The ad tech industry has undergone substantial change over the past 12 months but not only because of Covid, according to Ali Syed, director of international sales for Oracle Advertising.
Other significant factors include Apple’s decision to make advertising identifiers (IDFA) an explicitly opt-in setting and the impending cookie-less future. “People are thinking quite deeply now about how they're going to pivot their marketing strategies,” said Syed at a Media360 briefing. “It’s time to ask whether you have the right infrastructure in place to future-proof your business. Do your pre-pandemic goals still hold true or are they shifting? And if so, are you able to shift with them? You need to ask tough questions and be brave.”
Evidence not gut
One of the challenges for CMOs is how to connect better with the rest of the C-suite and to be successful advocates for their department and their campaigns.
Syed professed to be a “huge fan” of Benjamin Braun, the CMO of Samsung Europe. “He's recently written about not just using your gut instinct but using more evidence based approaches. He talks about econometrics and marketing mix modelling, which I think is a really apt way to start connecting your marketing with specific business outcomes.”
It’s time for marketers to take back control. “You might set the strategy and set the direction but a number of brands we speak to say that a lot of responsibility [for execution] falls on their media partners,” revealed Syed. “If you are responsible for building a brand’s strategy then you need to be responsible for executing that strategy too – you’re the custodian of that brand.
“If you don’t have that oversight then the data you’re receiving might be delayed and be just post-campaign analysis. We present data in real time and our intent is always for that data to be actionable in real time.”
Different platforms deliver different benefits, as one of Oracle’s CPG clients found in a study of the relative benefits of TikTok versus Instagram. “We set up an experiment to test which creative assets work best on which particular platforms,” explained Syed. “Our Oracle Moat solution enabled that test and learn scenario, meaning this particular brand could make some smart decisions. Tik Tok best performed across viewability and audibility, but then in other instances we captured high amounts of engagement and attention across highest video percentage completions in other platforms. Because we can provide log level data for our solutions, we can properly understand how users interact with a brand’s creative assets in a live environment.”
Make sure your strategy is practical
Syed believes that too many brands have a brilliant strategy on paper but haven’t thrashed out how achievable it is. “How are you linking your business outcomes to your marketing strategy? That’s the question we ask every client,” he said. ”You’re trying to achieve the closest possible relationship between your marketing metrics and business outcomes. Lead generation, growth and customer acquisition – are these key attributes directly linked to the metrics in your marketing strategy?”
Collaborate to accumulate
“There’s always been a creative tension between marketing and sales,” said Syed, “but now there needs to be an element of real collaboration across the whole pipeline from lead to cash, to use a B2B phrase.”
Voices in the room
There is a direct link between greater diversity and improved brand safety. Acknowledging the lack of ethnic and gender diversity at C-suite level, Syed said: “First of all we need to start looking at ourselves. You need to have a range of voices in the room who are going to have an impact on the decisions that help you be the custodians of your brand.”