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Marketing Tech Expands Digital Advertising Quality

At first, digital advertising was about cost-per-click, targeting and personalization.

Now, the buzzword is “marketing tech,” (martech) and the tactics involve sophisticated use of big data, including programmatic buying, geofencing, pixel tracking and retargeting with the ultimate goal of personalization: reaching a customer at the “purchase moment.”

There’s an extreme level of complexity,” explains Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association and former president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. “It combines media buying with audience profiles, location data and dynamic creative design. It requires agile, ongoing marketing and a complete transformation of how marketers look at their organizations.”

Stuart, a direct marketing executive, believes that the new ecosystem of digital marketing “only becomes effective when we layer in data.”

“You have to have strong measurement and data analytics,” he emphasizes, acknowledging the new pre-eminence of “multitouch attribution,” which means that customers encounter marketing offers via mobile, smart TVs and other new media platforms as well as traditional ad formats.

The rapid growth of marketing technology in high-tech retailing reflects the increased sophistication of the marketing community. The Wall Street Journal, citing research from PitchBook, a venture capital and private equity data firm, noted that while martech firms attracted a growing $1.2 billion of investments last year, adtech funding dropped to $446 million, the lowest level in a decade.

The shift reflects the ad community’s revisions, contends Scott Kurnit, founder and former chief executive at, and several interactive cable TV ventures. He cites the trend to bring digital advertising/marketing “in-house” rather than rely on agencies.

“Clever advertising to broad audiences creates solid word of mouth (or fingers)” and will be special long into the future, Kurnit says. “Digital is 100 percent measurable,” he says, but frets that it can fail to find new customers. Kurnit cites the tricky learning process, which includes developing standardized measurement processes to assure that they don’t “reduce innovation.”

Ian Wheal, head of strategy at Adstream, a global digital asset management firm, believes that companies recognize the need for “more real-time in their marketing campaigns, which has stoked demand for software and systems to make that more possible.” In ComputerWeek, Wheal cited the trend among C-level executives “to get much better visibility.” Adstream, an exhibitor at CES’s C Space, has focused on programmatic video and the convergence of cross-platform delivery.

Criteo, also a martech provider and a C Space exhibitor, points to the importance of multiple media presence. Its report on first-half 2016 digital marketing found that for the first time, shoppers used smartphones for most of their mobile transactions.

“Retailers need to create a truly seamless mobile and cross-device experience and be prepared to engage with users no matter where they are along the path to purchase,” says Elie Kanaan, Criteo’s executive vice president of marketing. “Brands that master the mobile trend will have a head start on competitors and the momentum to lead the pack through the shopping seasons ahead.”

Gary Arlen