AUSTIN, TX: Ad blocking should encourage brand custodians to be "better marketers" by more deeply understanding their audience and refining current strategies, according to a leading executive from Dish Network.

Marjorie Gray, Digital Brand Manager at Dish, the satellite-service provider, discussed the rise of tools that let users exclude ads from the online experience at MediaPost's OMMA Conference, held during South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016.

"It's really just forcing us to be better marketers and trying to understand where and how we're reaching the customer – and making sure that it's relevant to what they are looking for and they want," she said. (For more, including further tips for tackling this problem, read Warc's exclusive report: How Dish Network stays ahead of ad blocking.)

Dish has a unique perspective on this phenomenon, as it is frequently leverages digital ads to drive traffic and leads, while simultaneously allowing consumers who own its DVR boxes to skip commercials.

And Gray suggested that the industry as a whole needs to assess precisely why people are so enamoured with avoiding brand messages.

"I think, as a brand marketer, it's partly our fault that we're in this situation," she said. "We've always operated under this idea that if you just keep cramming ads at people, eventually they will convert, and buy, and purchase.

"Marketing has to evolve; it's not just giving everyone the same ad and thinking that it's going to work. So, again, it's finding that cadence and that mix. It's not just online advertising, but how else can we reach them?"

Dish is more fortunate than many organisations in one sense, as millennials – a cohort that dominates the ad blocking user base – are not its primary target demographic.

But the Englewood, Colorado-based company is eager to get out ahead of a potential future problem, and understand the longer-term implications for its business.

Among the areas it is currently exploring are more "organic" opportunities like native and in-app advertising, as well as deeper targeting and personalisation, and ensuring its marketing remains truly consistent across channels.

"For us, specifically, this year, we're focusing more on targeting and understanding who our customer is, and [who] the profitable customer is," said Gray.

Data sourced from Warc