Insights on Marketing & Technology

Every company has to find its own recipe

Vast challenges and fantastic opportunities
In a nutshell, InteractiveMedia sells digital ads for publishers. They represent more than 80 brands exclusively in Germany including media that they operate themselves, for instance T-online.

“There is no limitation to the people we can target,“ explains Marianne Stroehmann, “And we offer various kinds of access to the audience - for instance contextual targeting and real-time advertising, all in a very data-driven way. It all depends on how you want to engage and reach your audience.”

In today’s marketing world, the CMO has vast challenges and fantastic opportunities. The complexity of the media landscape and media usage is very high. And if you as a marketeer want to engage your audience in your brand, you basically have to restructure all your marketing knowledge.

“You cannot compare online and digital marketing with ‘old days’ way of thinking in media channels. With digital media you don’t just have the opportunity to combine and use all kinds of marketing disciplines at once - brand awareness, POS activation, dialogue marketing, you name it… - you have to combine and use these disciplines. Consequently we are entering the age of the generalists who can create successful digital strategies with a team of specialists.”

Parallel media usage
Just 10 years ago, digital was for e-commerce only. Now it’s for all kind of brands...

“As a marketeer you have to understand, that there are people you are not able to reach any more unless you’re deep into digital. And that’s regardless of the purpose of your marketing effort and whether your main point-of-sale is on- or offline. For instance, P&G have a deep knowledge of their audience based on thorough research and intelligent registration of data. They use it to engage their audience in various ways, even though the actual purchase happens in a physical shop.”

These days, you have audiences that are very inefficient to target and engage. There’s a big parallel usage of media which means that for instance no one watches tv without being simultaneously active on their cell phone or tablet. Thus, you cannot define media usage the same way as you did just a decade ago.

“There’s a significant raise in activity on apps and online media in the ad-breaks - and I’m sad to say, that they are not surfing the internet to find more information about the ads running over the screen or to find in-depth information about the program they are watching!”

“You have to go back to scratch to see how these various media engage your audience today and how the usage actually is. And consequently you have to go back into your research and define what is happening for your target group in different contexts. What is important to them? What do you have to offer them? And what role does the specific media play to engage the audience in your brand?”

Catch me if you can
It’s both a curse and a blessing that you can tailor-make everything for everyone (for instance by using various automatized individualisation techniques). You need to know more and more - and you cannot really replicate what you’ve been doing for the last 30 years. If your experiences tell you that this amount of tv advertising leads to this amount of sales you’re back to square one. The efficiency of each media is changing constantly - right now, mostly due to multi-screen usage of media.

“It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all era right now. But still you have to rely on the very basics of marketing and your business and bring that core into this new world. For instance, you have to ask yourself: What’s the purpose, what do you want to achieve? That’s the safest way of heading in the right direction and choosing the right tools to target your audience. There’s a kind of “catch me if you can” game going on between the brands and the audience. The best way of winning that game is to let all the marketing disciplines walk hand-in-hand to fulfill your purpose and to reach and engage your audience efficiently.”

Editorial content owners and producers have to accept the fact that the definition of media is not valid anymore. It’s not so much about a specific channel anymore, but more about trust, persuasion, and competence of a media brand. You need to go much more into content research and proof to raise the effect of  your ads in a specific editorial context.

“It’s possible to place ads around editorial content using certain words or messages. But again: you have to be very clear of what you’re looking for and what you want to achieve. You have to know what behaviour in the offline world leads to the orientation towards certain editorial content and how that connects with your brand.”

Obviously, it has an effect on certain brands in what media brand context they are advertised.
The editorial media has to be very much aware of that the competition is different. And that the usage of the media is very different.

A big potential
“What many media planners and marketeers are not aware of is, that most media are only relevant in limited timeslots to a certain audience - for instance while commuting. So the task for the marketeer is to connect all the dots to draw the full picture to be able to target and engage the audience efficiently at any time!”

But the structures the marketeers are currently working in are difficult for your ability to organize your campaign creatively and in terms of planning. Actually, today the potential is much bigger than the marketeers are in fact able to accomplish due to the structures they are working in. The marketing departments have to restructure to be able to skip channel-thinking and work with more cohesive customer journeys.

“For instance, the creative agencies work very traditionally and design their campaigns to fit very static and traditional formats. Now, it’s actually the companies and brands who are defining the future and comes with all the ideas and strategies. So it’s really a paradigm change when the company accept the impact that the digital age has on the company. All these changes have to come from the CMO. Specifically, he or she needs to be more aware of all the new parameters within marketing - not least all the various situations which the audience are targeted and how you can utilize that...”

Crystal clear brand value
Big data is a buzz-word (and the subject has been covered in prior issues of MARKET), but it is true that you have access to vast amounts of data that can help you structure your targeting. Consequently you have to be really strong on analytics in your team.  

“Above all you need to break down the barriers between departments. Marketing should be merged with CRM, sales and HR. And not least be very, very close to your IT-department. But above all, you should have a generalist who’s able to define what type of product you have and how you can engage your audience in your brand. The brand needs to be central in the entire value chain and the value of the brand has to be crystal clear for the audience throughout the entire value chain!”

Marianne Stroehmann
* CEO for InteractiveMedia (Deutsche Telekom) since 2012
* Prior she has been CEO for AOL Germany (and subsidiaries) for 10 years
* She has a Master in International Marketing from CBS (Copenhagen)
* She lives and works in Germany
* Digital media marketer based in Germany. Subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom Group.
* Sells digital ads for various publishers who provide editorial content
* Interactive Media collaborates with more than 80 brands exclusively in Germany