People-based Marketing’s Biggest Roadblock? It’s Not Technology. It’s Marketers.

People-based Marketing’s Biggest Roadblock? It’s Not Technology. It’s Marketers.

These are tumultuous times for Marketers. Marketing has gone from being dominated by creatives to a discipline tied to complex testing and analytic models. Perhaps the most vexing part for Marketers? They’ve pursued their real passion: making creative ads that appeal to audiences only to be stymied by the question of how they can actually get those ads in front of the right audiences.

Marketers know, more than anyone, the implications of the proliferation of mobile devices. It’s a struggle to be present where their customers are paying attention, irrespective of device. That’s why so many have adopted the concept and promise of “People-Based Marketing” even if, in truth, so few understand exactly what it is.

At its highest level, People-based Marketing is being able to offer consistent marketing to the same person, regardless of the device he or she is using. At its more tactical level, it means bringing the 1:1 ability of MarTech (reaching a known person), to channels that previously didn’t allow for reaching a known audience, referred to as “Advertising channels”.

As context, some channels have logged-in audiences. In those channels, Marketers can be sure their message is being seen by a known person. These are channels like social media (you need to log in to see a post) or the email channel (you must sign-in to your email to see the email). On the other hand, there are channels that don’t have logged-in audiences (display, mobile web, and video). The holy grail (so often mocked) is one in which Marketers could take the 1:1 relationships that they’ve enjoyed in Marketing channels to the domain of channels that were previously unknown. If brands can do this (make AdTech and MarTech intersect and achieve People-based Marketing), brands could stop treating their best customers like strangers. Brands could develop relationships with their audiences that aren’t bound by channel, platform, or device.

So, what’s stopping Marketers from combining their Advertising capabilities with their Marketing capabilities and forming campaigns that are marketed to people instead of devices? It may surprise you.

According to a new study conducted by Forrester (commissioned by LiveIntent), the roadblock is less technological and more sociological. As with so much else, the issue is cultural. In fact, the single biggest hurdle for AdTech marrying MarTech isn’t technical. It’s internal strife. 42% of Marketers said the biggest hurdle for combining the two is that their organizations operate in silos, whereas only 30% said the biggest hurdle were the technical challenges in integrating Advertising, Marketing, and customer data.

The findings reflect the overall ambition of Marketers (93% of firms have talked about combining AdTech and MarTech) but also the reality of competing priorities for the discipline (only 35% are actively working towards the convergence). Why is there that lag? One imagines it’s because while the differences between Marketing and Advertising may be clear in the head of the Marketer, it’s not in the rest of the company. For the sake of being able to compete at the intersection of Marketing and Advertising, Marketers need to adopt an evangelistic approach. They need to shout from the mountaintops the importance of People-based Marketing, and what the implications are of bringing together their Marketing and Advertising. While People-based Marketing sounds formidable, in truth, the data shows that the biggest hindrance may in fact, be leadership and communication, two areas where Marketers have traditionally shone.

In a new era, the daunting challenge is being able to bridge the divide between Marketing and Advertising, and build an intersection connecting people across every device they use. It’s up to Marketers to dive in head-first to accomplish this. The data shows more and more are doing so, and those that aren’t able to do bridge this gap will be left behind.

Want to know why People-based Marketing is not that complicated? Expert, Joe Lyons, VP Strategic Partnerships at LiveRamp, explains here in the Everything Email Podcast.