...

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