Seven Sins of Programmatic Advertising

7 sinsHaving a single view of your customer is not adequate in the programmatic age – Data that is collected from multiple touch points – desktop, mobile, etc. – have to be unified in order to follow a customer’s journey through the buying process.  Having data points in silos increases the chance of losing the purchase.

Using low-quality data without testing will reduce yield – weak data requires small scale testing before going full-bore into a campaign.

Applying a non-strategic view of programmatic inventory – quality above quantity is the right way to approach the audience.  Fewer well placed ads are more effective than a mass of poorly targeted ads.

Acting for the short-term is a mistake – when adding a new technology it is best to have a long term plan – looking out several years.  That way new technology can be viewed with a eye toward future growth.

Not having upper-management and company-wide buy-in for adding new technology or trying experimental approaches sets one up for second guessing. The culture has to change with the technology.

Failing to use the same lingo.  Don’t assume that everyone understands what is meant by terms like “programmatic” – online media context may be different than in offline.  Trouble will follow if you are not speaking from the same dictionary.

Doing nothing – technology trends like programmatic are not going away.  They will steamroll you (to use an old phrase) if you don’t include them in your scheme.

Source: DMN

China’s Five Consumer Segments

5 segmentsOur never-ending quest to understand the Chinese consumer leads us to an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group.  They breakdown Chinese consumers into five, purchasing-pattern categories

The Savvy Shopper – The rise of technology, particularly the internet and mobile, has opened a world of products to Chinese consumers they could not have imaged 10 years ago.  With experience they have become more sophisticated.  While they are still driven by an underlying pent-up demand, they are no longer willing to buy just any status-enhancing, big name brand.

The Single Person – Demographic distributions are changing rapidly in China as more people leave rural areas to make their way in cities. Two numbers tell that story.  The first is that sixteen percent of city-dwellers live alone today as compared to only 5% a decade ago.  And second, 21% of those over 35 remain unwed compared to only 4% a decade ago.  The shift from rural to urban and from married to unmarried changes buying patterns dramatically.

The Ecoconscious Consumer – If you have ever seen pictures of Beijing’s coal-polluted sky and heard reports about food safety, you know why Chinese folks have become environmentally conscious.  It’s personal.  And it affects what they buy.  “These consumers want healthy and organic food, apparel made from natural products (such as cotton and linen), energy-saving electronics, and natural skin care products.”

The Passionate Trend Seeker – The rise of the Chinese middle-class has generated a broad interest in the outside world, which has led to significant growth in the travel business. Chinese tourists are affecting everything from Harrods in London to real estate in New York. “Extreme sports such as rock climbing, car racing, and surfing are all projected to grow rapidly in the next several years.”  All of this behavior is the long tail of pent-up demand.

The Connected Consumer – this blog has documented the growth of mobile subscriptions on a monthly basis for several years.  It now sits at about one billion subscribers.  The Chinese spend much of their time on the internet and have become quite comfortable with e-commerce, e-payment and e-everything.  Particularly in lower tier cities where there are fewer bricks & mortar locations and a narrower assortment of goods, the internet serves an important purpose.

Source: Boston Consulting Group

An Idea: New, yet Obvious

Adobe Experience Forum

At the Adobe Experience Forum Singapore a couple weeks ago, Sanchit Sanga, chief digital officer at Mindshare APAC & MENA, expressed a notable insight to the effect that data generated from the programmatic process is too often closeted among the sales and marketing departments.  His big idea, which when expressed is obvious, is that a much broader spectrum of business functions should be made aware of the data mined from the process. He makes the point that the more people in an organization know about the end consumer, the more products and messages will evolve.  There is truth in his insight. Source: Marketing Interactive

China’s Business Confidence Strong In Spite of Slight Decline

china confidence




The slight decline in Business Confidence resulted from slight declines in output and new orders among other minor declines.  Still, China records its tenth straight month of favorable numbers over 51 and, therefore, remains strong resulting from countervailing strength in consumer buying.

