The Future of Media and The Role I Want to Play

The digital media landscape is changing rapidly. Once, most advertising was purchased directly from publishers. Today, increasingly, advertisers and agencies are purchasing media in real time auctions, impression by impression.

To put this into context, AT&T purchased 105 billion impressions in 2011, according to research from ComScore. Purchased through modern media platforms, that would require winning 105 billion auctions, and participating in far more.

Today, this change is often wrapped up in discussions of technology, buying media based on audiences (instead of sites), optimization algorithms and new skill sets. In reality, the change is far bigger.

Real Big Data Brought to Marketing

In marketing, Big Data often refers to the data that is created and captured in digital marketing. In business, big data means far more than that. It means tracking every piece of inventory, individually. Every sale. Every customer touchpoint. Each piece of industry data. Every point of macroeconomic data. Even the weather.

Today, businesses are creating the technology infrastructure and business intelligence applications that allow them to capture and draw insight out of big data. The marketing opportunity is to act on all data, not just the data captured by digital marketing programs.

Modern media buying is giving businesses a way to act on all of this data, not just marketing data, in real time.

A New Economic Model

Publishers and agencies both missed the opportunity in the early 2000’s to redefine the economic model in digital media.

Instead, ad networks stepped into the gap between publishers and agencies, repackaging inventory and often earning 50% gross margins for doing so. With initiative, these margins could have gone to advertisers, agencies or publishers instead.

Today, there is another opportunity to shift the economic model and redistribute the margins that have been earned through information arbitrage.

The Time is Right

Today, I believe the time is right for this change to take place.

  • It is about real data now. Advertiser’s own data, not data collected by a third-party and mapped into industry-wide generic segments, finally makes it possible for marketers to develop quality models of advertising value and purchase directly against those models.
  • Marketers are ready to use data. The emergence of marketing automation in the last three years illustrates how marketers are using data to empower marketing. I believe enterprise marketers are ready to apply a similar mindset to media buying.
  • Advertising inventory is moving. Today, many high quality publishers sell through exchanges (including private exchanges), making this a viable option for brand sensitive advertisers and breaking down the historical limitations of the inventory that is available.
  • Development isn’t just in IT. Robust API’s for marketing technology are only as good as the development teams that use them. Today, mid-sized agencies and individual marketers have the development expertise needed to take advantage of these platforms.

The Role I Want

I want to work with a Demand Side Platform, the technology at the heart of making modern media buying possible for advertisers and agencies. Not as a client of a DSP (although I’m open to new partners), but as a marketer, educating the industry about the opportunities working with a DSP provides.

If marketing needs to serve and respect the audience (as I say in my Twitter bio), then in the case of DSPs, marketing will serve the audience by educating marketers about the doors DSPs open for them and where the industry is going. The DSP that does this well will expand their market beyond media buyers and trading desk professionals and will open the door to conversations with a far broader range of senior marketers.

Wondering if I’m serious? I have never called out a client or category I want to work with on my blog. I was deeply involved in the exchange and trading desk space in 2007, when it was still nascent, as one of a the individuals behind what eventually became Adnetik. Since moving to B2B, I’ve continued to watch this space and I believe it is time for this and my B2B marketing focuses to come together.

Your Turn

Do you work with one of the leaders in this space, a company like Turn, MediaMath, DataXu or Invite Media (Google), or are in a position to introduce me? If so, I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Share your perspective on modern media buying in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  • Nancy Shonka Padberg

    Yes, the digital media landscape is growing rapidly, agree. There is room for many technologies, however the CMO’s and Digital Agencies that would like to increase conversions and their organic SEO through online integrated content and sponsorships should connect with us. Our firm, Navigate Boomer Media represents 140 sites to scale reaching healthy, wealthy baby boomers online with ads, content, social media delivering 1.5 billion page impressions per month. Baby Boomers dominate 94% of all product categories and spend the most time and money online. Boomers purchase 80% of luxury travel and 3 out of 5 new cars for example. More information: @NancyPadberg @navboomermedia

  • Interesting article and I’m rather interested in seeing whether or not asking for new opportunities through your blog yields results. I’m a big believer in the benefits of social networks. Hopefully, your network helps you out. Good luck!

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  • Kevin Normandeau

    Great insights on how the media landscape continues to change. Would love to hear more about this topic

    • Thanks Kevin! I plan to do an update on this topic once a month or so, I think it is time for B2B marketers to put more focus on this area.

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