Focus On Customers, Not Technology

martingilliardddtData-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 Martin Gilliard, general manager, Americas, at AdTruth, which is part of Experian Marketing Services.

The role of technology in marketing is dramatically changing. It began with interdependent tools that solved one issue. Now we’re seeing a fundamental shift in investment to software that helps companies illustrate, measure and quantify the overall impact of marketing expenditures on their business.

The shift in investment is due to the eventual reality of an all-digitally connected world. Before the end of the decade, all purchased media is predicted to be programmatic. Digital advertising is not a trend or fad. It is an upgrade to current marketing strategies.

As this disruption continues, I believe the marketing technology industry must focus on the needs and benefits of its customers – the marketers.

Automobile manufacturers, for example, do not advertise the brilliant design of an engine or information about torque and RPMs. They speak to issues their customers care about, such as stability, safety, power and comfort.

In the same way, marketers are not interested in how or how many ads are served. The ad tech industry is doing a disservice to its most important clients by failing to understand and focus on their goals: how marketers want and need to meet the demands of their digital consumer.

From Cost Centers To Revenue Drivers

Marketing departments and chief marketing officers are making a shift from being cost centers to drivers of revenue. Marketers will start behaving more like publishers, rather than advertisers. Content will increasingly be developed that specifically targets consumers. In addition to being strategists, chief marketing officers need quantitative skills to analyze and measure results.

Technology is needed in this shift. The focus will be on customer values, the best channels of communication and total market engagement with a brand. Brand amplification and engagement are what matters to the brand marketer. They want to improve brand perception and drive sales growth. Yet most ad tech product acronyms and jargon go right over the heads of brand marketers. They couldn’t care less if a RTB product enables them to connect an SSP to a DMP via a DSP.

An Open Ecosystem, Better Metrics

If the ad tech industry focused on the needs of marketers, they would empower them to leverage the current assets they have, in terms of technology and data. But more often than not, their solution has to meet their own model’s parameters. What’s needed is a more open ecosystem that focuses on building industry standards and meeting the objectives of all marketers, not just current clients.

Marketers are in dire need of relevant metrics that apply to all media channels. The “cost per engagement” of a single digital channel is of very little use if a marketer cannot understand it within the context of all its other channels. Standards to measure effectiveness need to be applicable across all channels cumulatively. Otherwise, there’s no way to truly understand the ROI of any of them.

Now, I know programmatic advertising is highly technical. Vendors must know all the intricacies, nuances and subtleties of the new frontier. The supply-and-demand implications must also be understood, and the quality standards of marketers’ customer data upheld.

But is it an effective product if the client doesn’t understand what they are buying? Does it meet their needs?

Ad tech is disrupting traditional advertising and adding unbelievable value to the digital consumer and advertiser relationship. But keep in mind: The algorithms used to facilitate that relationship are of little interest to marketers. They just want something that works.

Follow Martin Gilliard (@martingilliard), AdTruth (@Ad_Truth) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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