News | Distribution | Technology | OnlineCracking the code for programmaticThis article was originally published onBy Viewpoints | July 4, 2016 Programmatic technology allows marketers to efficiently bid and place ads using data, enabling them to reach consumers with targeted messaging, on the right device, at the optimum moment of engagement.NB: This is a viewpoint by Michael Baumgaertner, vice president of trading and media EMEA at Accordant Media.It has evolved to become an all-encompassing marketing strategy with potential for use across the entire media and marketing mix.With technology playing an ever-increasing role in the way consumers plan and book holidays – extending and complicating the customer journey significantly – programmatic should be a staple of travel marketing, but brands are a long way from channeling its true potential.Travel marketers focus heavily on direct response campaigns, but they will benefit from broadening their programmatic strategies to make their advertising investments work harder.So why is programmatic particularly suited to travel brands and what should marketers be focussing on when integrating it into their strategies?Finding the right audienceProgrammatic is centred around finding and reaching the right audience for targeted messaging, rather than using websites or ad placements as a proxy.Travel brands have access to rich first-party customer data from multiple sources including ecommerce, site visitor, CRM, and loyalty scheme data. They can use a wide range of data points including destinations, trip purposes, holiday activities, accommodation types, travel companions, and booking and payment methods – alongside demographic data – to gain a deep understanding of their customers’ travel preferences.This insight can be used to build detailed audience segments for highly specific programmatic targeting so messaging gets to the right place – increasing marketing efficiency.Identifying the perfect momentThe ability to understand the context of the consumer and what stage they are at is vital for travel marketers. Knowing whether an individual is considering, planning, booking, experiencing, or sharing a trip allows travel brands to deliver relevant, timely messaging that will resonate with the user.Using an ever-growing assortment of digital devices, consumers can make travel arrangements in any location – from their beds to their desks and everywhere in between. Over half (52%) of travellers say smartphones make them more spontaneous with their plans.Travellers are leaving hotel reservations until the very last moment, for example, with 10% even making a booking while stood in front of the hotel itself.This trend amplifies the importance of reaching the consumer at the optimum moment, via the right device, with messaging that suits their position on the path to purchase – a key benefit of programmatic.Three steps to programmatic successWhen adopting programmatic as an integral part of their marketing strategy, there are three key steps travel marketers must take: Before setting off on their programmatic adventure, travel brands should organise their first-party data sources to allow better programmatic optimisation. Data management platforms (DMPs) allow marketers to bring together and integrate multiple sources of audience data to provide the greatest level of customer insight.Next, marketers will benefit from engaging with media partners such as Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to ensure a multichannel cross-platform approach, and to establish specific business goals – including both branding and direct response objectives – that can be used for campaign optimisation.Performance should be measured through advanced attribution methodologies – to understand which marketing tactics are most effective and the impact of activities in one channel on the rest of the marketing mix. These actionable performance insights can be used to create a closed loop – informing media buying decisions in real time. Programmatic is an exciting destination for travel brands – allowing them to reach the right customer, at the right time, with relevant messaging. To enjoy it’s full potential, travel brands must take a long-term approach to programmatic technology and make it an integral part of their marketing strategy. So what are you waiting for?Take a direct flight, and don’t risk missed connections between your DMP, DSP and analytics solutions.NB: This is a viewpoint by Michael Baumgaertner, vice president of trading and media EMEA at Accordant Media.NB2:Image by Dolgachov/BigStock.