Lately there has been an enormous amount of discussion among marketers (advertisers) about the value of technology as it relates to acquiring customers, measuring media program effectiveness, justifying budgets and generally proving marketing’s overall value to an organization. Interestingly, relatively little of that discourse has crossed the table to the media partner/publisher side of the advertising business. This is very surprising. Over $40 billion is invested in media annually, but the idea of how this marketing tech revolution affects the job of media partners is still largely neglected.
Buzzwords-a-plenty fly around meetings regarding marketing tech: process flow, lead velocity, marketing automation, social lift, closed loop — even old stalwarts like ROI have found new life in the now ubiquitous marketing cloud discussion under the new acronym: return on media investment (ROMI).
But from a media partner perspective, the marketing tech discussion lacks a solid set of value propositions against which media partners can evaluate the potential advantages of implementing such technologies. In fact, many media partners have an innate aversion to their clients’ implementation of new technologies simply because it requires them to change their operations without adding any benefit to them — without easing the numerous tasks with which they’re charged.
The needs of media partnersdiffer greatly from those of marketers. But this doesn’t mean that marketing tech holds no value for publishers — it simply means that we must look at existing publisher pain points and marketing tech’s ability to solve them in order to derive what values they hold for media partners. Here are a few pain points that publishers currently deal with and that tech could potentially ameliorate:
- Media partners often gain little to no feedback from their marketer clients about how their programs performed — the only indication is a renewal. Yet I have often seen clients renew BS fulfillment and pass on good data sources.
- Disputes over tracking lead to collections problems and can destroy marketer-media partner relationships.
- Data acquired during successful media programs can’t be easily mined to replicate success, build case studies, and acquire more clients.
Given everything we know marketing tech is capable of and the types of challenges media partners face on a daily basis, should they be hesitant to adopt marketing tech? To answer this, we must figure out what media partners can gain from emerging marketing technologies.
Marketers spend A LOT of time striving to align their tech investment with sales efforts, leveraging available resources to score and engage prospects, acquire customers, and measure system and process effectiveness. While media partners work hard to provide their marketer clients the leads/data they need to make this happen, their challenge is much more about aligning program execution and client retention with profitability and efficiency. Given this publisher focus, the typical marketer’s tech stack doesn’t highly benefit media partner efforts, because it’s used almost entirely for post-lead-acquisition systems and processes.
Media partners need tech solutions that facilitate front-end prospect-acquisition processes:
- IO generation
- creative syndication
- lead/traffic tracking
- billing and accounting
- data normalization
- feedback reporting
Perhaps worse though is the gap existing between marketer and media partner systems, a rift that’s typically bridged only by a human charged with transferring information and assets. This gap/rift/hole/disparity…whatever you’d like to call it…creates the window where human error enters the equation and starts costing media partners money in the form of failed execution.
All media partners have been in the position of syndicating the wrong content, obtaining the wrong company size, using an outdated banner, zip-code preset, etc., simply because as info and assets were shipped across the great ocean dividing media from marketing, a human mistake was made. Finding a solution that better incorporates media partners within the marketer’s cloud while reducing dependence on labor and highly manual tools like excel is a win across the board. Media partners would much rather spend those man hours with their clients, program optimization, developing new content — in short, on better program execution.
So what then should media partners be looking for?
- A solution that connects media partner efforts deep into the sales funnel (ideally it would go from expressed interest to close) to provide partners with significant insight regarding the performance of their programs.
- The ability to handle multiple system plugins to normalize data and ensure clean syndication of content.
- Contract management — automated and standardized insertion orders.
- Communication tools that speed up the transmission of information.
- Asset management repositories that store and organize creative for quick access and to reduce the possibility of error.
Essentially, finding the right tech solution that ties the media process in with marketing isn’t just about minimizing mistakes and easing publisher pain, it’s also about creating opportunities: the opportunity to optimize efforts by accessing the same data (knowledge) that marketers are deriving from their technologies. But most importantly, though, it’s about the opportunity to prove the results and value of the investment committed to the partner’s services.