Home Agencies Team Detroit SVP John Gray Raising Brand Awareness With Programmatic Buying, DataXu

Team Detroit SVP John Gray Raising Brand Awareness With Programmatic Buying, DataXu


John Gray, Team DetroitOn Wednesday, demand-side platform DataXu announced its DX Brand product focused on increasing brand awareness in display advertising through what the company says is “an evidence-based approach to measuring brand metrics, such as awareness, recall, favorability, or purchase intent.” Read the release. And, read more on Digiday.

John Gray is SVP Director of Interactive Media, Team Detroit, a joint venture comprised of WPP’s Detroit-based agencies, including JWT, Y&R, Wunderman, Ogilvy and Mindshare. Gray discussed the needs of the brand marketer as it relates to programmatic buying and DataXu’s product.

AdExchanger.com: Why do brands need a better way in to display advertising right now? What’s been the problem to date?

JG: So it’s not that we can’t access display inventory. We certainly can. But there’s an opportunity for improvement.  To date, we haven’t had a way to programmatically optimize towards attitudinal shift.

So for brand advertisers that are trying to raise awareness of a product, a few years ago all you had were survey‑based results that would come four to six weeks into a campaign, at the earliest. If you have a two-to-three month duration, you end up not having a lot of time to do optimization from a media perspective. Then came the advent of Vizu. Dynamic Logic and others with much shorter surveys.

In this shorter form, a much larger amount of survey responses can be collected within several days instead of waiting to amass 400 to 500 survey responses which could take several weeks. Because of the shorter feedback loop, starting a few years ago with these shorter surveys, we were able to start to say, “All right, well now we can look at these results and make some changes to our campaign.”

And then that led to the next opportunity and increasing the efficiency of that process even more. I liken it to search. Sure – I can manually optimize a search campaign, but I also know that when I use a search engine management platform my results go through the roof. Programmatic optimization or machine learning‑based optimization is far more efficient than any of my planners with even some of the most sophisticated tools within Excel could be.

Has there been any pushback of the programmatic approach with the brand marketer, the CMO? What are they thinking these days?

This hasn’t made it up to the CMO level, yet. But, I can tell you from the digital marketing client side ‑ there’s been an appetite and a desire for this, because they see how efficient and how good we’ve become at the direct response‑based campaigns that we run for them.

They’ve seen different technology platforms help D.R. out so now they’re saying, “Well this is really great, but how do we do this for the other side of our investment -shifting consumers’ perceptions and attitudes.” At a high level they’re saying, ” I wish I had some ways to do that more efficiently also.”

Do you see the idea of real‑time becoming a key component of strategic planning?


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Yes, absolutely. We realize that our clients, customers and consumers live in a real‑time world and they want access to information as well as express their opinions in that real‑time world. Any brand which is trying to forge relationships with consumers knows, the more responsive you can be, the better off you’re going to be.

Looking at the DataXu’s DX Brand product, do you see a particular client that it’s right for today, or a particular type of campaign that it’s right for today?

I think with any technology – whether it’s DataXu’s or another company’s technology – it needs to help a brand advertiser try to shift attitudes. So for us, when you say “is there any particular client,” it crosses categories. We have everything from clients with long consideration and purchase‑cycle products to clients whose consumer walks into a big‑box store, picks something off the shelf and it takes them a matter of minutes.

Both of those clients, though, will have marketing communication objectives that are about raising awareness or creating favorability for a brand and consideration. So any client that has metrics that are not hardcore direct‑response-based would have a need for this product.

The other thing I’d say is that it also depends on the consumer’s intent, too. For example, if they are in-market, I’m going to see it manifest itself as a behavioral, intent signal. But, if that consumer isn’t in-market, I won’t necessarily see it even if I made them more favorable.

That’s how we look at it from our clients’ standpoint – areas where it’s hard to pick up behavioral signals as proxies for purchase intent or another type of attitudinal shift, that’s where offerings such as these become a good solution.

By John Ebbert

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