Martech + ad tech, part 2: Connected data and people-based marketing

Martech and ad tech — the twin disciplines of digital and social-based marketing and advertising that have defined the last decade of customer acquisition and customer information management — are converging. And as they continue to come together, marketers are realizing a range of opportunities to not only gain more insights into their customers and potential customers, but to execute people-based engagement and retention strategies.

Whereas even a few years ago, marketers might have found themselves burdened by fragmented marketing landscapes and platforms that fail to integrate or interact with one another, the rise of “MadTech” is easing that burden. Now, marketers have the tools to combine customer data with targeting, media purchasing and digital advertising inventory management — automatically, in near-real time.

This technology is giving marketers the ability to put into practice what has long been the industry’s white whale — marketing to the exact right person at the exact right time. With a combined martech and ad tech approach, marketers can create meaningful moments across every channel, every device, at any point in time — all uniquely designed for a specific, real person. This is people-based marketing, and it’s enabled by connected data.

Leveraging connected data

Customer data is the backbone of many marketing strategies, and historically the chief utility of established martech systems like CRM platforms and customer data platforms (CDPs). The best of these connect customer data from a variety of touch points, including point-of-sale, loyalty program interaction, the e-commerce platform, in-store, and even interactions with the brand’s social media presence.

But all martech platforms serve the same goal: to collect, analyze and parse customer data to facilitate a deeper understanding of customers’ motivations and behaviors. Being able to take action upon this data effectively is the advantage that the combination of martech and ad tech confers.

Various combinations of martech and ad tech platforms — using a data management platform (DMP) in conjunction with a CDP, for instance — allow marketers to most efficiently take this action. By leveraging customer insights with media and ad buys, marketers get the most value from their connected data and unlock the financial and brand affinity benefits associated with people-based marketing.

People-based marketing

Martech and ad tech together have a unique ability to reach customers and potential customers as individuals, incorporating their preferences and past behaviors and delivering offers and/or messaging that is most likely to generate a response. This people-based strategy not only optimizes the potential for the next single sale, but creates emotional connections between a brand and its customers that can pay dividends far beyond individual purchasing cycles.

Using data from martech platforms, marketers can craft and deliver truly personalized communications and offers to existing customers, while simultaneously informing their efforts to reach new customers through ad tech. This data-driven “MadTech” approach engenders loyalty and creates the “just for me” impressions that resonate even among consumers whom the brand has not yet acquired.

However, these enhanced experiences are only possible if a brand’s marketing strategy is centered on creating a holistic view of the customer in an omnichannel environment and utilizing data to support people-based interactions, rather than traditional, standalone approaches to martech and ad tech.

Addressability: the ultimate goal

In terms of new customer acquisition, the outcome of people-based marketing is addressable advertising — and this is where the confluence of martech and ad tech is truly changing the game. Addressable advertising deals with media purchased across multiple channels that are calibrated to the level of personal, one-to-one targeting. As consumers have been conditioned to expect advertising that is relevant to them personally, any outreach effort that falls short of that unique customer identification will be ineffective.

Marketers that use their martech-facilitated customer data can provide their ad agency or in-house team with more accurate targeting and measurement of their ad inventory and programs. Combined with ad tech-facilitated media buying, this results in truly addressable impressions, which in turn generate real revenue and sales.

Martech and ad tech together can link a brand’s existing customer data, third-party consumer data and ad platform user data across online and offline touch points, creating true people-based audiences which can be targeted across the media ecosystems and the overall digital space.

These combined platforms can amalgamate a variety of individual and household-level attributes like demographics, purchases, digital engagement behaviors and lifetime value, as well as advanced attributes, such as conversion potential and media consumption. The audience engagement and retargeting potential of these capabilities is virtually limitless.

Achieving these broad marketing goals — connected data, people-based marketing and advertising addressability — is within reach for marketers that embrace a combined martech and ad tech approach.

Only slightly less important than committing to the concept, however, is identifying the tools that work best for the brand and finding the right technology partner that can facilitate a converged solution. Marketers who proactively seek out the right tools and the right partners will position themselves and their brands for long-term success.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Jose Cebrian is Vice President and General Manager of Email and Mobile Messaging for Merkle. He came to Merkle after spending nine years at Acxiom, where he grew to Managing Director, Global Client Services for Digital Impact, Acxiom’s email and SMS division. Jose led a global team responsible for optimizing interactive direct marketing campaigns across the web, email, and mobile.

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