At Cannes Lions this year there was a sense of creativity under threat with tech talk dominating the agenda from VR and AI to IoT and drones.  But technology is the medium not the message and marketers will not go the way of chimney sweeps and UK MEPs just yet.

With so many customer touchpoints it’s too easy for a great campaign to go unseen.  Buzzsumo claims that three quarters of content doesn’t get viewed or shared, is that the fault of the machines or the humans?

Touchpoint optimisation

From the doormat drop to the brand in the hand physical experience, POS, outdoor, mobile platform and the new wave of messaging apps such as Snapchat and Firechat the ecosystem of platforms and tools, or touchpoints has grown exponentially, which requires a new way of planning and targeting.

To get the chemistry right requires a deeper understanding of the business goals and consumer touchpoints than most agencies dive into, whereas many brands fail to combine media platforms and strategy into the heart of a campaign.

So how do you plan for touchpoint optimisation?  We think it’s a mindset rather than a science, a technique that marries creative, data and technology.

  1. The obvious, but often overlooked in favour of a big idea or tactic, is to identify a client’s business challenge and wrap it with a team that understands the issues.
  2. Understand the real brand story.  This isn’t what the brand says about itself but what loyal customers say about it.  Any deviation from the simple truth will alter the tone of voice and alienate the core.
  3.  Map out all of the brand's potential media channels from social to staff, unearth the influencers and establish why that channel should be used.
    We’re getting somewhere, we have a true picture of the brand’s vision and the audience that relates to it.  Data and insight got us to this point.
  4. Now let’s get creative, not tactical. How can the vision and story play out across the owned and non owned channels.  Work creatively back from the influencers - command and control creative won’t work.  Be relevant and micro tailor the message if necessary.
  5.  Review all the touchpoints and plug the gaps.  Ensure that content is tailored for each channel and that the platforms are integrated.  Then split test the creative and invest in the best performing.
  6. Try something new. It’s what keeps us ahead of the competition. Mix in new platforms as part of the solution. Innovation is often one of the top three core values cited by most companies, but can they substantiate that claim? Most can’t.
  7. Community management. We live in an age when ad platforms emerge and grow faster than clients can keep up.  Badly targeted advertising - or badvertising - is a threat and consumers can troll ads, so effective monitoring and coordination between teams is vital.
  8.  Real time evaluation.  Social is now and next, so take advantage of live campaign performance data. If one variation of a post is receiving more clicks, likes or shares then flex the budget.

Touchpoint optimised campaigns are highly-tuned engines and, as any good mechanic will tell you, just by listening one can get a feel for future performance.  If something doesn’t sound right then review the data.  If the problem persists then innovate and create a solution.

Put it into practice

Design-led headphones brand Urbanears recently epitomised this approach with the Limited Sweat campaign for its Hella range.  The work saw special-edition headphones put up for sale drenched in the sweat of inspiring influencers from dance, fashion, music and sport.

Content was tailored for each tastemaker’s audience and their own personal ecosystem was mapped out.  The influencers became the media and the brand’s touchpoints became their touchpoints, the audience was in control but the brand was aware of every action.

Wybrowa Vodka’s Pathbreaker app is a similar story. Vlogger Jon Paul Piques was drafted to test the app and create a film in his style.  Views topped half a million within days without any ad budget.

For Urbanears we asked ourselves why should we use this platform and what is its purpose.  This insight led to the integration of touchpoints creative outcomes.

It's time for the creative industry to fight back and show how data and insight can complement creativity, not terminate it. This is what will differentiate the brands of the future to those that rely on backwards looking data to steer their campaigns.

- Ann Ystén, CEO