​Four ways you can future-proof your digital marketing mix

CEO and co-founder of programmatic company Rocket Fuel speaks to CMO about how to stay ahead of the digital race

The proliferation of technology, data and social media has created an increasingly complex environment for marketers to optimise brand awareness at every customer touch point.

According to CEO and co-founder of programmatic vendor, Rocket Fuel, George John, there are steps CMOs can take to ensure their brand strategy does not fall behind the growing competition.

Rocket Fuel is a fast-growing global programmatic media company offering a platform based on artificial intelligence technology. Before founding Rocket Fuel in 2008, John started his career at NASA and had already gained a reputation as a world authority on advertising technology, building high-tech systems to optimise marketing at Yahoo!, Salesforce, Epiphany, and IBM, in roles spanning engineering, marketing, sales and executive management.

Here, he offers four key pieces of advice for marketers to take on board in order to provide a more relevant, accurate and targeted customer experience moving forward.

Let the robots do it

One of the most powerful ways to future-proof your marketing strategy is to integrate AI-based platforms within your marketing strategy, John said.

“Don’t just sit there and comb through websites to understand how to target your next campaign, just let the robots do that,” he explained. “You want to minimise the human intervention required to run a campaign. It’s very powerful, and you can deliver results that are many times more effective than traditional brand methodologies.”

At Rocket Fuel, John said the focus is on running campaigns in a very data-driven, scientific way, using AI and machine learning to bring as much knowledge as possible about customers’ behaviour at any given time, on any given device.

“So the nature of the business right now is trying to deliver to marketers who have very serious objectives and require a measure of brand awareness or other key metrics,” he said. “It’s about trying to work with those brands and leverage technology to tailor their campaigns over time.”

Embrace programmatic

Programmatic online ad buying is part of the broader world of programmatic marketing and has been a hot topic of debate for some time now, as marketers try to grapple with keeping their digital strategies timely, relevant and competitive. The key to future-proofing your programmatic strategy, John revealed, is to keep it specific, accurate and detailed.

“The term ‘programmatic’ is a very broad label right now,” he said. “For instance, you could be programmatic yet all the tool is doing is executing a fairly simple algorithm to say, identify where you should be spending your marketing budget.

“But for us, we feel there is so much power available in scrutinising every single impression. So my advice would be use the medium to its fullest. The power comes from running a system that analyses everything accurately for you.”

Don’t ignore augmented reality

John agreed more brands than ever before will be looking at augmented reality to re-shape their marketing strategies and leverage greater customer engagement in the face of mobile technology and wearables domination.

Cadbury, Heinz, Nike, Xbox, Coca-Cola and Pepsi and L’Oréal are just a few brands already making significant inroads offering technology that lets users point their smartphones or tablets at objects, then watch as the screen unveils a 3D animation, game or graphic, bringing the object to life.

“In the future, there will be augmented reality, but I also believe there will be paid augmentation, so for instance you could even shop or buy via your augmented reality experience,” John added.

Adapt and innovate

When it comes to maintaining a solid future-proofed digital marketing strategy, John stressed brands need to leverage technology platforms in a rational way, where they can be adapted to very quickly.

“For CMOs, it’s about looking at the whole customer digital experience and engagement with their brand – on their website, in their mobile app, or even on their Apple Watch app,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of companies growing up in little silos, and every touch point has its own systems. But moving forward, it’s all about having intelligent conversations in an ever-evolving, innovative fashion, in order to optimise the customer experience at all the various touchpoints.”

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Read more: Training up the industry’s future CMOs


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