3automationbThe marketing industry entered an automated world and programmatic marketing will push this trend even further, taking the industry to the next level by layering data and using advanced algorithms to focus on a specific target audience.

According to digital standards, the term ‘programmatic marketing” is not new. In fact, Digiday used it for the first time in 2012 and the concept quickly found followers. Since then it is haunting the net for many good reasons. It combines three trendsetting characteristics that are considered as prestigious:

1. It looks at customers as individuals, not as a mass and not even as a group.
2. It can be automated largely; only when creating and evaluating the campaign a marketer has to intervene.
3. Customers can be directly addressed in a targeted way and there is little to no scattering and loss effect that makes programmatic marketing cost-effective.

If we can learn one thing from the success of Google, Apple or Amazon, it is that business success is derived from the fulfillment of customer needs. To fully understand this is the first hurdle, however it is much more difficult to answer the question of how to serve and satisfy all these needs.

Besides, programmatic marketing does not leave it at that, but aims at the interests of individuals: What you are looking for right now? What do you see? What do you want next? It is interested in recognizing the intention of the user to then display appropriate content that does not necessarily seem to look like advertising – generally in real-time and automatically.

However, the marketer still cannot be fully replaced by a machine, as the success still depends largely on a well-planned campaign. Hence, the evaluation and interpretation of the results for future projects (still) has to be done by humans. Of course, real-time bidding (RTB) plays a role here as well, which can certainly only be taken on by machines. Fact is that programmatic marketing definitely one thing when done right – it is accurate.

With the right approach that gets to the point, advertising can no longer be perceived as intrusive, as the intentions and the interests of the user are already disclosed. The consequence is benefit to the customer which can be content of all kinds, instead of clumsy advertising. For example an offer that precisely meets the customer’s demand or the answer to a question the user had just a second ago. Programmatic advertising wants to do nothing else than serving the individual customer in an ideal way. It treats the customer as an individual, that is addressed specifically in the proper context and that way avoids wastage circulation. However, programmatic marketing is more than just simple re-targeting.

The implementation of programmatic marketing can happen in quite different ways, but needs first a good starting point, which is only given if all relevant data is on hand. It is not without good reason that programmatic marketing gets privacy advocates and cookie opponents to listen attentively.

Nevertheless, programmatic advertising still needs capable marketers who set up and evaluate campaigns. The actual process, however, is automatic. The large amounts of data and the second-by-second bidding process on advertising space makes it inevitable. As said, programmatic marketing software makes buying and negotiating for ad space simpler and more streamlined, but algorithms cannot provide the sophisticated analysis, customized campaigns, or advanced media plans that the brainpower and intellect from a highly trained media team.

It is a paradox that we, as human beings, can only manage this when we join forces with computers. Only that way, the modern marketing players can imitate the successful concepts of the industry giants, revealing the real reason why the effective programmatic marketing is unstoppable: It means to not only see and understand the customers, but to read the customer’s mind.

By Daniela La Marca