MarketingNThe discrepancy between what marketing could theoretically accomplish and the reality is huge. You do not have to be a marketing expert to know that. Especially for consumers, this gap is clearly noticeable: they (rightly) increasingly complain about annoying, intrusive or irrelevant advertising and their concern about losing sovereignty over their personal data is steadily growing.

According to Rakuten Marketing's "Save the Web" study, these developments have as a consequence that 83% of Internet users feel disturbed by online advertising. At the same time, the media landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented, forcing advertisers to drive complex campaigns across an increasing number of channels, but often have limited tools to efficiently execute and measure them. In addition, the Walled Gardens prevent meaningful coordination across channels and publishers.

How can we counteract this development and ensure that the digital advertising market does not become the consumers’ enemy image?

Good marketing should not only increase the turnover of advertisers, but above all benefit consumers and serve the purpose of connecting products and services to the right target group. Only then will consumers be able to identify with the brand's values and build a connection to them.

But how can this idea "Consumer First" be put into action? By following the three pillars based on the Consumer First approach:

1. Create extraordinary experiences

Consumers today are used to getting personalized messages on all channels and devices they use. To help ensure that control over information and user data is always up to the consumer, advertisers need to say goodbye to focusing on campaigns and technology, instead focusing on their customers - across all touchpoints. This approach also supports advertisers' goal of building meaningful and lasting relationships with their audience that leads to real business results.

The less comprehensible is the fact that digital marketing is still characterized by overly intrusive advertising or ads that are optimized for a single channel and only result in short-term increases in CTR. In order to optimize campaigns and to pick up consumers right where they are, advertising content must be automatically tailored to the interests and behavior of the target group. This "programmatic-creative" approach enhances the brand experience of consumers by allowing advertisers to automate their campaigns to meet the needs of their audience by using machine-learning algorithms. For example, AI-driven creatives can be used as interactive ad units that play ads based on current weather, contain a locally relevant ad message based on geolocation data, or remind consumers of products they "forgot" in their shopping cart.

2. Provide transparency about the use and processing of user data

On the one hand, consumers want offers that are tailor-made for them, but on the other hand they want control over their data and the ability to withdraw from behavioral tracking and targeting. For this reason, advertisers need to provide visibility into what data is collected and how it is processed and used. To do this, they need to provide consumers with easy ways to manage the rights they give the advertiser. The prerequisite for this is that all systems with which data is processed are "privacy by design". This means that privacy requirements are already implemented in the design and development of the technologies. Thus, for example, the rights management can be ensured by the users themselves, changes can be logged, access protection and information as well as deletion of data can be made possible.

3. Synchronize communication across all touchpoints

Supposedly, seventy percent of all companies that do not adopt an omnichannel approach are also unable to transfer their online advertising spend to offline channels. This fact ultimately leads to a massive impact on not only the customer experience, but above all the advertising impact. In order to convey the right messages to consumers at every touchpoint, advertisers need to think across campaigns and channels, keeping a constant eye on their target audience. To do this, campaigns must not only cover established channels, but must also be optimized for advanced TV, digital out-of-home or audio. Because successful omnichannel marketing cannot be implemented with campaigns that run only in closed environments where advertisers cannot use their audience segments, insights, or reporting across the full breadth of their marketing efforts. Here, too, Walled Gardens stand in the way of efficient, cross-channel marketing. The success of omnichannel campaigns can only be proven with the right KPIs and the ability to optimize towards a true incremental return on advertising spend (ROAS). This requires so-called closed-loop reporting, which considers all touchpoints up to the conversion. The resulting learnings flow back into the media buying process. In order to successfully conduct such analytics, advertisers must no longer measure only the "last mile" of their customers - but must implement multi-touch attribution technologies that learn from interactions with consumers at all points of contact and leverage the insights they have gained to provide even more relevant advertising to their target group.

Digital marketing has existed for more than 25 years, programmatic advertising for ten years. So, it's time for change that will finally allow all industry participants - not just agencies, technology providers and advertisers, but consumers in particular - to benefit from marketing efforts.

Marketing must now once again massively evolve. To do this, the entire digital advertising industry needs to break existing infrastructures, identify bad actors in the supply chain and abandon the idea that consumers are just a means to an end.

By Daniela La Marca