Jump into the hot tub time machine and travel back to an era when another Clinton had their eye on the White House. The line that defined the campaign for Bill Clinton was “It’s the economy, stupid.” Let’s riff on that a bit today “It’s content, stupid.” Within the ad economy the conversation has turned very rapidly to the rise of the machine and programmatic buying. This is a healthy conversation as for a certain part of the marketing spectrum inefficiency is being wrung out of the system – and marketers are able to capitalize on the full potential (efficient reach and frequency) of the digital medium. That said, programmatic cannot support all marketers goals. Yes brand dollars will flow to programmatic – but brand dollars are not going to be cut off from more integrated, cross-screen digital executions.

So back to “It’s content, stupid.” Maximizing reach and frequency are very top of the marketing funnel strategies that build awareness – however to bring a brand into a consumer’s consideration set, a brand has to deliver a much different “advertising” experience. This is where content comes to play. Brands have a lot of content, and the Internet has a lot of content – and both are constantly creating and flowing content into the system. The beauty of the system is the simple fact that it encourages and entices sharing of content. Savvy brands are pushing their content out and pulling complementary content in – no walls. By pushing content out through content distribution ad units, influencer programs and social media channels, brands are broadening the exposure of their assets to a much wider audience – and starting and building conversations with consumers. That is one step in how a brand moves from awareness to consideration.