Gavin P. Smith (MBA, MGM) is an experienced international media consultant, serial entrepreneur and founder of Gavin Consulting who has had a prolific career touching upon many aspects of digital marketing from Web design and e-commerce to SEO, display ads and social media strategy.
He not only advances countless marketing strategies, but also uses his skills for the benefit of America’s veterans.
After losing his father in 2008 to acute leukemia, Gavin learned that the water at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in Jacksonville, North Carolina was contaminated with benzene and other dangerous toxins that led to the premature death of his father and other veterans, spouses, children and civilian DOD personnel through decades of exposure.
Soon after this discovery, Gavin created Civilian Exposure, a nonprofit organization targeted toward bringing awareness to Camp Lejeune victims and educating all who were exposed so that they could find proper help and guidance. He also became a member of the CDC/ATSDR Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel, where he collaborates with various government agencies to promote continuing scientific studies, research and corrective measures for civilian employees and military personnel at the base.
With over 100 other military bases currently on the EPA Superfund Site list, Gavin’s ultimate goal is to help members of all U.S. bases receive the resources they need to cope with the effects of their exposure. He invites you to reach out to him if you share his mission of healing and helping America’s civilian DOD workers and veterans.
Given his extensive and multifaceted experiences, we were very interested in hearing his opinions on programmatic advertising. So, he took the time to share some of his thoughts with us:
Programmatic Advertising.org: Thanks for your time, Gavin! In your opinion, how is programmatic advertising – the growing prevalence of marketing automation, data mining and the cloud – changing the world?
Gavin Smith: We now have a tremendous abundance of data at our disposal, and we need to be able to analyze and make sense of it. It is very hard for one person to do this without help. I believe that as marketers, we need to see the forest for the trees and utilize the mounds of data we have to understand and create the big picture. If we don’t, we are missing some revelations in the data that are right in front of us.
Programmatic Advertising.org: What systems and ways of thinking do you think are being completely disrupted by the emergence of programmatic buying and digital advertising in general?
Gavin Smith: Now, it’s like we have a new data-driven guerilla marketing warfare at our fingertips. You can do competitor analysis and, with that data, use programmatic buying to target that competitor wherever they are and whoever they are – in social media discussions, Web page blogs, news articles – all by having the right digital ad buys to “be there” in real time.
Programmatic Advertising.org: How is this affecting our culture? And – is this for better or worse?
Gavin Smith: Programmatic is increasing competitiveness and causing marketing, which usually is an afterthought for many companies, to become front and center, instantaneous and rapidly expansive. Analysts are needed now more than ever as we become more data-driven. Data needs to be sifted through and understood, and all of the insights need to be utilized to reach the customer. Unfortunately for us, as consumers, our culture is changing to where ads are now in our face everywhere, no matter what. It potentially creates clutter that can inhibit our overall user experience. If not used carefully, programmatic ads can backfire.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Wearable tech is really starting to take off this year – we’re seeing everything from iWatch hype to mood-changing clothing, activity monitors and beyond. Do you have any favorites?
Gavin Smith: I really like the wearable mesh and/or Wi-Fi networking materials that are being incorporated into clothing and other objects in general. This will dramatically increase hotspot connectivity and access. Plus, self-monitoring wearable tech in the health space is already becoming a leading game-changer. Cisco had a great blog post on this topic.
I was privileged to be a participant at the annual Future in Review Conference last year where I met Dr. Leroy Hood, one of the leading scientists involved in systems biology, P4 medicine, a variety of biotech start-ups and notably the Human Genome Project. His keynote presentation, which created quite a bit of buzz, discussed the rapidly growing movement called the “Quantified Self”. This movement focuses on how technology is meeting with the demand of those who wish to self-monitor and use wearable tech to make data-driven decisions to improve their own daily health. This represents yet another opportunity to exploit direct-to-consumer, real-time targeting when the consumer wants it. This will produce even more data generation, and we’re going to have to sift through that data and consumer feedback in real time. I’m sure marketers out there are already salivating at the thought of this, plus “Internet of Things” and other vectors to the consumer for even more personalized, direct marketing messaging. It’s fascinating stuff.
Programmatic Advertising.org: What excites you about the future of digital advertising? What are you looking forward to?
Gavin Smith: I get excited about the convergence of all forms of media and technologies that continue to expand ways to reach the end consumer. It creates a whole new set of issues around how to tie all of this technology and marketing together effectively, such as how to interpret all of the data coming in from all of these data points. It’s not just radio, TV, billboards and email marketing anymore. It’s about getting to the consumer through every conceivable channel and vector path that we can create to help enhance their lives.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Let’s play devil’s advocate – what are some of your concerns about the future of digital advertising?
Gavin Smith: Burnout is always a consideration. At what point do some of these digital advertising methods wear out their use? For example, customers can only take so much email marketing before they get tired of it. The same holds true with social media. In the lifecycle of products and platforms in general, there is a period each in novelty, growth, peak and decline. We see it all the time with platforms that come and go. Traditional radio has been fighting decline with the advent of satellite, streaming and mobile apps for music delivery. Traditional TV is having to fight to stay relevant when today people can get their shows through streaming, direct to consumer, individual channels, apps and other outlets.
Programmatic Advertising.org: Thanks so much for your time Gavin!