Sonder | The programmatic retailer
Programmatic media buying will only deliver on its true potential when owned and paid media are fused to create a seamless consumer and customer experience.
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The programmatic retailer

The programmatic retailer

There can be no doubt that programmatic media buying has the potential to change the way brands connect with customers. The promise of more relevant, timely and persuasive communication is intoxicating for a marketer. Coupled with a more efficient media buy and greater transparency, programmatic could well be media heroin.

Unfortunately, the current reality is not as addictive as the promise. Transparency has not transpired. Efficiency? For the media agency perhaps. And using past digital behaviour is not a great proxy for future purchase intent. How many times have you visited a website then been infuriated by ham-fisted retargeting advertising at you on every other site you visit afterwards? Maybe that’s just me. Perhaps people really do like blatant, creepy e-stalking.

The more progressive practitioners of programmatic are fusing AI with HI (that’s “Human Intelligence”). Not relying solely on an algorithm to determine media targeting and content, they’re taking a more considered approach. They’re also bringing it inhouse to take full advantage of customer data and realise the transparency and efficiency promise. Nordstrom in the USA is a good example of this. At a recent Media Post Summit, Michelle Alfano, Nordstrom’s senior manager for programmatic display advertising said, “By bringing it (programmatic) in-house, we had more control over who we were deploying messaging to and what channels we were going through. Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for the formulation of customised messaging – and can be balanced with curated collections of top-tier clients.”

But next on the horizon for programmatic is the fusion of paid and owned media channels. This will see retailers able to serve a relevant message, or offer, through their email, website, mobile app and digital instore POS, based on what a person has done and been exposed to outside of their media ecosystem. And not just pre-purchase, but post purchase too. This is when programmatic will transcend advertising and deliver a totally customised experience for the shopper.

This programmatic fusion of paid and owned media will create a new form of communication – not just advertising, not just CX, not just direct marketing, something new, transformative and a catalyst for retail growth.