It’s starting to heat up now! There’s only one week to go until the Guardian Changing Media Summit in London – which means we have reached number #2 in the countdown of our top ten talks from last year. Each week we have brought you video clips of our favourite talks from last year with a little commentary from the team. Without further ado therefore, we bring you our Guardian talk #2…



Aaron’s take on this talk


“Recent technology has undeniably changed the world that we live in. From the way we talk to our friends and family to how we get our “big shop”, it is impossible to deny that digital (or digitisation) has had a huge influence on our day-to-day lives.


Marketing and advertising is no stranger to this change. Now that we can no longer rely on consumers to watch the traditional TV channels, to fork out on printed newspapers or magazines, or to behave [in any way] like consumers used to behave – there really has needed to be a seismic shift in approach to the way in which we market and advertise goods and services. Many have described this change in relation to a “death” of, not only traditional forms of media, but also of a previous identity (and specifically a more human one) that has somehow been lost through the influx of automation and of digital media in general.


As the panel point out in this talk however, while technology has completely changed – and is changing – the way we approach marketing, it is ineffective when it is not combined with human intelligence and creativity. As I explained in relation to the talk on digital media, privacy and consumer trust, used properly (with an open and honest approach as well as a genuine care for the rights and privacy of the consumer) the new technologies available to brands and marketers can achieve great things. 


Far from being impersonal and disconnected digital media can help brands and marketers get closer to the things that consumers really care about, while also communicating with these consumers more effectively and arguably more personably than ever before.”


Aaron McManamon, Media Planner and Buyer at Hello Starling


What is programmatic buying?


Programmatic buying is mentioned throughout this talk, but what is it, and how is it relevant?


Programmatic buying automates the decision-making process in advertising. It mines huge amounts of data in real-time in order to segment people into more relevant categories. This means a better experience for the advertiser – as the more sophisticated the technology the better able it is to find the most relevant audience for the least price – but also means a better experience for the user, as they will be less likely to be served an advertisement that does not hold any real relevance to them.


It is this kind of technology – that the members of the panel explain they are (unsurprisingly) investing in heavily – that brings the assumption of a less personal or human kind of communication. Now that the buying process is decided by a machine (or robots), it is considered to have lost the human element that makes it special, or that it gives it a distinctive character. The creativity is seen to have been drained from the process.


As the panel point out however, while programmatic enables the most efficient and cost-effective distribution, it needs to be combined with the human intelligence to give context to the message that is distributed. The best marketers and the best brands will be the ones that recognise and keep questioning the importance and value of both the human and automated elements involved in the process of advertising.


Our media planning and buying team are experts at making sense of data and really making the most out of that data for our clients. To see how we can help you reach and impress the right people, get in touch today!


By Team HS