TechBytes with Klarn DePalma, Executive Vice President, MNI Targeted Media

Klarn DePalma

Klarn DePalma
Executive Vice President, MNI Targeted Media

Content is the pillar of any marketing campaign. With changing trends in internet and online marketing, content marketing has undergone a massive flux. There is no clear definition of what state content automation would be in 2020. However, the stage is set for tech companies providing audience segmentation and programmatic targeting-based advertising platforms. MNI Targeted Media is leading the pack with data-driven results that help content publishers and advertisers design and execute a custom plan that reaches valuable customers at the right time on the right device.

To better understand the state of Content Marketing Automation” technology in 2018 and marketing strategies to enhance your brand visibility, we spoke to MNI’s Executive Vice President, Klarn DePalma.

Tell us about your role at MNI Targeted Media Inc. and the team and technology that you handle.

MNI Targeted Media Inc. does it all, with one goal in mind: to make businesses succeed. We act as a media planning and buying agency, using our own proprietary technologies and products to create digital and print strategies that put our clients’ messages in front of the audiences they’re looking to reach. As leader of the entire team here, I see my role pretty simply, all with the goal of doing what’s best for our clients and customers: I look to knock down any barriers and seek out the best products and services in the business, I endeavor to streamline our processes so that we maximize efficiencies and, of course, the strength of our team is of utmost importance – encouraging collaboration and cross-sharing makes for the best outcomes.

At MNI, how do you leverage technology to increase sales and revenue?

We use our proprietary tech stack, The Omnipoint System™, to identify client audiences with scientific precision. Our media experts analyze this data to deliver unique intelligence and efficiency that helps them deliver the optimal media plan. The Omnipoint System’s products include premium access to every type of digital advertising inventory—including programmatic, data solutions, local, social, network, email, search and more—plus geo-targeted print solutions.

What is the “State of Content Marketing Automation” technology in 2018?

Brands are embracing marketing automation as the technology becomes more sophisticated and it becomes more mainstream. And content, well, it doesn’t look like content marketing will slow down anytime soon. Content marketing has become paramount to lead generation and that is one of the top KPIs that our clients are looking for. This year, look out for social media automation that will make it much easier for marketers to engage their audiences on their favorite social platforms. Data will remain crucial, and marketers are keen on deeper analytics. They’ll get this by increasing the quality of the data they’re collecting. We’ve also seen AI driving the growth of marketing automation, and helping deliver the personalized content that consumers expect and respond to.

To what extent is this state influenced by the growing need to diversify audience segmentation and programmatic targeting-based advertising campaigns?

Since joining MNI, I’ve made a point of visiting all of our regional offices, which means that, aside from seeing a lot of the country, I’ve been listening. One thing that comes up consistently is that marketers want to know how best to form meaningful 1:1 relationships with their target audiences. They are looking for ways to foster the “customer loyalty” that drives repeat purchase while expanding their base. Driving loyalty while driving awareness – these are a couple of different objectives and one solution to both is using programmatic to reach the right person, with individually-relevant creative in the right moment and right place. If you are looking to reach millennials, for example, you will need them to experience your messaging in different places than you do if you are seeking boomers. Additionally, within each respective platform, creative really must be customized – one size does not fit all is certainly true in this instance. Often clients will shortcut this part and rely on one creative. Creative is not the place to cut corners because it puts the entire campaign at risk of not performing. Customizing creative is what programmatic based targeted advertising does best.

How closely do you monitor your social media following? What marketing strategies do you include to enhance your brand visibility?

Of course, we’re very aware of our social media following, and we work hard to provide content that our audience will find helpful and valuable. Our goal with our social platforms is to deliver information that makes it easier for our clients and prospects to do their jobs. That’s why we spend a lot of time and energy developing information and trend-driven, research-based pieces—including whitepapers, decks, infographics, and more—to empower audiences and our partners. We believe (much like the old Syms ad, for those of you old enough to remember) that an educated customer is our best client. With over 40 offices around the country, our sales team is our brand. They are typically the first live experience that a client will have with our brand and so each one of them is vital in enhancing and portraying our brand. There’s nothing more impactful from a brand perspective than a live interaction and we believe our local roots in cities around the country keep our brand alive and thriving.

What are your predictions on ad fraud management and brand safety standards? How could Programmatic Guaranteed marketplaces offer better performance to ad campaigns?

This is playing out right in front of our eyes every day. As fraud continues to be an issue across the digital landscape, people-based marketing remains front and center. Leveraging deterministic capabilities allows advertisers to speak directly to consumers rather than having to guess who a user might be. Additionally, any client running a campaign should fully understand what brand safety standards are in place for their campaign. At MNI, it’s automatic and since the first day we launched our DSP, we’ve had third party brand safety verification partners in place. Unfortunately, this is not true for all the players in the space, but I predict that customer demand and the industry will soon make this a legal requirement. As to whether Programmatic Guaranteed or Programmatic Direct offers better performance, the question really should be, relative to what?  If you are running a brand-safe programmatic campaign and getting great performance, getting inventory straight from a publisher may or may not deliver better results – it’s all in the details. However, if you are running a campaign and you are running on less-than-savory blog sites, for example, then it’s pretty certain that performance would be better. Every advertiser needs to look at their objectives and how they will measure success to determine how best to achieve their objectives. We spend a lot of time with our clients ensuring that what they ultimately need to achieve is what we build their campaigns against.

What are the key metrics in mobile advertising strategies that advertisers should focus in 2018? How does MNI deliver on these?

In mobile, you want to use the most effective technologies and solutions for intelligent predictive audience targeting. I’ve found that the best approach is one that uses targeting combined with legacy targeting methods like geo-targeting, behavioral targeting and retargeting with innumerable data points, to ensure superior precision and accuracy is the best way to find and deliver the desired audience at scale. The priorities of our MNI Mobile Network include: 1) Access to the target audience wherever they go, 2) pinpoint targeting by category, 3) eye-catching and memorable rich media creative and 4) proximity targeting tactics that drive foot traffic in store by effectively joining up the online and offline customer experience.

How do you leverage AI/Machine Learning at MNI? 

Historically, the advertising industry has been at the forefront of innovation. To understand how marketing and sales technologies would shape up in the future, just have a look at the ad tech ecosystem. From mitigating brand safety concerns to managing audience data for targeted advertising campaigns, ad tech has always delivered new innovations to make brands more visible, at better engagement rates.

AI and machine learning are already affecting the marketing technology landscape in ways that go beyond combating bot fraud. The Holy Grail of advertising is relevance at scale, and AI and machine learning look to be one way to get us there. As mentioned above, consumers are beginning to expect highly personalized messaging, especially in the sought-after millennial and Gen Z demos. AI and machine learning make such customization possible, and tailored campaigns are becoming the norm rather than the exception. And the opportunities for machine-driven optimization go well beyond audience targeting.

Thanks for chatting with us, Klarn.
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