Gone are the days of Mad Men “eureka” moments based on one line of impactful copy or one striking visual, distributed to a limited number of channels (think broadcast television and billboards). One size no longer fits all in a digital age which moves at an incredible pace.
Digital marketing has become more complex over the last few decades. Marketers are demanding more relevant and personalized content to fulfill the needs of a competitive multiformat omni-channel advertising space. As this McKinsey report shows, companies who invest in their personalization efforts generate faster rates of revenue growth. This puts a lot of pressure on the digital creative designers who cannot keep up with that level of demand. The execution gap in what content is needed versus the stagnating budgets and resources is illustrated below.
- The marketing execution gap happens when budgets and resources stagnate but demands for personalized and relevant content increases.
- This happens for a myriad of reasons, namely: the many new ad channels and formats, complex global marketing workflows, and ad fatigue.
- Designers are under a lot of pressure to provide high volumes of content, and marketers tend to not ask for the number of digital creative assets they truly need for fear of straining their creative resources and creative teams even further.
What causes the marketing execution gap?
Many new ad channels and formats
The introduction of the internet changed the face of digital marketing because of the countless number of ad channels that were born from this and continue to multiply.
Marketers must adapt and consider how best to communicate with their audiences. TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram all require different formats but are necessary to exploit because consumers increasingly expect video content from brands. But on the production side, regular video content can be challenging to maintain.
Complex global marketing workflows
In this digital age, brands are reaching a far more connected and globalized audience. As a result, brands are becoming more remote, and workforces more dispersed, which can fracture communication and slow down content production.
Technology can help to join the dots between teams and creative operations which are separated by distances and cultures. It also aids the content localization process, which is essential for creating meaningful content that is relevant at a local, regional, national, and international level.
If content is not localized or personalized, consumers become bored and stop paying attention, a phenomenon known as ad fatigue. Not only do potential customers switch off, but ad platforms punish marketers for not updating ad creatives often enough.
Constantly testing content and rotating ad creatives based on the results is one resolution to this, as VooDoo did with Storyteq. But what are other advertising agencies and marketing teams doing now to prevent the gap deepening?
Attempts at closing the execution gap
These are some of the most common ways businesses are trying to address the problem:
- Outsourcing or adding headcount:
Outsourcing might involve situating creative production in less expensive locales (but upping other hidden costs), while increasing headcount is another job in itself as companies must source suitable talent. These are unsustainable quick fixes.
- Asking too much of their creative teams and straining resources:
Marketers are, as a result, only requesting the minimum they really need from designers, leading to the aforementioned ad fatigue.
- More A/B testing to prioritize what ads to focus on:
A/B testing is ineffective with a limited number of digital creative assets to test.
To create at scale is fundamental to filling the marketing execution gap. Fortunately, there is a way to confront this dilemma.
The solution to tightening the gap: Creative Automation
Creative Automation is the process of leveraging technology to scale creative asset production by automatically adapting and changing certain aspects of static, banner, or video content, like text, backgrounds, images, or video.
Switching from one tool to another or adopting a new solution altogether is a substantial undertaking. Time should be given to understand the platform’s value and functionality, and objectivity should be employed when considering how Creative Automation could help a business strategy.
Think of the entire value chain as one integrated flow. That does not mean completely re-organizing the way things are done, but finding more efficient ways for teams to work in tandem. From ideation all the way up to ad optimization, everything is fully connected through the power of Creative Automation.
See what others are saying
Creative agency Boomerang was one of the first to work with Storyteq and therefore one of the first in the industry to recognize that the exponential need for content required updating their resources and looking beyond simply “surviving” their immediate projects and deliverables.
“We use Storyteq a lot to optimize our digital creative assets, but also to make our concept smarter, scalable, and more flexible. We needed a smarter way to create more content.”Bo The, CEO of Boomerang, part of Publicis Groupe
By combining talent and technology, Boomerang can make more variations of their content, and they do this for less time, less money, and less repetitive work. But what was that Boomerang mentioned about optimization?
How Creative Automation and ad optimization can be a game-changer
With Creative Automation, many video ad versions are rendered in bulk at an accelerated rate. By pushing these versions directly to publishing platforms, ad channels, and Digital Asset Management platforms (DAMs), best-performing creative assets can be quickly identified. Therefore an execution benefit that Creative Automation also enables is that of Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO). Real-time decisions can be made about what ad creative to serve based on analysis of a significant number of variations.
Such an example of this are the Google dynamic display ads which rotate ads automatically according to the web user’s behavior, preferences, and location.
However, there is an important point to consider when thinking about dynamically changing ads based on Google retrieving third-party data: such third-party data (cookies) will soon no longer exist in the way we know it today. This means that content will remain being king, as will testing, iterating, and optimizing constantly. As this article by Gartner puts it, “Most marketers fail to realize that even with superior customer data, they do not have adequate content to deliver what customers expect.”
At Storyteq, we believe that a lack of relevant content will continue to be the bottleneck to successful marketing.
- Current attempts at closing the marketing execution gap include: outsourcing, adding headcount, putting a strain on creative teams
- These are unsustainable quick fixes which increases costs in the long-term.
- Creative Automation offers a transformative solution which keeps quality content the focus: it can scale creative asset production and therefore sustain the content requirements which are continually growing.
Creative Automation can help alleviate petty manual work and return time for real creativity. Marketers, when armed with a new resource for scaling their content, are less dependent on designers for the variations they need. They now also have more time to focus on high level strategic activities to increase revenue.
With marketing and creative teams both reaching their targets, in a timely and cost-effective manner, Creative Automation can definitely fill the marketing execution gap and create sustainable change and transformation.