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Crossing the Ad Frontier: Using Data to Improve Consumer Experience

Written on
Nov 4, 2011 
Author
Tom Chavez  |

ADOTAS – The media market is being driven by “Big Data” and technological innovation, creating a fundamental shift in the marketing discipline. Buy-side players are adapting to these changes, integrating analysis and insight with consumer targeting. Publishers and website operators are waking up to these changes too – analyzing their audiences, protecting their data and changing their ad product strategy.

Consumer insight and audience data can make or break a media business. Further, loyalty, engagement, and brand affinity all hinge on how well marketers and publishers use data + technology to create favorable consumer web experiences.  As I noted in a recent blog, the future of the consumer experience is still largely uncharted terrain, crying out for some visionaries to move beyond a status quo where targeting is really only about ads.

C-Level Awakening

Recent coverage in Ad Age highlights how CMOs are responding to this shift, cozying up with their technology and data counterparts. One article examines how CMOs are working in tandem with their CIOs to be successful as marketing moves away from simply broadcasting to creating tools that “foster loyalty, juice sales and [use] lots of data and targeting.”

It’s not always an easy transition, as another piece outlines how most CMOs feel unprepared to address issues of data explosion, social media, channel and devices choices. Today’s CMO needs the CIO at their side to be successful in reaching the right consumers with the right message at the right time and in the right places.

On the media sales side, I am seeing an analog in how CROs, publishers and CEOs are drawing on their technology teams.  No longer is the CTO, CSO or CIO just focused on back-office platforms. Recognizing the importance of their interactions with customers over the web, they’re looking to augment infrastructure for data center security with new technology for website data security. Business and technology teams are working together to unlock the value of the first-party consumer relationship, with unique focus on creating the smarter, cooler web experiences their digital customers have come to expect.

Taking the Data Leap

Looking at the bottom line and watching the average consumer’s expectations grow, content providers will see their feet held to the fire if their audience has a negative experience on the site, when people realize that their information is being disseminated and leveraged without their knowledge or approval. Consumers want control over the process; they want to define the location and timing of the transaction; and they expect hyper-efficient, technology-driven experiences that still feel personal.

Consumer targeting and selling online audiences isn’t a new concept.  But smart publishers are recognizing that they need to play catch-up and (re)evaluate their infrastructure and business strategy.

Without focusing on every aspect of the consumer web experience, publishers risk further revenue erosion to the benefit of buyers, competitors, and intermediaries — not to mention loss of trust and loyalty among the audience they serve, as consumers become more astute and simply begin to expect more from their web experiences. Publishers can take a leap forward by adopting audience data control technology, which is just now coming to market.

Key considerations for taking that leap include solutions that:

  • Benefit both buyers and sellers while protecting the consumer data fueling those transactions
  • Provide consumers with rewarding content, commerce, and advertising experiences
  • Respect consumer preferences and expectations, increasing trust to deepen the audience relationship

If you look at today’s standard bearers in customer experience management — such as Amazon, Apple, Salesforce.com and Netflix (just to name a few) — they all have these three points in common. And, it’s what enables them to anticipate their audiences’ needs and desires while creating extremely devoted customers.

Everyone’s a Digital Publisher

Over time, every enterprise becomes a digital publisher. As they increasingly discern that the new normal requires an intelligent fusion of technology and business strategy, the new generation is chartering their leadership teams (CMOs, CIOs/CTOs and CROs) to work collaboratively to use the web to engage with customers more effectively.

Many of them don’t know or care a bit about advertising, which is actually a promising phenomenon. Fittingly, however, their efforts already echo the trail-blazing ways of digital media pioneers through a shared commitment to harnessing the power of their most precious asset: relationships with audiences and customers.





Tom Chavez is CEO at Krux. Prior to co-founding Krux, Mr. Chavez served as the general manager for the Online Publisher Business Group at Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group, and before Microsoft, he was the CEO of Rapt Inc. from its founding in 1999 to its acquisition by Microsoft in April 2008. He has also held positions at Sun Microsystems and the Rockwell Palo Alto Science Lab. Mr. Chavez holds a B.A. in Computer Science and Philosophy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research from Stanford. He sits on the Board of Meritus, a San Francisco non-profit that helps low income students enter and complete a four-year college degree.

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