With the evolution of technology, marketing has become one gigantic pool of acronyms (DSP, DMP, SSP, CMS, SDK, RTB, API, PII, UUID, etc.) that only make sense to those fully immersed in the industry. We’re still missing one though—the final frontier of digital development still left to be determined—DXP (Digital Experience Platform).
The importance of content is nothing new, as brilliant marketers such as Seth Godin advocated back in 2008, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” It’s 2016 though and the marketing landscape has shifted drastically since then. While content remains as important as ever, it’s not the same as it was in 2008 and the disconnect in understanding content production and promotion now vs then continues to generate serious challenges for brands.
So what’s changed?
- HTML5 is the new language for sexy– I think back to those Dice.com ads, where half-naked engineers are posing on huge black and white billboards that read, “Find the hottest tech talent”- that’s what digital advertising in the 21st Century looks like. Traditional concepts of content and creativity carry different meaning than they have in previous years, with creative designers manifesting themselves in the form of coders and engineers. Storyboards and sketches are now technical wireframes, and CSS/HTML5 is the new language for sexy.
- Digital moves to the center– When the internet first hit the market, the answer was, “Build a website.” When smart phones came out, the answer was, “Build an app.” Digital content still remained on the outskirts of marketing operations as a singular channel of a bigger strategy. But technology has evolved so rapidly in the last few years, it now sits at the center of most consumer’s lives, and brands are finding themselves behind consumers, in the data frenzy of ad technology.
- Mobile is here to stay– We all saw it coming as mobile saw an average growth of 11% Y/Y starting 2008. “Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).” This means smaller screens, less consumer attention, and more digital experiences, as brands struggle to understand mobile only platforms such as Instagram and SnapChat.
These changes may seem obvious, but they’ve created some less obvious challenges that are costing major brands efficiency, data holes, and resources (capital & human).
Here’s an example of everything required to pull off a simple yet effective digital sweeps campaign.
- Strategy- Ideation of concepts to stay in line with brand messaging
- Creatives- Mock Ups, User Flows, Display Ads, In-Store Signage, Copy
- Engineering- Development of User Experience
- IT- Data flow with internal systems
- Legal- Terms & Conditions, Bonding, and Compliance
- Ad Ops- Attribution, Promotion of Content, and Reporting
Note: If you don’t understand why all of the above is required, I would highly recommend reading FunMobility’s free eBook, Gamified Promotions: Increasing Conversions for Digital Marketing
From the quick overview above, it’s easy to see why coming up with concepts for new digital experiences are more difficult than ever. Imagine running multiple promotions like this across a portfolio of +75 brands. It can very quickly generate lots of missing data points and eat up heavy resources in the process. Two of the biggest mistakes I see brands making are:
- Vendor Overkill
- Ignoring the process and focusing only on short term results
Due to the complexity of putting together a digital campaign, brands can often overcomplicate vendor relationships, involving multiple platforms and agencies in the process. While Fragmentation is great in some cases, in other cases, it creates unnecessary headache and cost- this is where a good DXP can help. It’s not about implementing an “OR” solution that will replace all the vendors and tech platforms brands are already using; it’s tying together an “AND” solution so that Brands can centralize the ideation, creation, and execution of digital experiences through a singular platform across multiple departments and teams.
Sometimes marketers choose the latter, and decide to put together a campaign that works for their immediate needs, without thinking about the long-tail benefits their campaigns can deliver. Data and attribution are no longer relevant in this use case, as long as the brand experience is one that consumers can enjoy. A DXP can also help with this challenge, as centralizing operations means centralizing data flow. Ideating and quickly publishing a wide range of content becomes a seamless process when everyone involved speaks the same underlying language.
I often refer to digital content as the ligament that holds together multiple marketing operations to stop any form of leakage (data, resources, innovation). It’s not necessarily an endpoint for data to permanently reside, but a way to streamline data flow from one point to another. That’s the great thing about digital- all data and metrics can collectively come together to tell an incredible story- and as more experience heavy platforms like SnapChat grow in relevance, my bet is that ad tech will quickly adopt a new generation of Digital Experience Platforms- a new acronym.