What CMOs Need to Know About Synthesizing Ad Tech and Mar Tech

Adweek led a Slack chat ahead of Dmexco with 4 industry leaders about this year's hot topic

Adweek held an online panel with (clockwise from top left) Arun Kumar, CTO/CDO, IPG; Suzanne O’Kelley, vp, product for buyers, Xandr; Bobby Jania, vp, product marketing, Salesforce; and Des Cahill, vp, CMO, Oracle CX.
Illustration: Augusto Costanzo for Adweek

According to the latest Gartner CMO Spend Survey, companies are spending nearly one-third (29%) of their marketing budgets on mar tech—up from 22% in 2017—with 9% of participating CMOs claiming that “marketing innovation” will be a key part of their practice in 2019.

If the numbers suggest a shift toward a more data-led practice, Ewan McIntyre, vp, analyst, Gartner for Marketers and the report’s co-author, thinks it’s about time. He says the findings also show that marketers still predominantly focus on metrics that hold little meaning outside of their own departments.

Illustration: Augusto Costanzo for Adweek

For instance, only 16% of those surveyed cited “customer acquisition” (via paid-for media) as a top-three capability. McIntyre says marketers should start to lean in on KPIs that demonstrate real value to their wider enterprises.

In doing so, CMOs will foster a greater internal appreciation for the value of marketing efforts and investment, and a greater understanding that using ad tech to acquire new customers is the key to demonstrating such ROI.

Simply put, all customer experience (CX) programs must create business value, which is gained through acquiring and retaining profitable customers, argues McIntyre. Achieving that value requires better synchronization of ad tech and mar tech. Knowing how to successfully synthesize the two will prove a valuable skill for marketers looking to further their careers.

Ahead of this year’s Dmexco (short for Digital Marketing Expo and Conference) in Cologne, Germany, Adweek held an online panel conversation via Slack with four experts in the field to gauge their insights on how the intersection of ad tech and mar tech plays out. (The following transcript has been edited for brevity and narrative flow.)

Panel participants:

Ronan Shields, programmatic editor, Adweek

Des Cahill, vp, CMO, Oracle CX

Bobby Jania, vp, product marketing, Salesforce

Arun Kumar, CTO/CDO, IPG

Suzanne O’Kelley, vp, product for buyers, Xandr

Adweek: The intersection of ad tech and mar tech has been much debated recently. Can you offer your assessment as to what this actually means? For instance, what will the tangible benefits for marketers be? Less wastage on media spend, etc.?

Des Cahill: Technically, it’s the capability to manage customer and prospect identity and data across the journey. … Marketers can benefit by personalizing to the customer from unknown to known—across customer journey/lifecycle. More personalization equals more conversion.

Bobby Jania: The continued merger of ad tech and mar tech represents a desire on the part of marketers to unify their strategies across all customer touch points and deliver personalized engagement. Marketers continuously tell us they want to consolidate the view they have of their customers and be able to act on immediate insights across multiple channels, including digital advertising.

Cahill: I think Bobby’s point on “act on immediate insights” is a key thing. Also, the ability to act across channels with the same insights.

Arun Kumar: One of the tangible benefits of a fully connected data technology and services solution is that it can constantly optimize consumer engagement and media spend for marketers. We see this when our clients take advantage of our integrated stack and publisher marketplace as a singular solution.

Illustration: Augusto Costanzo for Adweek

@Arun Kumar, can you explain how the integration of Acxiom is helping marketers to get better efficiency out of their media budgets with you?

Kumar: Like some have said before, it helps us bring the known and the unknown worlds together. For example, we have an automobile client who spends budgets on both advertising and incentives. … The two were never connected. Why would you bombard a person who is a lifetime buyer of your product repeatedly instead of going after growth and new customers? This results in massive efficiencies but also a better experience for customers and better conversion for clients. Ultimately, suppression in media is hugely important.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 2, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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