ALEx stories

What We Learned About Data and Technology for Marketers

Chelsea Iversen Mar. 10, 2020

In early March, advertisers, marketers, and data professionals descended on Orlando to talk about technology. We were there as an ANA Thought Leadership Partner, and the air was electric with promise, thanks to the positive spin many of the presenters took. In a time of worry — about Coronavirus, privacy compliance, martech overwhelm, customer expectations, the broken digital media supply chain — the ANA Masters of Data & Technology was a welcome beacon of hope. When it comes to data and technology, there’s so much on the horizon, we’ve already forgotten about the woes of 2019.

Here are a few things we learned:

How to comply with privacy regulations in the era of information

Michael Cohen, Chief Data & Technology Officer, Marketing Evolution taught us that it’s possible to deliver on the promise of customer-centric marketing, even with the changes in privacy regulations and expectations.

GDPR and CCPA have changed the legal standards for brands collecting information on consumers online, and companies have had to adapt.

In addition to the legal pressures, brands are facing shifting customer expectations. Ninety-seven percent of consumers are worried about protecting their personal data, according to a recent study.

And on top of all that, Google changed its cookie policy less than two months ago, with an aim of overhauling it altogether in the next few years.

These are challenges, no doubt, but with the right technology and tools, and a creative approach, companies can comply with privacy concerns and still focus on the customer — and arguably establish a more trusting relationship with them as they do.

How to fuel the customer experience with data

Data is not just digital.

No one reminded us of that better than Steve Monteith, VP of Marketing for the US Postal Service. Steve taught us how digital and offline customer data can be combined to create a big-picture view of your audience.

"It's no secret how fast digital is growing, but even digitally native brands see the value in direct mail," Steve said.

And, when it comes to data, it’s essential that brands continue to listen to the customer through all the noise. There’s a breakdown, sometimes, between all the data that’s available to marketers and the translation to the customer journey. It’s in that breakdown that the customer gets lost as marketers compete over data.

In the end, though, it’s not about how much data you have. It’s about how well you use it to connect with your customers.

How to use analytics for a competitive advantage

Analytics drives successful marketing organizations. Just ask Denise Karkos, CMO at SiriusXM + Pandora.

She taught us about the “three-legged stool” of building marketing strategy that drives ROI and improves the performance of your team.

First, know the business, she said. Then absorb the culture, and finally, set the vision for the brand. These three brand-building fundamentals will set your people up for success. Plus, such a strong foundation will give your organization a competitive edge when it comes to analytics — you’ll be able to apply data in ways that actually do work for you.

(Want more on building an ROI-driven marketing team? Watch our webinar here.)

How to navigate marketing technology

Martech is one of those areas that marketers either have figured out or don’t. For those who fall in the “don’t” category, Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot and Editor at taught us that the marketing stack doesn’t have to be scary.

Though complex, there is a science to wading through the bog of over 7,000 marketing technologies and trying to pull what works best for your brand. The thing to remember when building your martech stack, Scott said, is to make sure the need for automation is always balanced with the human element.

Because automation is no good without humans. At least not yet, anyway.

How to integrate data into the programmatic supply chain

The programmatic supply chain lacks transparency. This we know. And it costs advertisers billions of dollars each year.

This is the reason DSP MediaMath is spearheading an initiative called Source with a group of partners like Oracle and IBM Watson — to bring transparency, accountability and powerful AI back to the marketing side of programmatic.

David Kohl, President and CEO of TRUSTX explained that the ecosystem has lost its basic purpose. It’s now missing what used to make it so effective. “What we lost in programmatic,” he said, “...was the ability for these two principles — the buyer and the seller — to have a transaction that they felt good about.”

It’s initiatives like Source that aim to add fairness back into the programmatic ecosystem in order to demystify the process.

In the meantime, Joe Zawadzki, Founder and CEO of MediaMath, advises that brands should focus on the long-term to overcome the programmatic bumps along the way. This may come with some “disruption,” as he called it, but if you’re rolling with the punches with your eye on the long-term, you should be able to find success.

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