Welcome to the Post-Ad-Tech Era

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The following article appeared in Advertising Age on April 10, 2013

http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/post-ad-tech-era/240738/

By Bill Demas, CEO, Turn

While many in digital media continue to explain what ad tech is and does, it's time for the conversation to evolve beyond this to the real benefits that enterprise technology can bring to a marketer's strategy. Big data and programmatic advertising have become embedded in the execution of mainstream advertisers and technology. We're on the CMO's radar screen, so let's make sure that the education and conversation evolve consistently with the rapid innovation in the space.

This transformation has never been more critical. Technologythat drives marketing is transforming advertising as we know it. Forecaster IDC estimates that worldwide RTB-based spending (real-time bidding) will rise to $13.9 billion and the big-data market will grow to $23.8 billion in 2016.

It is imperative that we as industry leaders help foster thegrowth and maturity of the relationship between enterprise technology and marketing leaders. Here's how:

Automation is great, but it contributes to business results only when paired with a marketer's intelligence and intuition. Data can and should inform key decisions, but the human element is crucial to establishing emotional bonds and preference between brand and consumer. Look at what Netflix has done with data to create the political drama series "House of Cards," leveraging its understanding of customer viewing habits and preferences to drive content creation, to great effect Technology can provide the insights that help marketers make better decisions. It frees up marketers to focus on interpreting results, refining strategy and ensuring business success.

Think audience -- not media channel -- first. Marketers who truly want to understand consumers need to use data from every channel and platform to create a complete picture of their most valuable customers. Then they can design specific campaigns based on how each different segment interacts with the brand.

The walls have come down. Multi-touch attribution and cross-channel campaigns are here. Companies that tell single-media-channel stories are doing a disservice to the data-driven marketer. The notion of thinking in silos is outmoded, as is having separate technology partners for video, mobile, social, display, et al.

The imaginary C-suite battle between technology and marketing is outdated. As product and service providers, we must stop using this analogywhen we speak to customers. The CIO and the CMO are both leaders charged with delivering ROI to their business. Marketing is becoming more IT-like and IT is embracing marketing as a strategic partner. We're seeing more companies with a Chief Marketing Technology Officer, where all of these elements are coming together. Whatever you call it, though, it's an acknowledgement that new kinds of bridges are being built every day.

Marketers have embraced technology. But they are demanding transparency, clarity and ROI, and instead what they often get from the industry is jargon and bickering over metrics and strategies. It's time we move beyond the ad-tech swordfight and get to a mature position where enterprisetechnology shapes the future of marketing.