*This article was written for ANA Marketing Maestros and originally published on the ANA website.
Marketers used to brag about their budgets and now it’s the size of their tech stack. Heading into 2022 and beyond, that stack deserves a better foundation. Every ad-tech and mar-tech solution is rooted in the same promise, providing better, faster, and smarter ways to put the right creative in front of the right consumers to drive business results. It follows suit, then, that a tech stack of any kind should sit on top of and be fed by a centralized creative logistics platform in which all the myriad creative is married with the complex array of media placements across all markets.
Like updating a home, it’s easy to focus on the things we see: the paint color, the cool new appliances, the connected data-driven devices, and knocking down of walls that aren’t load-bearing. The advertising industry has gone through many exciting renovations of its own, ranging from the way brands approach storytelling to the rapid innovation in media planning, buying and optimization.
Under the surface of the things marketers see and talk about at conferences and in the trades, the ground under all of that is shaky at best and buckling under the weight of complexity at worst. Why? We are all human after all — and during times of rapid transformation, the tendency is to race to adapt above the surface without time to think about legacy practices and processes underneath that were designed for a past era.
It’s time to power creative and media activation teams, in-house and external, with modern cloud technology. This is a textbook case for the integration of interrelated and codependent steps. Campaign activation is a complex, 365/24/7 relay race in which the stakes are high; one dropped baton can be the difference between winning — and not winning.
Moving from disconnected point solutions to a single omnichannel activation platform dramatically increases efficiency, precision, speed, and agility. Seamless workflow is the means to the powerful end-benefits of complete control, panoramic visibility and actionable insight.
To activate sophisticated plans flawlessly, brands need their creative to move at the speed of media to any destination, anywhere in the world, and in compliance with usage rights. Pivoting from a patchwork of solutions to a single integrated enterprise platform makes easy operational work out of an intensely challenging marketing landscape and an equally complicated infrastructure.
Creative Logistics Solves Today’s Challenges and Prepares for a Future of Change
Creative Assets Everywhere
As brands, agencies and production companies produce more content than ever before, centralization is paramount. Then, teams can see exactly which assets are being used, by who, in what region, and for which media placements. Equally critical is the ability to precisely manage talent payments and rights usage across a fragmented media landscape.
The forces of fragmentation are very real — from media consumption to tech stacks to exploding demands on content creation. Spreadsheets, file folders, and the human brain can no longer handle the gargantuan task of creative asset management. A creative logistics approach is the antidote to fragmentation, aggregating teams across markets in a central hub to prepare assets and launch, monitor and optimize campaigns.
The ability to understand where brand content plays across every screen and geography is no longer a nice-to-have. The talent payment and rights management discipline now confronts an untethered, global media landscape. Today, marketers spend an estimated $75 million annually on rights-associated penalties for late payments and unanticipated or unauthorized use. And penalties associated with just one celebrity misuse can easily go into seven figures.
Transformation of “TV”
To move as fast as media consumption shifts, every path to linear and non-linear destinations must be integrated in one platform to enable optimization across all the ways consumers see brand stories. To be clear, this means that linear TV delivery must be integrated seamlessly with video ad serving.
With a single, end-to-end creative-to-media supply chain with every path in for assets and every path out to any destination, teams can optimize and shift rapidly in response to consumer behavior across the entire TV, CTV, OTT, addressable, mobile, desktop and video-on-demand landscape.
Despite heroic work to plan and buy media the way consumers see it — as one sea of on-demand TV and video content everywhere— marketers have yet to truly enable optimization across that unified view. The industry is largely holding tight to the old way of seeing TV delivery and ad serving as separate point solutions. At the core, these are simply two highly specialized and distinct delivery paths that each need the creative in precise forms.
One Creative-to-Media Supply Chain Reveals Holistic Insight
A logistics platform unites the many teams and steps required to prepare and marry the creative with the media placements to activate omnichannel campaigns. Like any logistics solution, this significantly increases speed, efficiency, and accuracy while returning revealing insights as a function of the very process itself.
Connecting all the dots with 100 percent visibility means marketers and their partners see more and know more than ever before. For example, a creative logistics approach puts this kind of insight front and center:
- Which creative assets are being used, where, when, and by whom
- Which assets aren’t being used
- How local markets are adapting the core creative assets
- Which creative is performing well but nearing talent & rights expiration
- Which creative shows the best performance across each type of media
- What is the true return on production investment
As marketers brace for a marketing future that is sure to be ever-changing and increasingly complex, enabling these kinds of insights is imperative and completely possible with a shift to a central logistics model.
The house that this industry builds every day is a marvel of innovation and promise. In one fell swoop of activation centralization, marketers can shore up their foundation to weather constant change and stand ready for a future in which their brand flourishes.