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Kim, the heroine of everyone’s favorite marketing saga, which we’ve been sharing in installments for the past year, is back. While Kim is a fictional character, she’s based on the very real marketers we meet every day, and like those marketers, she’s always facing exciting, if sometimes stressful, new challenges.

chango-raconteurKim, as you might recall, is an engineer-turned-marketer, and she understands the power of data to help her make informed marketing decisions. Always looking ahead, Kim recently began planning for 2015. To impress her CMO, Dave (or “Big D” as he’s known around the office), Kim started putting together a beautiful deck that covers all the resources she’ll need to run an amazing programmatic operation in the year ahead.

If Kim was putting a little extra effort into the deck, it was because she and Dave don’t always see things the same way. It’s not that Dave is a bad guy so much as that he approaches the world a bit differently than the analytics-obsessed Kim. Dave’s a creative guy, and he likes to make decisions based on gut feelings. Sometimes those are great decisions; sometimes they aren’t. (Last year he bought a prime college football commercial because he wanted to impress some key cilents who were watching the game at home.

But Kim knows that, quirks notwithstanding, Dave is smart, perhaps the smartest person with whom she has ever worked. And because not long ago Kim stumbled upon a 125-slide McKinsey deck that was presented to the board (funny what you can find in the recycling bin!), Kim was also aware that Dave was very much in need of big new ideas. Kim’s company is a large CPG brand, and margins have eroded over the last few years. If the company can expect to command a higher premium than its competitors, Dave needs a much better way of communicating the company’s value proposition.

Stacking the Deck

Which brings us back to Kim’s deck on programmatic. Kim knew she could win Dave over by showing him exactly how programmatic can help tell the company’s story in a compelling new way. And that’s why she went all out to make the deck as comprehensive as possible, even calling Rachel, a former Kellogg classmate who is now at P&G. (Having recently announced the vast majority of its media dollars will soon be going to programmatic, P&G was the natural place to turn for wisdom.)

After catching up on their personal lives (yes, Rachel was still dating that crazy lawyer who always wore a beret), Rachel caught Kim up on the latest in programmatic. Programmatic, Rachel said, could do a lot more than most people think. It was no longer just an efficient way to buy media. Now programmatic is giving rise to “flow advertising.”

As Rachel explained, flow advertising was like sequential advertising on steroids. Sequential advertising lets marketers put different creatives in whatever order they think will be most effective. But once the campaign is set in place, the marketer can do little but sit back and hope for the best. With flow advertising it becomes possible to change the sequence of the creatives based on real-time signals from consumers. And the signals can come from places Kim hadn’t realized could be tapped for programmatic — from the device being used, to the searches a user performs after viewing a creative, to the amount of time a user spends watching a video ad.

To say Kim was intrigued when she hung up with Rachel was an understatement. Kim wasn’t just excited about the vague promises of a programmatic-powered flow campaign. By the time she ended the call she already knew exactly which product to market with a flow campaign. One of the company’s products (a popular body cream) had been flying off the shelves because of its Italian heritage. The product already had a decent fan base among women interested in outdoor and community activities — a group that’s very price sensitive and engaged on desktop.

Kim’s research indicated there was an untapped audience that was attracted to the product but interested in somewhat different benefits. That audience that hadn’t been tapped was more urban, into yoga, and also primarily engaged on mobile. Kim had wondered is she could use the digital clues left behind by those two very distinct audiences to experiment with different strategies, creatives and also placements. And now she had her answer. Thanks to flow advertising’s power to analyze and adjust to contextual and behavioral data, she could do exactly that.

Go With the Flow

Flow advertising could continually assess the audience and classify people into group A or group B — and do it in real time. And as the data came in, the creative could be updated on the fly. For example, a person who was initially identified in group A might not respond positively to ad A on desktop, but respond more favorably on mobile, which makes this person more likely to be in group B. The next ad shown to his person would then be from group B and on mobile. If the person were to respond positively, she would be served a pre-roll B on a beauty site.

Kim knew one thing for sure: Her CMO Dave might not care so much about the mechanics of programmatic, but he understood the power of a good ad — delivered to the right people — to tell a brand story. So Kim wasn’t entirely surprised when Dave said he was blown away by Kim’s deck. (Though she was surprised by the little jump for joy he did when he saw the data.)

In the end, Kim got the resources she needed. But getting the resources was just the beginning. In 2015, we’ll find out what happened when Kim decided to go with the flow.

Kim-isms

• Kim is still in a pending lawsuit with Dr. Seuss over who originally wrote The Cat In The Hat.
• Kim finished the SAT twice in the same time it takes to complete it once.
• McKinsey & Company hires Kim & Herself for consulting gigs, not the other way around.
• Kim never uses the same PowerPoint template twice. Ever.
• Stunned by her data and creativity skills no one’s been able to determine if she’s ‘right’ or ‘left’ brain.

Plomion-Ben_ChangoBen Plomion is the VP of Marketing at Chango. Prior to that he was at GE Capital, where he established the digital media practice. His previous entries in this series began in February with The Innovative Marketer, A Cautionary Tale and continued with The Millisecond Marketer and Tale of a DIY Marketer. The articles appeared simultaneous in Chango’s Programmatic Mind magazine.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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