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Can't we all get along? Bringing the ad tech/mar tech division to an end

24 Aug 2016  |  Anto Chittilappilly 
Can't we all get along? Bringing the ad tech/mar tech division to an end

It's time to build a bridge if marketers are to achieve a clearer view of entire campaigns, writes Visual IQ's Anto Chittilappilly

Technology has fuelled the current era of advertising and marketing. Brands have an almost endless supply of options on both the ad tech and mar tech sides, yet despite the obvious overlap in disciplines, these technologies commonly operate in their own separate silos.

These silos make it increasingly difficult to connect the information and insights needed to analyse performance and deliver the highly personalised, relevant ads and experiences that drive business results.

So how can brands bring ad tech and mar tech together to gain a more holistic view of marketing effectiveness? To answer this question, let's first look at what each side brings to the table and how they help marketers more effectively communicate their messages to the right customers and prospects.

Ad tech: smarter ad targeting

The expanding complexity and sophistication of digital advertising has spawned the growth of the ad tech industry. The ability to harness anonymous, user-level data has changed the game.

Media planners and buyers used to focus on negotiating direct deals with publishers and networks that would generate as much reach as possible for a basic target demographic, such as age, gender and household income.

Now, ad tech allows brands to target their message to a much more refined audience based on attributes such as psychographics, shopping behaviour, interests, and level of engagement with their brand. Not only can marketers control who a message goes to, but also when and where it's delivered.

Ad tech solutions are typically easy for brands of any size to adopt because they don't require a high degree of integration. Advertisers can immediately serve impressions to their target audiences and easily track the clicks, site visits and conversions they get in return.

The problem with ad tech is that tracking is siloed by each individual platform and relies on flawed, last-touch-based methodologies to assign credit for conversions. Since conversions are not de-duplicated across systems, the number of conversions recorded in each platform is unlikely to add up to the actual, true number of conversions or revenue recorded in a brand's customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Consequently, advertisers are left with an unreliable view of what's driving success and what's not. Moreover, the metrics used in ad tech, such as impressions, clicks and conversions, are generic to all marketers, rather than specific to an individual brand's business rules, business goals, and key performance indicators.

For example, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a financial services company to measure the effectiveness of each advertising channel in driving customers with the highest lifetime value (LTV), or in increasing the amount of deposits into new accounts.

Mar tech: smarter customer communication

Like ad tech, mar tech is also on the rise, providing brands with solutions that help them understand their customers on a much deeper level. Marketers use these technologies to support CRM through email, direct mail, omni-channel marketing, prospect profiling, as well as pricing and offer management - enabling 1:1 communication between the company and the individual.

Customers typically opt-in to this type of communication because they know they will benefit from receiving more relevant messages and offers that fit their needs. Marketers benefit from gaining new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities that result in greater revenue and LTV of customers.

However, unlike ad tech, mar tech typically requires more complex integration and change management on the brand side, making it more difficult to adopt. Mar tech also neglects the perspective of what's happening on the advertising side of the house that helps convert prospects into new customers.

While it may report on de-duplicated conversions and LTV, it doesn't measure the extent to which each advertising channel and tactic influenced those metrics. Even if there is reporting for this, the results are typically based on flawed surveys or last-touch-based assignments that can be far from the truth.

The intersection of ad tech and mar tech

What if there was a way to break down the divide between ad tech and mar tech so that marketers could target the right audiences - those who bring the highest lifetime values - with the right mix of media, messages and offers?

Today, there are advanced marketing measurement solutions that have the capacity to bring these two sides together to enable brands to achieve a truly closed-loop marketing practice. By integrating the rich, but disparate data made available across all platforms into a single, data-driven model, advanced measurement solutions provide brands with a holistic and accurate view of marketing performance across all of their paid, owned and earned channels.

Such solutions look at the total cost of marketing to understand the true influence and efficiency of each marketing channel and tactic. Not only do brands have a better understanding of how their marketing channels influence each other, but they're also able to understand exactly what messages and offers drive that influence.

Once marketers understand the fractional value of each advertising touchpoint on the ad tech side - and this value is de-duplicated and normalised in the form of sales, revenue or other bottom-line metrics on the mar tech side - then they can programmatically buy the media that drives the business metrics they care about most.

Best of all, marketers no longer need to rely on siloed platforms that use flawed, last-touch-based methodologies to try to interpret the story of marketing effectiveness. A cross channel advanced marketing measurement model will provide a single currency on which all channels and tactics can be measured.

Rather than focusing on metrics like clicks and site visits as a measure of success, marketers benefit from the ability to tie performance back to bottom-line metrics like ROI, lifetime value, and revenue.

Anto Chittilappilly is co-Founder, president and CTO, Visual IQ

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Robert Barrows, President, R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations on 25 Aug 2016
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