"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Louis Moynihan, vice president of business development at Demandbase.
The convergence of "ad tech" and "marketing tech" has already emerged as a key theme for 2014. There’s just one problem. While it’s an interesting idea with lots of possibilities, we don’t have much in the way of a tangible definition for this trend. I believe it valuable to isolate individual points of convergence and focus our energy on bringing those intersections to the forefront.
But first, it’s worth noting that one intersection in isolation has minimal impact. It is all intersection points combined that produce a network effect of huge value for the platforms involved. We need to understand the opportunities presented by the different components of the marketing stack, with the ultimate goal of getting them all to work together in sync with ad tech.
The following is my review of technologies that have begun to merge, with positive results. In roughly chronological order, it outlines how a combined ad and marketing stack might function.
1. CRM and ad tech data: CRM is the hub where all marketing and sales data live, and now there’s a process to coordinate advertising based on that information. Linking campaigns to sales provides better insight for marketing and enables more targeted advertising. LiveRamp, Datalogix and Acxiom lead the way here by mapping CRM contacts to cookie IDs.
2. CMS: Dynamic creative in ad tech has seen substantial success, and the next logical step is to connect those personalized ad messages to the website experience. This becomes possible when we use one data set in both ad and website environments. In other words, the website content management system (CMS) pulls data from the same DMP as the dynamic ad server.
3. Analytics: Website analytics have become increasingly sophisticated, but up until recently, ad analytics existed in a separate silo, restricted to landing pages. Now, attribution vendors integrate these two separate data sets, making the whole much greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of ad and Web analytics enables a full, life-cycle view of every customer and campaign. These converged analytics give us the power to optimize the customer journey and report on ROI produced by a more powerful customer experience. Adobe and Google Analytics are where this will ultimately convene.
4. Live chat: The personalized, dynamic experience will extend beyond website content to include real-time customer service capabilities. Today, companies like Liveperson and Oracle Chat are successfully integrating ad data into their software to inform the online chat experience. For example, when an ad sends users to a website, Liveperson can pick up that ID and seamlessly keep the conversation connected. Live Chat has many valuable characteristics, such as Lead Gen, dynamic content, customer service and closing sales, that naturally bridge ads and websites.
5. Marketing automation software (MAS): MAS nurtures individuals who raise their hands and provide their email addresses, but through data-matching software, such as Adfocus from Oracle (Eloqua), ads can be seamlessly integrated into the nurture mix. For products with longer sales cycles and higher price points, MAS is crucial, and the ability to leverage display ads as part of nurture is a significant opportunity to move the needle.
6. CRM as a destination for ad ROI data: Whether a deal is won or lost, we close the loop back where we started — with CRM, where all the company’s reporting converges. Now, that data includes insight from DMPs and MAS. As this convergence happens, we’re able to track the success of online ads against the most important metric there is: revenue. This ability will significantly enable us to move beyond KPIs that have outlived their relevance, such as CTR.
I was going to list DMPs as No. 7 but I think that would dilute the importance of what can only be described as the central nervous system. None of the above is possible without a DMP that pulls in data from multiple sources and pushes out data to multiple destinations. The DMP personality is determined by its roots so it will be interesting to watch Adobe, Salesforce and Google push their expertize in website, CRM and ad tech, respectively. But rest assured: There will be incredible value created at the intersections so I suspect the independent DMPs will align accordingly.
While there’s room for all of us to grow our companies, there’s also a need to rally together as an industry to embrace and adopt this innovation head on.