Brands are creating more content than ever. According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, three-quarters of marketers (77%) say they spend more time creating content than what they would prefer. However, with consumers demanding greater variety and relevance in the advertising messages they see online, marketers have little choice but to continue. The Drum and Celtra spoke to some of APAC’s marketing leaders to learn how marketers can scale these issues.
As the pandemic accelerates, the time consumers are spending online is increasing, so too are the demands on marketers. From the ever-growing list of new channels to the different formats, sizes and languages, as well as personalisation, demographic targeting, and localisation, the challenges for marketers are significant.
Made to order: personalisation
The demand for personalisation is on the rise with 60% of consumers wanting more consistency in the messaging they receive from brands. Yet despite this, marketers continue to struggle with personalisation.
Jonathan Adams, CMO, iCar Asia, says, “I think personalisation is one of the most difficult things to get right. I don't think anyone's even close to doing it perfectly. As technology and tools advance, it supposedly makes things easier, but it doesn't always make it easier. Sometimes it actually makes it more difficult. Because then we have to adapt ourselves to be able to cope with some of that.”
Anna Kim, regional marketing director, Carsome agrees, she says the speed with which the market is moving is a huge part of the problem. With brands executing numerous messages across channels, audiences and locations, all of which needs to happen at speed, the quality starts to suffer.
“It comes to a place where we start losing out in quality,” says Kim. “Are we really turning out quality content? We're sending out messages we think are right for the brand but is it really quality, is it really performing? Are we really out there competing with the market? We are in a situation where we’re scaling so fast, and we need the speed and the quality, and it’s a challenge.”
Technology, particularly creative automation, is helping marketers to manage this speed while also stemming the content gap. Automation also frees up creatives to focus on the strategic and human elements of the content, according to Tushar Gidwani, business lead, marketing, Zillingo.
Agility through automation
“I think the priority of automation should be using our design bandwidth and making things more efficient,” says Gidwani. “One important aspect that will never be lost is the storytelling and humanizing of your brand for your end consumer as automation starts scaling up.
“Given the amount of output the market demands, you'll find it flooded by Instagram stories, which are just slideshows, or a similar piece of content. The human angle or the creative storytelling angle will still be the kernel at the heart of all of this output. You need a group of creatives who will decide whether giving away a car will be the USP of the month, or if there will be a human angle to it,” says Gidwani.
Raushida Vasaiwala, GM, APAC at Celtra agrees even with automation software at hand, human involvement is crucial for marketers, particularly when there is no one-size-fits-all.
With intelligent tools on the rise, the need for brands to stay human
“There are a lot of marketers out there who are looking for these unicorn solutions, where they expect one software to do everything. I think it's very important for brands to understand to pick the best of the breed rather than looking for that one solution that kind of does it all. Because the moment you look at something like that, you will not be getting quality.
“There are data and insights tools that will help your marketing team guide your designers and automation tools to help you do the execution but the moment you think of merging the two, that's where problems begin. No one knows where to start from. So human intervention is needed from time to time. As a starting point, a you need to create a template to reflect ideas, messaging, and style. That part is manual. You can then separate your content into feeds that connect to your main design template and scale production using automation ,” says Vasaiwala.
As marketers prepare for the busy fourth-quarter sales period, on top of managing the increased demands that were produced by the pandemic, the ability to scale these creative challenges will be critical to marketing success.
“It's not just the next few months that are going to be critical in terms of scaling up creative output,” says Gidwani. “When Google knocks out third-party cookies, multivariate campaigns are going to be insane. We're gonna have to AB test and AC test and AD test, it’s a massive amount, so the amount of assets we need for that would go from 700 to about 7000 in a month, which will pretty much kill every creative that has to do that.”