There’s the French paradox - how can a nation of red wine lovers maintain healthy tickers?
There’s the paradox of choice - choice is critical to freedom and autonomy; but we are no happier for abundant choice.
Then there’s the paradox of data - marketers know more about their customers than ever before and have an array of sophisticated technologies at their disposal, yet we feel more and more disconnected from them.
It’s this third paradox that is the focus of this year’s ad:tech London theme, re-engaging brands and people.
As individuals, we might be more connected, but modern life is making us lonelier. Experts think it’s an emerging modern health crisis.
Whilst marketing is neither entirely to blame or the miracle fix, the increased disconnection between brands and people is a good metaphor for this modern day ill.
The scale of the issue is demonstrated by a 2015 IBM survey that found 80% of consumers to be of the opinion that the average brand does not understand them.
Personalisation and one-to-one conversations might be the Holy Grail, but few senior marketers think they are doing it well - a survey by Adobe found less than 10% to believe that they are highly effective at it.
Unhappy marketers. Lonely consumers. What do we do about it?
Step in influencers.
L’Oreal has upped its investment in influencers, complementing celebrity tie-ups with its ‘Beauty Squad’ - a team of bloggers charged with cutting through the digital noise to deliver authentic and highly engaging brand experiences.
It’s working - using influencers has been attributed to a swift uplift in sales across different products. Indeed, L’Oreal’s first influencer campaign led its True Match foundation to become the best selling foundation in Britain.
The opportunity to scale influencer marketing makes it really interesting. This is where technology comes in.
One tech company looking to enable brands to do this is Aussie outfit Tribe, who launched in the UK earlier this year. Tribe enable brands to connect with micro-influencers via an online marketplace.
CEO Anthony Svirskis says that micro-influencers have become skilled content creators, carefully crafting their view on their chosen passion, be it fitness, burgers or cage fighting. Technology allows the brand searching for an authentic voice to scale: “Platforms like Tribe now allow marketers to harness the power of 100 micro-influencers for the same energy it previously took to manage a single top-tier influencer.”
Remember when big data was all the rage? Now the mantra seems to be ‘people, not platforms’. People-based marketing tech firm LiveIntent is hoping to capitalise on this shift.
Interestingly, LiveIntent use email data to identify individuals across different devices and power more personalised, contextually relevant campaigns.
“The industry is becoming more people centric; brands must understand where people are in their journeys and be present where their audiences are paying attention, in ways that fit with their intent and their interests,” says Jason Oates, LiveIntent’s Chief Business Officer.
“The industry is becoming more people centric; brands must understand where people are in their journeys"
Jason Oates, Chief Business Officer, LiveIntent
Oates cites the example of a recent campaign with an automotive company who used CRM retargeting to increase the CTR on an acquisition campaign by 350% and reach 38% more customers.
Smart technology and a refined approach may prove that the death of email has been greatly exaggerated.
AI is the emerging opportunity to deliver personalisation at scale. Amid the hype of the major tech players launching their AI offers, the big question is: how can AI deliver real value for people?
OMD’s Retail Revolution study of 15,000 European consumers shows enthusiasm for AI - 65% of respondents were already using or planning to use an AI app or device.
But just like what happened with big data, programmatic and re-targeting, it's very easy for marketers to get carried away and focus on what the technology is capable of doing, rather than how it can deliver experiences people want. The result: we switch off.
“As an industry, we need to turn the bundle of technologies described as AI into services that people can care about,” says Jean-Paul Edwards, OMD EMEA’s Director of Strategy and Product Development.
2017 has been a fascinating year as the industry has attempted to leverage content, data and technology to reconnect with people. I'm looking forward to bringing the community together at ad:tech London to see what's worked, what hasn't and what's on the horizon as technologies like AI become more mainstream.
Perhaps with a little technology, consideration and empathy, better marketing can make modern life just a little bit happier for us:-)
L’Oreal, OMD, TRIBE and LiveIntent are speakers at ad:tech London on 29-30 November at The Old Truman Brewery, London. Click here for more details.