How Lamar Advertising Used Tech to Improve Customer Experience at a Legacy Agency

Sarah Steimer
AMA Collegiate
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Key Takeaways

What? Technology has helped consumers avoid advertisements, but technology can be used to connect buyers with products.

So what? Connected devices allow for companies to use customer or location data to speak with consumers.

Now what? Marketers should consider nonobvious links between connected devices and speaking directly to what the consumer is doing and using.

​March 18, 2017

Lamar Advertising has been around for 115 years, but it tries to look toward the future, not the past.

“Constantly evolving over time is key for us,” says Ian Dallimore, director of innovation and digital strategy at Lamar Advertising. “The way things are when you arrive in the business world isn’t the way it needs to be forever.”

Dallimore gave a history of how his own company has innovated in recent years. For example, Lamar streamed its first tweet in 2009, its first mobile and out-of-home campaign in 2013, its first multi-data digital campaign in 2016 and its first vehicle recognition technology campaign in 2016.

The multi-data digital campaign is one example of bringing together a variety of data to target ads for consumers. The company used weather data from Weather Channel and other locally focused information to personalize music recommendations from Google Play on billboards.

“We are constantly questioning ourselves,” Dallimore says.

Lamar has ended up with partnerships with data companies and tech companies that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have anything to do with the core company. These are the next steps in innovation, Dallimore says.

He gave the example of Adidas, which integrated technology into its shoes so that a related app may provide feedback to the customer. If a runner wears Adidas shoes, the app can track how many miles they’ve logged and when to trigger an ad for a new pair of shoes.

This is the way marketing is moving, Dallimore says. The focus is no longer on bold, still images or words; there needs to be an integration with technology. When his company had done studies of upcoming generations, they found children aren’t drawn to the most eye-popping, static images. They are drawn to the interactive items. Rather than being scared, Lamar aims to look at how they can partner with tech companies.

He says marketers should consider how to connect with consumers’ connected devices, then how they can talk to the devices and change content in real time.

“I can promise you this: 10 years from now when you’re at my level, this is going to be second nature for you,” Dallimore told the collegiate audience. “Question things, figure out where technology can play in. Don’t look at the obvious. Look at the places where you would never expect that this can connect with that. It’s about making the consumer’s experience better.”


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Sarah Steimer
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