Like everything else in the digital age, advertising has had to get smart to thrive.
For Myles Peacock, chief executive officer of ad firm CreativeDrive, that means figuring out how to help brands do more with less and how to start off with the end in mind.
The New York-based company, which operates as a kind of one-stop shop outside the traditional agency construct, makes sure the content it makes can be used across social and other platforms and that it’s thoroughly tagged, so individual elements of a shot or video can be used to target specific shoppers.
“With modern-day technology, clients need to react at the speed of the consumer, which is instant,” Peacock said. “I need to create and I need to react in real time.”
“Silos have to be broken down because you’ve got to get faster to market,” he said. “If I’m going to invest in a piece of content, I’m going to need that content to be smart so it can be used more effectively across channels. A client’s marketing budget has changed. If anything it’s shrunk.”
CreativeDrives works with a host of big brands — including Kate Spade, Columbia Sportswear, Michael Kors, Ulta Beauty, Nike, Coach, Target and Walmart — and serves up an endless stream of content with 150 studios that churn out a steady stream of images and videos, feeding Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, brands’ own web sites and more.
But marketing budgets that stood at $1 billion a decade ago are down to $800 million or lower, even though brands are pushing more content than ever, Peacock said.
The secret to making that content equation work is to focus on relevancy.
“The challenge [for brands] has been — and it still is — that I’ve got so much less money and I’ve got all these media channels that I can’t actually cookie-cutter media into. It actually needs to turn up there with relevancy and meaningful intent that’s actually going to connect with intention to the consumer,” he said. “That’s been the tremendous shift of our engagement and the way we position ourselves is that brand-awareness and commerce and the intersection of both of those.”
CreativeDrive’s goal is to have every image drive action, and although every ad or page isn’t necessarily a sales pitch, everything is intended to push the audience toward becoming a customer.
But to do that requires more savvy than in years past.
Ads aren’t reaching out from a magazine speaking to a broad set of customers anymore. The game today is to cater to a very specific shopper, for instance, Millennial women in a Manhattan zip code who have been searching for new dresses in the past week.
“There’s algorithms, there’s cookies, there’s all of this data that enables Google and Amazon to be very targeted about their content they create for you,” Peacock said. “That will accelerate dramatically. Based on your geography, based on your buying trends, based on everything else, it’s going to get better and better.
“The issue is to interconnect with that content, because actually creating that superhighway of information to you with your persona associated to it is actually the easy part,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of companies — I can think of 10 — that do that. But they all have to point to a piece of content that’s going to be reconstructed for you.”
So to capture that Manhattan Millennial and serve her just the right dress ad — with a look at the right price point, shown in an urban setting, for instance — CreativeDrive meta tags everything from the start across a number of different categories.
For brands, Peacock said: “Every one of those pieces of content has to have a meta tag associated with it that can be re-stitched and recompiled on the fly to then engage with you. That’s why we class it as smart content, content that can actually live and breath in different environments in an unassembled and reassembled way.”