Mike Miller was a digital strategist at moddern marketing who literally dreams in digital.
He’s a jack-of-all-trades: brand strategy, digital advertising, SEO, SEM, social media marketing and a master as well. Mike recently graduated from New York University with his Master of Science in integrated marketing.
PA.O: In your opinion, how is programmatic advertising shaking up the world of advertising?
Mike Miller: Programmatic advertising is making the rate at which we do things faster. By combining marketing automation, big data and mobile, we can contact people where they are with an offer they’re interested in at the exact moment they need it.
PA.O: That’s an interesting way to put it. Marketing – discovery, targeting, messaging, delivery – all made faster. What systems and mindsets is programmatic buying disrupting?
Mike Miller: I think the traditional model of buying advertising by impressions is dying. We can now buy advertising by the screen (computer, phone or tablet). This gives a huge advantage to digital media. It will be hard for print to deliver advertising efficiently anymore. It will cost publishers much less to produce and distribute everything digitally and get the biggest returns on advertisements [with] a programmatic system.
PA.O: As you put it, it seems that programmatic is like the last nail in traditional print media’s proverbial coffin. How is the decline of print media and the rise of programmatic affecting our culture of information consumption?
Mike Miller: [Now] everyone has a voice, and everything is open to opinion. We used to just sit and absorb; now we can influence what becomes news ourselves. [Now] after we’re done reading, we can share content with a large number of people and add in our two cents.
PA.O: What’s the “trendy thing” that all the kids in advertising are doing these days? Do you think it is the best way to communicate with audiences?
Mike Miller: Small brands think they need to be on TV (like the big brands) when their money would be best spent in digital. There are a lot of brands doing things because they just think they should.
Every day there is a new “best practices” article for some new type of marketing. While these can be effective in general, they may not work for your company. So many industries are being fragmented; almost everything has a niche. This is where programmatic can be extremely effective. It helps find what your audience may be, even if you think it’s something totally different. Companies and brands need to find what their niche is and market the best way [that fits that audience].
PA.O: Can you tell us about any campaigns that you really loved or really hated? Tell us why they caught your attention.
Mike Miller: Advertising [targeted toward] advertisers in apps, like Clash of Clans and Bubble Witch Saga, get me. They make money from ad impressions within the mobile apps. They’re making enough to buy TV advertisements – commercials alongside Call of Duty ads. These ads are driving [advertiser’s] attention away from the TV toward a mobile device.
PA.O: Do you have any favorite wearable gear – with programmatic advertising in mind? Do you think we are going to see any ad development in that space?
Mike Miller: There’s hardly a better way to get someone’s attention than to grab his or her wrist. The iWatch is a device that has people excited, and as a marketer, that’s a tool we can use. We can send a vibrating message to someone’s wrist. He or she is going for a run and gets close to a drug store? Remind him or her to stop for a bottle of water. Impulse buying is a quick way to make a consumer. We can trigger these impulses better than ever.
PA.O: Pull out your crystal ball – what do you foresee as the future of advertising? What excites you about it?
Mike Miller: In the future, I see us being able to deliver messaging so relevant to the time and location of a consumer that they will almost welcome it. For example, there is a guy standing on the corner handing out coupons for 10 percent off a sandwich at lunchtime. Occasionally, I grab a sandwich. What if he starts to only stand there when he knows I am coming? That’s where we are going. With data and digital, consumers and marketers will [soon] come together at the precise time it benefits both parties.
PA.O: Mike, what are some of your biggest concerns about the future of digital advertising?
Mike Miller: My biggest concern is how immune we’re becoming to advertising. We can spot it almost anywhere and block it out subconsciously. We see thousands of advertising messages a day, and most just pass by without even phasing us. Then, we develop a new way to advertise. This cycle [might] continue until we’re numb to almost any message.
What if we can’t enjoy anything we create anymore? Everything we come to enjoy is eventually ruined by advertisements. Take a look at the comments on a sponsored Instagram post. Now imagine what it would be like if 50 percent of the feed were posts you didn’t ask to see.
PA.O: So, let’s take a glance at the cover of Advertising Age 50 years from now. What would the headline be? What do you think the ad industry might be like?
Mike Miller: Will there still be a cover in 50 years? The headline will be dynamic. You won’t see the same headline I see. It will change based on what’s happening around me, the content I’ve consumed and the mood I’m in. I can see headlines about brainwaves and how to trigger them through advertising. Marketing will come dangerously close to neurology – targeting the parts of the brain that control emotions – because we don’t buy things because we need them; we buy things because they make us feel good.
PA.O: How do you see programmatic benefiting creative?
Mike Miller: Capital One tests creative [with] many different direct mail campaigns, measuring the response for each test and then optimizing the final mail to be sent to the masses. This [testing process] will happen in an instant with programmatic. We’ll be able to optimize and test a large number of creative components on a large population in the time it takes your browser to load the page.