Sources: Trading Economics, National Bureau of Statistics, China

Music: The Elixir

music as the in-store elixir

In our ongoing attempt to understand the Chinese consumer we take note of research that distinguishes Chinese consumers from the rest of the world.  A global study of bricks & mortar shoppers revealed that Chinese consumers are significantly more affected by music in the store environment than the rest of us.  Why that is, is a mystery.  But the fact of it is interesting and its apparent effect on buying patterns suggests that some clever Chinese–facing, online seller might find a way to incorporate music into the online environment.  Just a thought.  Source: Retail Week

Programmatic Begins to Grow Up

Programmatic robotIn spite of the rough start that programmatic buying has had in the eyes of many, the reality is that “programmatic is proving how much better robots can be at some parts of media planning and buying than humans,” says Sue Unerman in her article in CampaignUS.  That sets the tone for the idea that programmatic is moving from childhood to the teen years.  Our use of this tool is maturing.

She talks about the age of disruption as represented by Uber, Airbnb and Alexa to which we are all still adjusting.  Programmatic is one of the disruptive forces and like the others, it has insinuated its way into our business life by bringing better targeting “based on real audience behavior rather than proxies.”  More efficiency is the result of a maturation process that comes after the quick start that allowed negative forces to take advantage.  The teen years are attacking the negativity and moving us back to efficiency.  Source: Campaign US

Key Takeaways from Summer Davos Forum in Dalian, China

world economic forum (vector)China’s prime minister Li Keqiang made two key comments that are hopeful for those of us doing business in China. One was internal – that his country “planned to relax foreign equity ownership, while expanding the negative list to ensure an equal and convenient business environment among all players.”

The second was external, when talking about globalization and the community of nations, he said, “We (China) need to better steer and adapt to economic globalization, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and at the same time reform and strengthen international trade rules to ensure equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules for all the countries in international economic co-operation.” Source: The Telegraph

Five Marketing Lessons from a Pro

Focus on SuccessLearning marketing principles can be done from any business experience.  Amanda Betsold, now head of programmatic at digital marketing firm, earned her stripes from the years she owned a bar.  She learned well.

Here are five principles she practices every day.

  1. If you’re a beer bar, don’t try to be a wine bar.  In other words, know what you are good at and focus on it until perfection. The key is focus.  Make sure all elements of look, feel and message are consistent with each other and that they support the whole.  Cognitive dissonance is bad.
  2. Personalize the experience.  Customers appreciate being recognized.  In a bar it’s knowing the favorites of regular customers.  Online it’s recognizing the address and feeding ideas that match past usage – the Amazon effect.
  3. Stick to the basics until you’ve mastered them.  The restaurant with 100 menu items probably serves lots of mediocre food while the restaurant with a limited menu is more likely to serve quality.  In programmatic marketing start with the basics buying and selling; perfect that before moving to exotic targeting combinations.
  4. Test and learn.  Once the basics are mastered, try new things.  If they work, perfect them.  Then try another new idea and, if it works, perfect it.  If it doesn’t work, cut your losses.
  5. It’s OK to cut off a customer.  In Betsold’s bar-owning days, it was difficult cutting of the “over-served” customer, but it had to be done.  In marketing one can face the same issue.  When a client is moving down a path where they are buying the wrong product, you have a responsibility to present reality – even though it is risky.  Source: AdAge

Prices Support Continued Consumer Spending

china consumer price index

China’s Consumer Price Index for June remains unchanged from May’s at 101.5.  That is just two tenths below the average for the last 13-months and that factors in the great drop from January’s high for the period and February’s low.  Prices remaining in this mid-range suggest continued consumer spending.  Good news.  Support: Trade Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Nine Months Above 51

china business confidence



Confidence among Chinese business people remains steadfast. Sitting above 51 for nine consecutive months is a solid vote for the future. Faster growth in both production and new orders are the main drivers for the good feelings in June’s number.

Source: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China