On The CMO Agenda — The Technologist’s Guide To Digital Transformation In Marketing

By Aqilliz  

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Today, digital dominates. That much can be said following a pandemic-fuelled transition towards web and mobile in the past year as consumers were forced to rethink their spending habits and preferences. With the consumer journey now fragmented across multiple channels — be it web, mobile, or social — it should come as no surprise that worldwide digital ad spend is forecast to reach a whopping US$455.30 billion. According to eMarketer, the resultant market dynamics — a combination of “explosive growth in ecommerce-related ad spending and social media advertising — future spending is only expected to grow.

Now predicated upon a growing number of consumer touchpoints, marketers will need to adapt, adopting increasingly digital-first engagement tactics. Here, technologists will play a critical role in inspiring meaningful change, espousing an ethos of agility and experimentation in order to strengthen brand-consumer relationships in an increasingly digital age.

Here are three core areas marketers should keep a close eye on.

Optimising data management

With a holistic view of the customer journey more critical than ever, how data is managed can go a long way in reconciling valuable data points obtained across different campaign participants — from the publishers to the DSPs and SSPs. With the new regulations and data protection laws in place, AdTech and MarTech vendors are now in a unique position to determine the golden playbook for data management.

Effective data management can go a long way in streamlining and reducing costs across programmatic advertising — all it takes is the right infrastructure. At Aqilliz, our solution allows marketers to benefit from real-time visibility and reconciliation of their campaign performance, enabling optimisation and accurate attribution modelling. With blockchain, the impression-level data can be authenticated and automatically reconciled, leading to significant cost-efficiencies across the campaign supply chain.

Opportunities in OTT

With the advent of video streaming platforms, so came the rise of over-the-top (OTT) and CTV. No longer limited to linear TV, the broadcast world has since evolved to offer on-demand video content. In 2021 alone, 57 percent of surveyed digital advertisers conveyed their decision to increase spending in OTT advertising. Alongside social media, the medium saw itself as one of the top growth verticals in the digital advertising space alongside social media and digital display.

To ensure relevance, hyperlocalisation is key. Informed by relevant CRM data, local OTT advertising can reach potential customers in specific markets, potentially narrowed down to one’s own zip code. This can be further strengthened by developing customer personas and audience segments defined by user habits. A Deloitte survey on Digital Media Segments narrowed it down to 5 key groups — namely mobile-first viewers, power streamers, highly-subscribed users, hybrid adopters, and linear TV consumers — each distinguished by their own viewing preferences.

Depending on the brand, marketers will also need to adapt their tactics and messages accordingly, while accounting for potential roadblocks such as ad blockers and skippable ad formats.

Cultivating a culture of data compliance

As the end of third-party cookies draws near and the conversations surrounding data privacy and protection frameworks continue to intensify, structural innovations look to threaten the current state of audience targeting and personalisation as we know it. Given the disparate nature of these regulations and the fundamentally borderless realities of doing business online today, it will be crucial for brands and marketers to critically evaluate the existing tools and infrastructures in place today to ensure that they abide by necessary privacy protections.

Though comparatively more far-reaching than most, looking to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a gold standard in terms of disclosure and reporting requirements is a good starting point. Beyond that, internalising a more data minimalist, as opposed to data maximalist, approach to knowing one’s customers, is critical. This can help to radically streamline a brand’s existing marketing tech stack, removing those performing similar functions while prioritising those that are private by design.

Investing in privacy-centric tools, too, is a good starting point to ensuring that compliance is in-built in all of a brand’s marketing activities. For one, it’s worth ensuring that all your data collection activities are backed by privacy-enhancing mechanisms. One such example is differential privacy — a cryptographic algorithm that aggregates individual data points then masks them with statistical noise to generate an average that cannot be reverse-engineered to reveal personally identifiable information. When data is appropriately encrypted in this way, data collaboration can take place securely. This allows brands to inherently meet compliance requirements and ensure that consumer data is inherently safeguarded before it’s even used.

For all its growing complexities, digital innovation across the advertising and marketing ecosystem ultimately needs to be underscored by sustainable product design. Tools and platforms built with privacy in mind as well as interoperability will help to mitigate the likelihood of a bloated tech stack that fails to keep pace with developments across the market. As brands look to implement new technologies to complement their partnerships, choosing the ones that can anticipate and easily adapt to future risks, can ultimately make all the difference.

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