The Matryoshka Doll Evolution Of Marketing

ethanvanauken-updated“Marketer’s Note” is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem.

This week it is written by Ethan Van Auken, Analyst, AdExchanger Research.

Hello! I’m Ethan Van Auken, a freshly minted analyst here at AdExchanger Research. I’m thrilled to be a part of the power-to-the-people, consumer-centric shift in marketing philosophy that’s taking hold right now.

Where reaching the consumer is concerned, advertising has taken on the shape and structure of a matryoshka doll. Commercial television dawned on July 1, 1941. From that day and for some decades after that, the television broadcast networks captured huge, broad audiences; basically the large, outermost doll. The middle dolls can be seen as the cable TV era, where bifurcation and audience fracturing created opportunities for media buyers to optimize their spend around smaller target audiences.

Now we’re at a place where the smallest dolls are being opened. Individuals engage directly with brands and often expect something in return. Marketing relationships are being forged, and there are actual emotions on the line. Interesting times.

Most of my career has been in the middle-doll era, a period when meetings were dominated by talk of reaching and communicating to “the target.” I logged many hours at Paramount Pictures attempting to isolate the tastes of demographic and psychographic targets such as fanboys and moms of kids 2-11. But even as proud and passionate as the fanboy is, there was still a notable degree of waste in our efforts. Not all fanboys like anime, or participate in cosplay. Some aren’t even boys. Yet our ads inevitably ran against the best fabrics to use when making a Totoro costume – and the like.

Now, we find ourselves in the small doll/individual era. I first caught a glimpse of the power of CRM-based targeting as an analyst at Experian Marketing Services. The importance of segmentation became more evident to me, as talk of targets gave way to conversations that went more like this: “I need to email my Barstools and Brunches segment with a promotion for vitamin C supplements at 1:50 a.m., during their cab ride home. I also need to find more of them, because they are crazy for this stuff.”That was a bit of a record-scratch moment for me. Flag a few hundred of your customers? Customize a message for them, and deliver it right when they need it most? That is some kind of powerful.

Defining and finding the target audience is, of course, critically important. As that objective is being met in more advanced and finely tuned ways, the next box to check is ensuring those targets are actually served the appropriate creative. At AdExchanger Research, viewability and ad fraud are going to be a focus of my research. In the near term, I look forward to hearing your perspective on those issues and offering my point of view in return.

I am very excited to get going and will begin reaching out to introduce myself in the weeks to come. But in the meantime, if fraud is near and dear to you and you want to have a chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello!

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