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WHAT THE INTERSECTION OF AD TECH AND MAR TECH COULD MEAN FOR YOU: Ahead of Dmexco, Adweek led a Slack chat with four industry leaders about one of this year's hot topics.

According to the Latest Gartner CMO Spend Survey, companies are spending nearly one-third (29%) of their marketing budgets on mar tech--p from 22% in 2017--with 9% of participating CMOs claiming that "marketing innovation" will be a key part of their practice in 2019.

If the numbers suggest a shift toward a more data-led practice, Ewan McIntyre, vp, analyst, Gartner for Marketers and the report's co-author, thinks it's about time. He says the findings also show that marketers still predominantly focus on metrics that hold little meaning outside of their own departments.

For instance, only 16% of those surveyed cited "customer acquisition" (via paid-for media) as a top-three capability. McIntyre says marketers should start to lean in on KPIs that demonstrate real value to their wider enterprises.

In doing so, CMOs will foster a greater internal appreciation for the value of marketing efforts and investment, and a greater understanding that using ad tech to acquire new customers is the key to demonstrating such ROI.

Simply put, all customer experience (CX) programs must create business value, which is gained through acquiring and retaining profitable customers, argues McIntyre. Achieving that value requires better synchronization of ad tech and mar tech. Knowing how to successfully synthesize the two will prove a valuable skill for marketers looking to further their careers.

Ahead of this year's Dmexco (short for Digital Marketing Expo and Conference) in Cologne, Germany, Adweek held an online panel conversation via Slack with four experts in the field to gauge their insights on how the intersection of ad tech and mar tech plays out. (The following transcript has been edited for brevity and narrative flow.)

ADWEEK The intersection of ad tech and mar tech has been much debated recently. Can you offer your assessment as to what this actually means? For instance, what will the tangible benefits for marketers be? Less wastage on media spend, etc.?

DES CAHILL Technically, it's the capability to manage customer and prospect identity and data across the journey.... Marketers can benefit by personalizing to the customer from unknown to known--across customer journey/lifecycle. More personalization equals more conversion.

BOBBY JANIA The continued merger of ad tech and mar tech represents a desire on the part of marketers to unify their strategies across all customer touch points and deliver personalized engagement. Marketers continuously tell us they want to consolidate the view they have of their customers and be able to act on immediate insights across multiple channels, including digital advertising.

CAHILL I think Bobby's point on "act on immediate insights" is a key thing. Also, the ability to act across channels with the same insights.

ARUN KUMAR One of the tangible benefits of a fully connected data technology and services solution is that it can constantly optimize consumer engagement and media spend for marketers. We see this when our clients take advantage of our integrated stack and publisher marketplace as a singular solution.

ADWEEK @Arun Kumar, can you explain how the integration of Acxiom is helping marketers to get better efficiency out of their media budgets with you?

KUMAR Like some have said before, it helps us bring the known and the unknown worlds together. For example, we have an automobile client who spends budgets on both advertising and incentives.... The two were never connected. Why would you bombard a person who is a lifetime buyer of your product repeatedly instead of going after growth and new customers? This results in massive efficiencies but also a better experience for customers and better conversion for clients. Ultimately, suppression in media is hugely important.

ADWEEK @Suzanne O'Kelley, your outfit [Xandr] is in the process of putting together what some might call a "unique offering" in this respect. Do you care to offer more on how the integration of the AppNexus ad tech assets is progressing the Xandr offering?

SUZANNE O'KELLEY Regardless of the technology they're using, marketers are continuously looking for opportunities to better understand their customers' needs.... Mar tech platforms generally provide visibility for a marketer's engagements with their customers across a swath of touch points, and may enable engagement in certain areas--say, blogging or email marketing.

Ad tech platforms have typically been more limited to helping marketers engage with customers through ads, and with the work we're doing on the Xandr Invest platform, we're looking to blur those lines.

[At Xandr], we're working on pulling together all the insights we have access to across a broad swath of AT&T and other touch points to help marketers improve their engagements with their customers, similar to the stories @Arun Kumar referenced above [through new ad formats].

ADWEEK In my research for this conversation, I came across an analyst presentation that asserts that this convergence has to happen because the "ad tech/mar tech ecosystem is broken"--their theory being that there are fundamental cultural differences between the pair. For instance: ad tech is focused on a media model; mar tech has a customer-centric model. Some would even argue there are fundamental cultural differences between both constituencies.

CAHILL Agree on the cultural differences between ad tech and mar tech on the practitioner side and the vendor side as well. But... customers are customers, and I am unhappy that I am still being retargeted four months after buying a new car. How many times do they want me to buy it?

It's all about creating a central customer profile... and bringing those together via DMP and ID Graph integration. We think of this [Oracle's suite of tools] as a customer intelligence platform that spans ad tech and mar tech.

