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Ad execs seek right balance of technology, creative strategy

By Doug Storum

BOULDER — Experts in the advertising industry say that changes in how people want to receive information and a trend of shorter attention spans are forcing public-relations and marketing agencies to retool their skill sets with a heavy dose of technology to help their clients. Leaders of agencies in the Boulder Valley participating in BizWest’s CEO Roundtable on advertising all agreed that technology has created the ability to target specific audiences with lightning speed, but often, an overall long-term strategy to develop a brand is lost. A big challenge facing agencies is keeping up with the constantly changing technology that allows advertisers to reach consumers online with ads that are tailor-made to a consumer’s preferences based on their demographics and online behavioral patterns. This shift is causing agencies to rebalance their efforts by allocating more resources to the technology of today and spending less time on the creative aspects of developing campaigns. Evan Faber, vice president of strategy at Moxie Sozo in Boulder, said the field has become very data-driven, making it technology-heavy and the know-how behind it a necessity. Laura Steele, director of business operations for Voltage Advertising in Louisville, said the firm used to spend 75 percent of its resources on creative messaging efforts, but that has decreased to 40 percent, while technology consumes the remaining 60 percent. “We have to stay on top of technology, but we want to make our services about strategy and value-pricing,” Steele said. “We are using creative to gain a client’s trust, and once we get that, we help them solve technological problems when they want to use such things as apps and funding platforms. … we’ve got to be able to do that.” Bob Morehouse, chief executive of Vermilion in Boulder, said many people think they can handle their PR and marketing themselves because of all the various platforms available, most prolific among them, Facebook and Instagram. “Many people are operating under the veneer of ‘I can figure this out myself,’ ”Morehouse said. “But, what they can’t do using this fragmented method bouncing from thing to thing is tell a whole story about themselves and their products.” Newspapers, once a lock to reach everyone through advertising on there pages, are dwindling as they struggle to maintain their print publications in the wake of myriad free online news and entertainment sources. “Technology is causing us to lose our mass reach,” said Trish Thomas, chief executive of Teem in Boulder. “It’s also causing us to lose investigative journalism, and that’s frightening.” Consumers’ behavior has altered how advertisers approach their work. “They (consumers) want short bursts of information, and their attention spans are shorter than they used to be,” said Lori Jones, chief executive of Avocet Communications in Longmont. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have nurtured the changes. Matt Bennett, vice president of Echos Communications, a public-relations and brand-building firm in Boulder, said one of the best mediums for telling stories to build brands is the magazine, with its ability to create compelling layouts with […]

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Source:: BizWest

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