These days, marketing technology is all but synonymous with marketing itself. And much of this discourse has been focusing in greater degree on the convergence of martech with its less-respected sibling, ad-tech.
Yet, only somewhat surprisingly, very few of these discussions address how media companies can leverage marketing technology to better serve both their marketing clients and their business.
The surprise comes from the fact that over $40 billion is invested in media annually, and focusing on ways to help media companies run their businesses and serve their clients more effectively would seem to benefit the industry as a whole. What tempers this surprise, however, is well-known fact that martech vendors cater almost entirely to brands, and media companies historically been very adept at developing their own in-house tech solutions (many of which served as a prototype for martech and ad-tech products).
In fact, many media providers have an innate aversion to their clients’ implementation of new technologies simply because it requires them to change media company operations without adding any benefit.
The needs of media companies differ greatly from those of marketers. But this doesn’t mean that marketing tech vendors present no value to them. Indeed, as the pace of marketing tech’s evolution increases, media companies will need to find ways to keep up with accelerating marketer demands. In-house, legacy systems used by many media providers will unlikely be able to keep pace due to integration issues and a lack of the same agility that cloud solutions provide.
Where does this leave media companies?
Looking at existing media company pain points and evaluating marketing tech’s ability to solve them is the first step. Here are a few issues that I see media companies and publishers struggling with on a daily basis that can be quickly solved by current marketing tech offerings:
- Media providers often gain little-to-no feedback from their marketer clients regarding how their programs performed. The only indication is a renewal (Yet, I’ve often seen clients renew bullsh**t fulfillment and pass on good data sources).
- Disputes over tracking lead to collections problems and can destroy relationships with clients.
- Data acquired during successful media programs can’t be easily mined to replicate success, build case studies, and acquire more clients.
What can media providers gain from emerging marketing technologies?
Media companies work hard to provide their marketer clients the leads and data they need to effectively engage prospects and acquire customers. But they must also align such program execution with their own efficiency and profitability. Unfortunately, the typical marketer’s tech stack doesn’t highly benefit media company concerns, because most tech stacks are used almost entirely for post-lead-acquisition processes.
Media companies require tech solutions that facilitate front-end (top-funnel), prospect-acquisition processes: IO generation, communication tools, centralized creative/asset repositories, lead/traffic tracking, billing, data scrubbing and normalization, feedback reporting. All of these tasks consume time and not an insignificant number of media company resources, which could be better spent executing on campaigns and engaging clients.
There’s a rift between media and marketing that’s typically bridged only by a human charged with transferring information and assets. This gap creates the window where human error enters the equation and starts costing media companies money in the form of failed execution.
All media providers have been in the position of syndicating the wrong content, obtaining the wrong company job title, 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.
What should media companies be looking for in a tech solution?
Brands are better served when their media providers can focus on program optimization, audience engagement and content — in short, on better program execution. Finding a solution that better incorporates media companies within the marketer’s internal systems and processes while reducing dependence on manual processes is a win across the board.
Media companies need a martech solution that:
- Connects media 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.
- Has the ability to handle multiple system plugins to normalize data and ensure clean syndication of content.
- Provides contract management — automated and standardized insertion orders.
- Is equipped with communication tools that speed up the transmission of information.
- Houses assets in a central library that organizes creative for quick access and to reduce the possibility of error.
Finding the right tech solution that ties media processes to marketing isn’t just about minimizing mistakes and easing media company 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. Most importantly, though, it’s about the opportunity to prove the results and value of the investment committed to the media company’s services.