MIAMI-Even as digital-based audience targeting techniques grow in the television medium, there still needs to be a balance between one-to-one marketing and broader advertising efforts.

“I think the two have to work together and you need to be careful that you don’t optimize toward specific audiences and optimize yourself out of business,” says Jason Harrison, President & Client Partner at GroupM’s Essence agency.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the 4A’s Accelerate conference, Harrison discusses the growing use of marketers’ first-party data and why it’s important to understand “the role of advertising” within the context of desired business outcomes.

“For certain advertisers right now, they really can’t live without first-party data,” Harrison says. He cites retailers “or somebody that’s really concerned with driving consumption, having that data available enables them to really tightly target those individuals that they have a reason to believe are going to be in their stores.”

Closed-loop attribution can then determine how many people who were exposed to particular ads actually visited stores.

Broad-based brand building via mass media is still relevant to young brands, according to Harrison. “Some advertisers aren’t known to customers. They need to become known so they drive a lot of brand advertising to create awareness. Once you’ve done that, then you can begin to move toward stuff that’s lower funnel, that is much more targeted.”

On the opposite end of the broad-brush approach, one-to-one TV targeting is limited by scale. “Addressable television is a great example. It’s highly effective. We know it works at driving specific kinds of actions but there’s a limit to how much of it you can do,” says Harrison.

The trick, he adds, “is in understanding what the balance is between the two and how much of one does one job versus another and that’s really where I think there’s been some evolution recently.”

He predicts TV will become “more and more targeted” and then questions the future of commercials as we now know them.

“Do they continue to be beautiful, brand-building, equity based messages or does television as a medium move more in the direction of driving promotional conversion? I think that will be very interesting to watch.”

Harrison says the mission of Essence is “to make advertising more valuable to the world by viewing it as something that creates value. It has created a lot of interesting dialogues with our clients about the nature of advertising and how we think about what advertising should be and what it could be.”

This video is part of a series titled The Road to the Digital Content NewFronts. It is a preview of topics to be explored at IAB’s NewFronts, which begin on April 30. This series is presented by Meredith Corporation. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.