A Sensible Approach to MarTech Choices

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You’ve probably read somewhere the tongue-in-cheek definition of insanity that states, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It may not be Merriam-Webster’s definition, but it’s essentially the reason that MarTech solutions exist: to provide marketers new ways to achieve results and set realistic expectations for growth.

Under that basic assumption, one can argue that MarTech solutions deliver sanity to the Marketing function. However, the sheer volume of MarTech solutions available today – well over 7,200, according to chiefmartech.com – is insane and has left marketers trapped in a state of analysis paralysis. At every point of the Marketing function – advertising and promotion, content and customer experience, social media and influencers, e-commerce and sales, data and management – there are hundreds of software apps making similar, if not identical, claims of efficiency and effectiveness.

It is imperative to build a comprehensive plan to guide your research into MarTech solutions, taking account of your overall goals, your data assets, and the challenges that currently prevent you from getting where you want to be.

So how can marketers know which solutions are best for them and their brand needs? My company, DX Marketing, had the same question when we set out years ago to transition ourselves from a traditional direct mail company to a digital marketing and consumer insights company.

In early 2016, with leadership from our Chief Technology Officer, we conducted a thorough examination of our data assets, our needs to be a leading service provider, and reviewed the leading technology providers’ offerings in the digital space. It was a massive undertaking that required tech-savvy expertise and an ability to anticipate near-future business needs as well as potential market shifts.  Because we began with a carefully crafted MarTech plan, the best data solutions quickly bubbled to the top once our research was underway.

The integrated technology and platforms we chose at the outset – most importantly from Oracle – helped transform our business overnight and has led us to make smart tech choices ever since.

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With a large and comprehensive dataset comprised of all the U.S. consumer data, what we thought would take six months or more to load and catalog into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure only took about four weeks. In addition to getting to market so much faster through the use of Oracle Analytics Cloud, we reduced the time it took to produce our first client prospective models by 70 percent from our traditional methods. To say we have been pleased with our tech decisions is an understatement.

Leveraging structured deals with the world’s largest online and offline data providers has placed our company in the enviable position of managing one of the largest tandems of offline and online data available in the United States. As a result, we are able to provide growing companies with affordable access to enterprise-level data and analytics so they can make Marketing investments with greater confidence and compete more effectively.

To navigate a crowded digital space we help marketers identify the five ways they can use data to help inform their Marketing decisions: customer segmentation, market potential, messaging and content, customer acquisition and retention, and performance measurement. We call this five-pronged platform approach XactAudience®.

XactAudience is a proprietary integration of one of the largest offline U.S. consumer database and the world’s largest online Data Management Platform (DMP). Through Oracle Autonomous Database, we data warehouse over 320 million U.S. consumer records that are continually updated every few weeks. With this consumer dataset, we’re able to build custom prospect audiences based on precise demographic, financial and lifestyle attributes. These are real people, not anonymous IDs. We can safely rely on Oracle Autonomous Database’s self-securing capabilities to ensure that this sensitive data remains protected at all times.

We then use the Oracle ID Graph to unite a huge range of disparate data sources into a unique, singular profile of consumers. Powered by the Oracle Data Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud, the Oracle ID Graph connects data tied to cookies, login, email, and mobile ad IDs into unified ID profiles, allowing marketers to reach over 90 percent of people online in the U.S. and in markets that matter internationally, so users can deliver audiences, at scale, and across channels.

Within Oracle Data Cloud we also have a seat in Oracle BlueKai DMP, one of the world’s largest data management platforms. Together with our fellow Oracle data partners, we help advertisers build audiences based on demographic, geographic, and interest-based data. We also allow them to create audiences based on actual past purchase behavior, the best single predictor of future purchases.

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Considering that 87 percent of all retail sales still occur offline and that 62 percent-plus of all purchasers never click on digital ads, it is extremely important to reach prospects in a way that’s impactful with KPIs that track actual conversions.

Fortunately, the days of load and push ads with little regard for effective measurement are waning as marketers fine-tune their approach. The use of predictive model, with accurate ID graphs, combined with in-market signals from a reputable DMP, will always win out. Today, there is no need to serve a digital ad until the prospect actually shows intent.

In fact, our clients have experienced a 52 percent average decrease in acquisition costs by waiting to push programmatic ads until the prospect raises their hand and shows a need. This approach is much more effective than just pushing content and ads to a lookalike audience who may or may not have a need to purchase.

The combination of offline and online data also allows us to change the way marketers traditionally distribute data to the other big marketing platforms. Because we start with real people, not anonymous IDs, we are able to humanize the digital space, matching prospects to the devices they use and triggering ads on multiple channels when each prospect shows interest. Because we measure only Marketing effectiveness (e.g., purchases or leads) and not media efficiency (e.g., clicks and likes), we use only advertising channels that allow us to match back to actual households and individuals. These channels are extremely diverse, encompassing display, paid search, linear/streaming/addressable TV, social media, location intelligence, and streaming radio.

Taking this approach plays out positively for many of our clients as evidenced in our retail healthcare segment. We’ve been able to lower acquisition costs up to 80 percent for various urgent care operators and increased their Return on Marketing Investment by over 150 percent. In our after-market automotive service segment, continuity campaigns are producing $16 to $1 ROMIs for new customer activity. Similar results have been realized for clients across other industry verticals, including Financial Services, Education, Telecom, and Insurance.

Our major DSP partner has said, “DX Marketing’s approach to targeting and measuring digital advertising is not just another way to buy digital media. Their Direct Display programmatic method combines several key data and technology capabilities in a way that provides a true measure of the impact of digital media, and we have not seen it done by anyone else in the industry.”

In homage to a relentless pursuit of excellence, we always keep our ear to the ground for NextGen technologies that can improve results for our clients and for our business. Recently, we have layered in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence as part of our Oracle tech offerings, which is helping us to more intuitively and efficiently identify prospects and predict online behavior.

Choosing the best tech solution is different for every brand. Our own experience has taught us that it helps to begin with having at least one person on your team with deep knowledge of MarTech capabilities. It is also imperative to build a comprehensive plan to guide your research into MarTech solutions, taking account of your overall goals, your data assets, and the challenges that currently prevent you from getting where you want to be. If you don’t have the capabilities of doing this with your internal resources, retain external resources to help fill these roles.

With the right people and plan in place, I honestly believe the best MarTech solutions will quickly reveal themselves and you will be on the road to far more efficient and effective Marketing results with your sanity firmly intact.

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