On Wednesday July 19th, LiveIntent hosted our second AdMonsters Meetup. The Meetup featured a panel discussion that included Melissa Martinez – Ad Operations Director at Evite, Chip Schenck, VP, Data & Programmatic Solutions at Meredith and Mike Finnegan, VP, Programmatic & Product Innovation at Live Nation Entertainment. This talented group focused on the topic, “The Convergence of AdTech and MarTech and The Publisher Advantage.” This is a topic particularly important to LiveIntent, coming on the heels of our recently published study with Forrester about the state of converging AdTech and MarTech. From the in-depth interviews, Forrester found that the biggest hurdle to this convergence is education and the lack of understanding across our industry. The panelists were dedicated to correcting this industry-wide lack of education, and committed themselves to edifying their peers about the landscape. Here are the key takeaways from the discussion:
Defining the convergence of AdTech and MarTech really depends on where you sit in the organization.
All three panelists play different roles within their respective organizations and sit in different areas of the business. Hence, their views on AdTech and MarTech reflect their experience and the type of company they work for.
Mike sits within the sponsorships division of LiveNation Entertainment. He talked about how MarTech powers the company communication with customers, drives ticket sales, and leverages databases. MarTech provides insights into how customers behave on LiveNation digital properties, at physical events and vis a vis their merchandise. LiveNation’s approach is governed by the ethos of building deeper relationships with their customers.
Melissa runs Ad Operations at Evite, and from her perspective, this “convergence” isn’t new or novel. It’s something she’s seen behind the scenes throughout the years, particularly within ad platforms and using audience targeting to execute buys.
As Chip, who sits within the Programmatic organization at Meredith, put it, “AdTech starts the conversation, MarTech is about continuing that conversation.” There’s something pithy about Chip’s oversimplification. Our industry has a predilection to overcomplicate the description of the nuts and bolts, and it leads to mass confusion. The way Chip describes it is something most people can get their heads around and digest.
Customer Relationship is Key
There is a clear opportunity here for publishers to leverage their data, own the customer experience, continue the conversation and build relationships with their customers. If publishers want to accomplish this and continue to have conversations with their customers they must provide them with an incentive. According to Mike, customers often think, “I’ll give you my information if I get something back that is meaningful.” And that’s how publishers get to know their audience better. Chip likes to look at it as “MarTech + AdTech = Identity.” One of the reasons publishers need the data is to be able to deliver strong advertising as well as editorial content. This is the way to build long term relationships – learn who your audience is so that you can have deeper conversations with them. Leveraging the tech in the marketplace to do this is important.
All three panelists discussed using Data Management Platforms (DMP) and other platforms as the key to leveraging that client relationship. Now, using multiple platforms can cause operational challenges, however, Melissa believes for instances where existing technology may not support all of their different business needs, segmentation and having to work with different vendors are key.
A New Type of Person is Needed for the Future
As our industry continues to evolve and the convergence of AdTech and MarTech becomes real for more and more companies, the type of people and skill sets needed to run organizations will have to change.
“…The new revenue people are going to fit the profile – analytical, really smart, really well spoken, who understand the business and that’s kind of the profile that we have to hire for for the future…” Chip Schenck.
I would tend to agree with Chip. I believe the future sales and business development people in our space are Ops folks because these they are inherently analytical, understand tech, are process oriented and for the most part have the ability to translate tech speak into language the average person could understand. These are the folks that understand how the business works and can execute.
Relationships with Vendors are Changing
Melissa made the point that publishers may need to work with multiple vendors in the same space and that multiple departments may need to be involved. These could include Ad Ops, Tech, Marketing and Legal. What was interesting, is all the panelists agreed that publishers are in a better position to say “no” to advertisers because legal plays a bigger role and since some of the things marketers want to do with data is so new they have leverage to push back. Having competing vendors working together to come up with a solution is another new way the publisher relationship with vendors is changing.
Chip referenced a situation where Meredith uses one DMP but one of their marketer clients uses another DMP. In order for them to combine data to get the best outcome for the ad campaign, they had to request that their DMPs work together. I think this is awesome because there is potential long term benefits for the competing vendors while satisfying their clients’ current needs. Mike seemed to agree as he believes that customer experience is paramount. So make sure expectations are set at the beginning as this is the best way to maintain good partnerships between vendor and publisher while being innovative.
For more on how publishers can manage the convergence of AdTech and MarTech, check out an interview on AdMonsters.com with LiveIntent COO, Dave Helmreich.