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The challenges & opportunities of personalisation through DCO tools

Over recent years the marketing community has been obsessed with the notion of personalisation; the theory is simple - the more targeted and applicable the ad is to the consumer, the more likely the conversation. Brands are lured by the promise of increased conversion rates and improved customer loyalty, simply by getting this tailored marketing right.  With some studies suggesting that consumers are 79% more likely to engage with an offer that has been personalised, it’s hard for brands to turn a blind eye. But, how do you get the balance of surfacing relevant content right, without going overboard on a huge creative spend?

We live in a world today, where marketers have data at their fingertips; whether that’s first party data from their customers or, for the time being, third party data targeting their prospects. We have more tools than ever before to ensure we are presenting the right message to the right person at the right time.  There has been an explosion in the Martech sector to handle all of this data, with Customer Data Platforms (CDP), Data Management Platforms (DMP) and CRM tools all vying for pole position to offer the latest and greatest ways to mine and manage consumer information. 

So, you have your data management tool in place, you’ve navigated the minefield of GDPR compliance and along with your media agency have defined your target segments and ideal customer. You’ve created campaigns specifically to target them and begun seeing promising results, but what’s next?  How do you take personalisation a step further to improve your ROI?

Perhaps investing in a DCO platform is the answer.

'Lack of content relevancy generates 83% lower response rates in the average marketing campaign'

Dynamic Content Optimisation makes sense; not only are you targeting the desired customer at the right time, you’re also presenting them with the most appropriate creative to convert. It couldn’t be simpler right? – Wrong!

Whilst DCO offers a significant increase in marketing performance when executed correctly, it’s notoriously difficult to get right.

The challenge with DCO is that it requires two historically siloed partners; your media agency and your creative agency, to work together to achieve success. Traditionally creative agencies would happily consume their time worrying about getting the creative spot on, making sure the copy is punchy and the quality of the output is top notch.  After which they would neatly hand the assets over to the media agency who busied themselves with buying up spots, getting the right price and ensuring target audiences were engaged. The roles were clear cut and the hand-offs clean. 

Introduce a DCO tool and all that goes out the window.  DCO requires both parties to come together further upstream, agreeing the segmentation and determining which creative execution will best fit each audience, right from the outset. Without this upfront strategic planning it’s not possible to effectively optimise content.  The DCO tools require you to fully understand your segmentation, allowing you to build decision trees and logic to determine which ad gets presented to each customer based on a variety of factors e.g. what the weather’s like outside, the time of day the ads are shown, who the customer is, or even how many times they’ve seen the ad.

DCO starts to challenge the ownership of data, something that was traditionally 100% media agency lead. This now needs upfront input and consideration from the creative agency in order to succeed. Similarly, now the creative considerations are being discussed ahead of time, the creative agency start to have more sway on the micro-segmentation of the target market, based on how the creative can work best. Couple this sway in data ownership, with the current trend for brands to in-house programmatic buying and all of a sudden, the media agencies are starting to see their involvement dwindle.

'In-house marketers who are personalising their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales'

For those brands that are yet to in-house media buying, ensuring your media and creative agencies are aligned is key to the success of DCO. However, the real winners here could be the brands that can marry up a DCO tool with their in-house buying team.  Through smart integration and linking a DCO platform with your DSP, you make the process of reactive buying and targeted creative, streamlined and painless.  The DSP secures your purchases, then based on the segmentation and rules in the DCO, the platform knows exactly which creative to surface based on the end consumer. Reducing the human element and relying more heavily on tightly integrated systems, not only give you more responsive and accurate targeting, it also allows businesses to scale the solution across multiple markets and media channels.

Enabling DCO in this way truly allows brands to create a personalised omnichannel engagement with the consumer, which according to research will increase the chances of conversion.  Making this efficient and linking DCO with your programmatic buying process, really starts to open doors on the journey to fully maximising your campaign ROI. With programmatic buying continually extending its reach into more and more media channels, it seems logical that this model of embedding a DCO tool will see a significant increase over the coming year.  When you couple this integration with some of the new AI algorithms that are being implemented by DSP’s and data management systems, the tools will automatically start to learn more about the customers’ behaviour and be able to fine tune which creatives work best in each situation.

So, wherever you are on your personalisation journey, whether that’s in-housing buying or working with your media agency; to make DCO a success ensure your creative agency are involved from the outset and equipped to create truly impactful creative, that resonates with your consumers.

Paul Mildren - NEON Consulting

(References -  Marketo 2015, Monetate 2017, Adobe 2019)