JANIA Brands are recognizing that they need to put the customer at the center of every interaction, which means that mar tech and ad tech have to leverage the same customer profile. A brand can't meet today's customers' expectations without mar tech and ad tech campaigns being aligned.

ADWEEK @Arun Kumar, [c]Suzanne O'Kelley, from your insights, would either of you care to elaborate with observations from your own experiences?

O'KELLEY It's hard to underestimate the challenge at hand in actually pulling together consumer insights across all the various engagements and making sure the resulting view is clean and complete.

It's extremely complex to ensure that all these different ways marketers are interacting with their consumers are being captured and synthesized in one source-of-truth system in a hygienic and privacy-safe fashion. Because that's so much to try to cast a net around, there is truth to the observation that many mar tech and ad tech companies have chosen smaller channels to try to get right end to end.

So you can give a marketer a pretty good sense of their email marketing engagements over here, and a pretty good sense of their digital advertising engagements over there, and maybe there's even connective tissue (like we offer with Xandr Invest) to enable cross-engagement between an email marketing effort and a digital advertising campaign.

But despite there being grand aspirations toward unity, in practice the ecosystem is still in the early days of being able to pull all the other touch points together and enable a marketer to influence (and prove they've influenced) the user holistically across the full journey.

KUMAR There are some truths in these generalizations, However, the two do operate with differences in speed as well. It's not just culture alone.

Mar tech has been associated historically with greater regulation, while ad tech has been more agile and a little less concerned around privacy and other issues. There is a greater element of distrust in some parts of the ad tech ecosystem which needs to be dealt with.

CAHILL Enter GDPR...

KUMAR @Des Cahill, bingo.

ADWEEK I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on GDPR/CCPA, etc., and the effect such regulations will have on the space. Do you all believe that such regulations are playing into the hands of the "big tech" platforms--i.e., walled gardens?

JANIA I think privacy regulations will propel the convergence of ad tech and mar tech.

CAHILL Organizations want to provide better experiences while also ensuring compliance and brand safety and measurement.... Easier to do that with centralized customer data governance.

KUMAR If we are not careful, then, yes, badly drafted legislation can make it onerous for smaller companies to comply.... And while I am on my soapbox, we have publicly stated that we need one federal set of regulations around privacy and data protection.

O'KELLEY Ideally, industry collaboration resulting from privacy regulation could enable greater interoperability between marketing solutions, in order to meet market needs and requirements, which would be a positive for marketers.

ADWEEK What do you all think are the downstream effects of the dominance of walled-garden players in the space?

O'KELLEY From my perspective, walled gardens may tend to dominate specific media channels (search, social, video). But we haven't yet seen the rise of walled gardens that have achieved the breadth of footprint across channels that would enable them to be the single source of truth for a marketer looking to understand all their engagements with their customers.

KUMAR You will have an ecosystem which optimizes toward the interests of the walled gardens as opposed to the interests of consumers or businesses. It will lead to a situation where only those with valuable and/or unique data assets will thrive and negotiate from a position of strength with the gardens. CAHILL Forcing better management of first-party data, for sure. Otherwise, companies have to pay a toll to walled gardens to connect with their own customers--not sustainable.

ADWEEK As my final question, what stage are we at in the intersection/merger of ad tech and mar tech, and what is the next necessary step, in your opinion? And would you care to put a timeline on any of this?

JANIA To use a sports analogy, I'd say we're probably in the first half of the game. The convergence of ad tech and mar tech has been going on for a little while now. In the past several years, Salesforce has acquired Krux and Datorama. We're now in the stages of integration and execution.

CAHILL We're in the early stages, but we are consistently hearing this need from our customers and partners. So this is very real. This will be the most interesting vendor and customer growth space for the next five years in the enterprise market. We're going to see the emergence of the customer intelligence platform (CIP--new acronym. Heard it here first!) that brings together ad tech and mar tech capabilities around a single customer profile.

KUMAR In the next year or two at best, we should not be talking about ad or mar but just about the application of technology. Making this work best will ultimately require an open-garden framework and transparent approach to data, tech and partnerships to ensure marketers can realize the biggest benefit of their tech and media investments.

BY RONAN SHIELDS

RONAN SHIELDS IS A REPORTER FOR ADWEEK, FOCUSING ON AD TECH. @RONAN_SHIELDS

Caption: ARUN KUMAR CTO/CDO, IPG

Caption: SUZANNE O'KELLEY VP, PRODUCT FOR BUYERS, XANDR

Caption: DES CAHILL VP, CMO, ORACLE CX

Caption: MODERATOR: RONAN SHIELDS PROGRAMMATIC EDITOR, ADWEEK

ILLUSTRATIONS BY AUGUSTO COSTANZO

Caption: BOBBY JANIA VP, PRODUCT MARKETING, SALES FORCE.

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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Author:Shields, Ronan
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Date:Sep 2, 2019
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