Interview in Forbes: Marketers Navigate A Daunting Cross Device World

Written by Paul Talbott, Contributor, Forbes 

December 17, 2019

Executing effective cross channel campaigns remains a challenge for marketers… blemished data, imprecise measurement and foggy strategy continue to wreak havoc.

What’s happening with this demanding process of marketing to consumers connected to multiple devices? For some insights, I reached out to Mark Connon, COO of Tapad, an SaaS firm that provides support for cross-device marketing.

Paul Talbot: When you look back on the marketing landscape of 2019, what strikes you as significant?

Mark Connon: The relationship with the consumer. Never has it been more important, and never have there been so many brands looking to develop that relationship.  

The Direct to Consumer brands, numbering in the hundreds, are taking advantage of a marketing/advertising ecosystem that enables the development and extension of that so valuable relationship.  

Take a good product, combine linear TV, connected TV, social, mobile and video access, and layer in measurement, attribution and identity resolution to fine-tune your customer acquisition models and you’ve got a real business.

While we are still in the early days of this transformation — all brands, large and small, are taking notice, and when done well, the customer wins.

Talbot: More specifically, did anything noteworthy with Consumer Data Platforms (CDPs) take place in 2019?

Connon: While not necessarily noteworthy, CDPs are still establishing their role in a digital marketers arsenal of resources and tools.  Over the last year, CDPs have seen pretty typical expansion and contraction in a growing space as brands, inclusive of marketing, data science, business intelligence, and analytics, look to how to best maximize the value of their data.

There are key considerations to address — consent, privacy, security, consolidation, segmentation, distribution and activation — to name a few.  Many big mar-tech players are providing CDP-like solutions, although not always under that name, which means the industry is still defining what a CDP is.

While brands today are figuring out how to calibrate the value of an array of CDP-like solutions available with their business needs, the venture community continues to make sizable investments to drive growth in the space — indicating a viable and evolving necessity for marketers today.

Talbot: As streaming services gain traction and the impact of traditional TV networks erodes, what does this mean for marketers who want to connect with consumers across screens?

Connon: Most streaming services are subscription based, and not supported by traditional advertising. This presents a challenge for marketers, as today, inventory remains limited.

However, although viewership has moved to these non-linear experiences and streaming services, don’t count traditional linear TV out just yet. Spending against linear in the U.S. has been fairly flat for the past several years (~$70 billion) and is forecast to remain so for the next few years. So, although viewership has seen a precipitous decline, spend will remain for the time being — indicating there’s still value for marketers. 

But there are opportunities for marketers outside of the streaming services – at least until they start using advertising to lower the monthly subscription.

The U.S. digital advertising market is nearly twice that of the linear TV market by ad spend. Digital video, connected/converged TV, and the OTT experiences via Roku, Hulu, etc. all create scaled opportunities for marketers to reach the consumer across their multiple screens. All allow and enable the use of targeting and measurement in ways that marketers have coveted.  Inventory is scaling and will continue to grow.

The ability to connect consumers to relevant experiences across devices with identity resolution will be the key to marketers executing efficiently and effectively in the ever-growing multi-device world.  

Talbot: Aside from tougher governmental privacy regulations, what risks does the marketing personalization industry face that may not be immediately evident?

Connon: The good news is that the risks are immediately evident. Marketers will have to strike a fine balance between what consumers expect from brands: the delivery of cohesive, relevant brand experiences across channels and devices of preference, with investments into data management infrastructure and partners, while caring for the requirements of the evolving regulatory and privacy environment.

Global brands will be required, and should embrace, this evolving tapestry of consumer expectations and government regulations.  

Talbot: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Connon: We are entering an interesting phase for digital marketing. Data that digital marketers had previously relied on to execute their campaigns is becoming more scarce.

With that reality comes the opportunity or necessity of innovation.

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