Late Night with Larry: 2023 Predictions Series Edition
Each of the past few years has brought marketers and leaders a fresh set of challenges, from navigating a pandemic to facing new (and much needed) requirements for privacy compliant marketing.
I’ve been listening closely to what I believe the marketing industry and consumer behavior is telling us will be important in the years to come. For my 2023 predictions, I am sharing three focus areas where I am placing my “bets” and investing our agency resources to develop new solutions to meet the demands of tomorrow’s marketer. If I can help our clients and Rise run out ahead by innovating and developing expertise in the following three disciplines, I’m confident that success will follow.
1. Embracing automation: Advertising platforms continue to show us that more automation is coming. In 2022, I detailed my analysis of Google’s self-reported top 5 takeaways from Google Marketing Live, which all support the idea that automation in ad optimization is the way of the future. Meta is on the same path, releasing Advantage+ shopping campaigns which eliminate manual steps of ad creation and can test up to 150 different creative combinations at once. In the not-so-distant future, automated campaign optimizations will no longer be one of many choices for marketers — we will be required to use the machine learning technology of these large players.
That’s why at Rise, we prioritize aggressive testing of all campaign automation capabilities as they roll out. We learn what works and doesn’t while we still have other performance levers that we can pull. But automation strategy doesn’t stop there. True multi-channel optimization requires testing platform automation capabilities side-by-side to learn the relative strengths and weaknesses of each and apply learnings from one automation tool to another so they can complement one another. This elevated view of automation strategy is a priority focus for Rise’s media strategy and innovation teams in 2023.
2. Owning the automation inputs: Getting comfortable with the campaign configuration and mechanics of automated bidding and optimization is just step one. Equally important is having a strategy to provide machine learning and automation technology with the highest value inputs available. These inputs include everything from eye-catching creative to offline data like customer lifetime value or converted leads.
Marketers have to remember: Your competitors are using the exact same ad engines that have access to the same foundational data to inform algorithmic decision making. What will differentiate the performance between two brands that compete for the same customers is the quality of the creative assets they can feed the platforms, their ability to push their offline “secret sauce” data into the bid engine, and the relevance of their landing pages and the experience customers have with the brand once they’ve landed on their respective websites.
3. Upskilling our team for the future: To have a superior approach to owning the inputs of automation, we also need an updated talent mix. In 2023, we are focused on building new solutions that allow our clients to own those inputs: Building and managing higher quality creative at scale, transforming and engineering client data to be usable by the ad engines, and building world class websites that advance positive relationships between brands and their customers.
This means that not only do we need talented creative teammates, but we need to pair them with technology solutions that allow us to build and test messages at scale. Being at the forefront of testing advertising and marketing technology has always been in Rise’s DNA, and now as a Quad company we’ve expanded the solutions we can offer by tapping into Quad’s proprietary content management technology and global content production capabilities.
As brands navigate their strategies to build content at scale, there are smart technology solutions that can accelerate creative performance. For example, in 2022, Rise piloted campaigns using Marpipe, a social creative optimization technology. With one single ad concept, we tested 24 variations of imagery and layouts in just seven days to find the top performing combination, which drove revenue at half the cost per purchase of the worst performing combination. We will continue to test creative technology solutions to build and measure content at scale in 2023.
The previous example illustrates how the skillset of a social marketer needs to evolve. And even deeper technical skills are needed to maximize the value of brands’ “secret sauce” data across all ad platforms, including data sources like: Consented first-party data to target known customers with relevant messaging, or offline conversion data to inform smarter spend allocations based on ads driving business results. The importance of technical skills cannot be understated, as I posited in my most-read Late Night with Larry: The Next Era of the CMO is Here: Are You Ready For It?
I’m committed to setting Risers and our clients up to succeed in 2023 by making progress in each of these areas. It’s going to be an exciting year filled with testing, learning, and of course, data. Motivated to advance your marketing roadmap for the future? Let’s talk.